AURORA | Through three weeks of the prep football season, only one Aurora program remains unblemished, as Eaglecrest picked up one of just two victories for local teams among a combined 11 results.
The Raptors started somewhat slow in their matchup with winless Highlands Ranch Sept. 8 at Halftime Help Stadium, but ramped it up in the second half with 30 points on its way to a 51-7 victory to get to 3-0 for a second straight season.
Junior quarterback Joe Steiner threw for 198 yards and hit juniors Zavion Gamble and Xavier Waldron with touchdown passes, while junior Josh Wiley rushed for two touchdowns for Eaglecrest. Senior safety Cam Chapa had a monster all-around game as well for the Raptors as he scored a short touchdown, recorded an interception and recovered a fumble.
The other win for an Aurora team came from Smoky Hill, which earned a gritty 7-0 victory against Overland on Sept. 9 at Legacy Stadium to win custody of the Wagon Wheel traveling trophy. A touchdown pass from junior quarterback Zion Brake to senior Ene Niusulu on the first drive of the day held up as the only score.
The Buffaloes’ defense made a goal line stand in the third quarter and kept the Trailblazers (1-2) off the scoreboard for the first time. Overland played the game without standout junior running back Jarrius Ward, who had to sit out after he received two personal fouls in the previous game.
Two big contests saw Grandview and Regis Jesuit drop from the ranks of the unbeaten.
The Wolves (2-1) had a showdown with Ralston Valley — a Class 5A semifinalist last season — Sept. 8 at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Mustangs came out hot and built a 24-0 lead over coach Tom Doherty’s team on the way to a 30-15 victory.
Grandview scored two touchdowns late on a rush by sophomore Chris Blanks and a strike from senior quarterback Liam Szarka to junior Kyler Vaughn.
Coach Danny Filleman’s Raiders had come through in the clutch in close wins over Valor Christian and Kennedy Catholic in the first two weeks and found themselves in another battle on Sept. 9 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium against Arapahoe.
The Warriors built a 21-7 halftime lead, but the third of three touchdown passes by junior quarterback Peyton Lindell and second to junior Jojo Hernandez evened the game in the third quarter. But Arapahoe picked up some crucial first downs and ended up scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter to eventually hold off Regis Jesuit, which scored again late on a rushing touchdown by Garrett Reece.
Hinkley remains on the quest for its first victory since the 2019 season and after having a second half lead against Aurora Central in Week 2, fell 6-0 at Adams City Sept. 9.
Cherokee Trail had a difficult matchup with unbeaten Columbine Sept. 8 at Legacy Stadium. The Rebels established themselves early with a three-score first quarter and prevailed over coach Justin Jajczyk’s Cougars 35-7. A touchdown pass from Eliot Ming to Jacob Mathenge in the fourth quarter put Cherokee Trail (1-2) on the scoreboard.
Vista PEAK Prep paid a visit to defending Class 4A state champion Broomfield Sept. 8 and fell to 1-2 with a 49-6 loss. Sophomore quarterback Owen Packer and sophomore Isaiah Watson continued their good early season work together with another touchdown connection in the first quarter, but that’s all the scoring coach DaVaughn Thornton Sr.’s Bison finished the game with against the run-heavy Eagles.
Aurora Central (1-2) picked up a close victory over Falcon on the road in the 2022 season, but the Falcons turned the tables in their visit to Aurora Public Schools Stadium Sept. 9. Coach Chris Kelly’s Trojans did pick up 174 yards rushing — including 82 from senior Christopher Perkins — but were kept off the scoreboard for the second time.
Gateway played its first home of the season Sept. 8 and dropped a 55-6 contest to the Far Northeast Warriors at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. The top highlight for coach Rashad Mason’s Olys — who played without injured starting quarterback Andre Romain — was a 60-yard scoop and score from freshman Lyric Wynn in the third quarter.
Also 0-3 now is Rangeview, which dropped a 44-7 contest against Douglas County Sept. 7 at APS Stadium. Senior Jah Alexander rushed for 116 yards and took one of his carries into the end zone for the Raiders.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter/X: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports