A-Town Game of the Week: Week 10 — Arvada West vs. Eaglecrest (preview)


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ARVADA WEST (6-3, 2-2) VS. EAGLECREST (9-0, 4-0)

Nov. 3, 7 p.m., Legacy Stadium

Live stream, here

BREAKDOWN: The final A-Town Game of the Week — presented by the Aurora Sentinel and StreamItSports — features an Eaglecrest football team attempting to finish the 2016 regular season undefeated against challenger Arvada West in the final Mount Wilson League game of the season. The programs square off on the football field for the first time since a meeting in the first round of the 2005 Class 5A state playoffs, a matchup won by the Wildcats 63-21. The Arvada West-Eaglecrest game will be live streamed at no cost to your mobile device at the link above:


ARVADA WEST (6-3, 2-2): Coach Brad Pyatt’s Wildcats needed a victory over Castle View on Oct. 28 to set up a chance to finish atop the Mount Wilson League standings, but dropped a 26-14 decision to the SaberCats despite taking a 14-7 lead after one quarter. Arvada West senior RB Joey Perez had a strong day running the football, as he recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the season with 111 yards on 25 carries and both of his team’s touchdowns, giving him 662 yards rushing and nine scores on the season. Sophomore RB Tony Cass has rushed for six touchdowns as well and 315 yards on the ground. Sophomore QB Johnny Krutsch threw two interceptions and completed just 12 passes — his fewest of the season — for a season-low 163 yards, but has had a strong overall season with 2,075 yards passing along with 17 touchdowns against nine interceptions. Senior WR Chase Dixon is far and away Krutsch’s favorite target in the passing game, as he has pulled down 62 passes for 841 yards and nine touchdowns, while sophomore WR Isaiah Ocana and senior WR Trevor Lepke each had more than 400 yards receiving. Arvada West’s run defense had difficulty stopping Castle View, which picked up 270 yards on the ground against just 91 in the air. Senior LB Garrett Shipman, senior LB Aaron D’Amico and junior DL Jack Boyer each have 58 tackles or more, while Boyer is the Wildcats’ most prolific pass rusher with 6.0 sacks. As a safety, Cass has picked off three passes for a defense that has been credited with just eight forced turnovers in nine games.


EAGLECREST (9-0, 4-0): Coach Mike Schmitt’s Raptors rose to the occasion it their biggest game of the season, as they knocked off recent nemesis Ralston Valley 38-21 on Oct. 27 at the North Area Athletic Complex to move alone to the top of the Mount Wilson League standings. Eaglecrest led from start to finish against the Mustangs — who beat the Raptors in overtime in the 2014 5A state playoffs and by six points in the 2015 regular season — and moved into position to win the program’s first football league championship since 1993 with a win. Junior QB Jalen Mergerson completed just five passes for the game, but two of them went for touchdowns — one each to junior RB Victor Garnes and junior WR Corey Corbin — while he found more success on the ground with 67 yards rushing and a pair of scores. Mergerson has been efficient and careful with the football in the passing game this season with 1,203 yards (completing 63 percent of his passes) and 15 touchdowns against just one interception, while he is second with 590 yards rushing and eight more scores. Junior RB Kenny Wantings needed just 15 carries to pick up 115 yards against Ralston Valley and leads the team in rushing with 718 yards to go with five touchdowns. Garnes is Eaglecrest’s most versatile weapon, as he leads the team in receiving (512 yards, 6 touchdowns), has 513 yards rushing (plus 6 touchdowns) and also has more than 100 yards on kick and punt returns for the season. Junior WR Theryne Sandoval-Jimenez (257 yards receiving, 3 TDs), senior TE Tyler Peabody (167 yards receiving, TD) and Corbin (155 yards receiving, 3 TDs) present considerable difficulty for opposing defenses, while the offensive line is loaded with skill and size, especially with sophomore OL Bear Miller (6-5, 260) and freshman OL Reece Atteberry. Eaglecrest’s offense has scored the fifth-most points in 5A, while the defense has yielded the second-fewest. Junior LB Cody Bardin and sophomore LB Tyler Dufour are always around the football, senior DT Kyante Christian and senior DL Elijah Brockman make plays at the point of attack and Garnes (3 interceptions) and senior LB Quentin Bowen are quite adept at creating turnovers.

Next week: Eaglecrest came into the final game ranked No. 7 in Class 5A in CHSAA’s RPI and should be a lock for the postseason as the league champions (which automatically qualifies) or in the top 16, while Arvada West is ranked No. 29 and most likely to miss the playoffs.