Football: Rangeview capsule

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RANGEVIEW

Mascot: Raiders

Coach: Justin Hoffman, 1st season

RANGEVIEW
RANGEVIEW

2014 record: 7-3 overall, 6-0 in 5A South Metro League (lost in 1st round of 5A state playoffs)

Players to watch: Elijah Reed, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, WR/S, sr.; George Marpaung, 6-0, 270, OL/DL, sr.; Onyi Ozoma, 6-0, 205, OL/DL, jr.; Jonathan Mata, 6-2, 230, OL, sr.; AJ Thomas, 6-0, 185, RB/LB, jr.; Braden Cook, 6-4, 190, QB, jr.; DeVante’ Wheaten, 6-0, 165, DB/Ret, sr.; Adrian Sims, 5-9, 145, S, sr.; Devon Harris, 6-1, 190, DE, sr.

2015 outlook: After a surprising coaching change in the offseason that saw the school chose to replace successful Dave Gonzales after 12 seasons, Rangeview turns the page with a familiar face in Aurora’s football ranks in Justin Hoffman, former coach of Gateway, the Raiders’ fierce district rival. Hoffman served as an assistant on last season’s staff, so he had a lot of knowledge of personnel and the successful traditions that Gonzales had established, which he’s embraced and tried to include in how he does things. Rangeview is long on tradition (10 straight Class 5A state playoff appearances, though just two postseason wins in that span) and is working on a streak of five consecutive league championships, including the first in the newly constituted South Metro League last season, and has the talent to extend its reign. Over the summer, the Raiders won Hog Wars — the annual strength and teamwork competition for Aurora linemen started at Rangeview 11 years ago — with senior George Marpaung asserting himself as the leader in the trenches. Hoffman calls Marpaung “a kid you see once ever five or 10 years” for his intelligence, surprising speed for a 6-foot, 270-pounder and versatility on the field. Junior Onyi Ozoma is a bundle of brains and muscle at just 205 pounds, but can both pass block and rush the passer on the other side of the football, while senior Jonathan Mata is versatile enough to play anywhere on the line, but will play center. Senior Elijah Reed is another difference maker on both sides of the football as an aggressive safety who wants to lead the team in tackles, while he also lines up as wide receiver and snared eight touchdown passes a year ago. Reed will be a reliable target for Rangeview’s new quarterback, junior Braden Cook, who has stood out with this hard work at the position and has the size to be a successful thrower. Junior AJ Thomas logged just five carries last season, but has improved greatly and should lead a committee of ballcarriers for the Raiders. Aside from the aforementioned two-way players, senior defensive end Devon Harris should be a force opposite Ozoma on the line, while senior Adrian Sims makes a lot of plays at safety with his smarts, which help as he is undersized at 145 pounds. Senior DeVante’ Wheaten picked off three passes last season on his way to All-South Metro first team honors as a defensive back and will also be a difference maker on special teams, as he earned second team all-league accolades as a return man. Schedule: Rangeview faces the same schedule as it had a year ago, including a non-league schedule against Westminster, budding Aurora rival Overland, Grand Junction (which has to visit after the Raiders traveled to the Western Slope last year) and Cherokee Trail — which produced a 2-2 mark — plus the same six teams the Raiders defeated in the South Metro League. Rangeview’s closest league contest came in a nine-point win against Arapahoe, which it sees again on Oct. 23.

Schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Aurora Public Schools Stadium): Friday, Sept. 4 — at Westminster, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 10 — OVERLAND, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 19 — GRAND JUNCTION, 5 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 24 — at Cherokee Trail, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 2 — HINKLEY, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 8 — vs. Smoky Hill at Stutler Bowl, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 16 — vs. Gateway at APS Stadium, 6 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 23 — vs. Arapahoe at Littleton Public Schools Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 30 — HERITAGE, 6 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel