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The Tribune's look at the upcoming football season across Weld County.

Transcript of 2012 Football Preview

  • The Tribunes 2012 Football PreviewTake a sneak peak at the players, teams and conferences to watch this season

    New HomeLess than a year after winning the Class 3A state title, the Joe Sanger-led Windsor Wizards leap into the 4A Northern Conference. Page 3

    Brought to you by: Whats Inside Greeley West reaps benefits of towns talent pool.Page 4

    Competition becomes tougher for UNC with Big Sky expansion.Page 10

    Ekeler leads Reds.Page 7 Eagles embrace challenge.Page 13

  • 2 n August 24, 2012

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  • August 24, 2012 n 3

    Four As, one goal for Wizards

    T here may be four As in Windsors new foot-ball classification, but there is only one A in football.

    Wizards coach Chris Jones has preached these words to his players even though Windsors classification and con-ference is completely different, the game remains the same.

    Were going to stay the same offensively and defensively, Jones said. Weve worked a little more on some things on the of-fensive side, cleaned up some things, some block-ing assignments. But, to be honest, we keep hearing, Are you ready for 4A foot-ball. Now we say, Football has one A in it.

    A year after winning the Class 3A state title, the Wizards are determined to make a new slate of foes adjust to them, not the oth-er way around.

    Windsor (13-1 last sea-son) used a smash-mouth triple option offense and a punishing defense to win its third state title in pro-gram history.

    The Wizards shut down a high octane Silver Creek passing attack 14-7 in the state title game in frigid weather on Dec. 3 at Lega-cy Stadium in Aurora.

    Windsor senior quarter-back Joe Sanger said the energy and excitement of winning a 3A title a year ago has fueled him and his teammates during their preseason preparations this fall.

    I think were actually

    more intense than last year. We do weight-lifting be-fore practice, and its never looked as intense as it did today, Sanger said after the second day of practice on Aug. 14. So, I think the

    guys are going to be ready to go and ready for the move up.

    The Wizards open their season with a home game against longtime 4A con-tender Wheat Ridge at 7

    p.m. Aug. 31.To Windsors new 4A

    opponents: Dont expect the Wizards to defer from the same formula that brought them a champion-ship a year ago.

    Windsor senior line-backer Lucas Watts, who battled a wrist injury in preseason but hoped to be ready within the first cou-ple weeks, said he and his teammates are excited for the opportunity to prove their winning formula can yield success at the 4A level.

    Football is football, Watts said. (The move to 4A) doesnt change any-thing for us as a team. Who were playing doesnt mat-ter to us really. Were going to do what we do as a team and work hard.

    As a member of the 4A Northern, Windsor joins a conference that will pres-ent significant challenges almost every week.

    We want to prove we are capable of playing in this conference, Jones said. Its a tough confer-ence; one of the toughest in the state.

    Perennial contender Broomfield has moved out of the conference but former 3A powerhouse Mountain View has moved into the 4A Northern.

    The newcomer Wizards and Mountain Lions will join Northern Conference mainstays Greeley Cen-tral, Greeley West, Niwot, Thompson Valley and Loveland.

    Despite the challenges that loom in 4A, now may be as ideal of a time as ever for the Wizards to move up a classification, just nine months after proving themselves as the top team in 3A.

    Everybody is asking us, How is 4A going to be? How are you guys going to do in 4A? Windsor senior cornerback Lance Cox said. Honestly, it just mo-tivates us more and makes us want to play that first game even more. Its a big excitement.

    By Bobby Fernandezbfernandez@greeleytribune.com

    JIM RYDBOM/jrydbom@greeleytribune.com

    WINDSOR QUARTERBACK JOE SANGER looks to pass during pre-season football camp earlier this month in Windsor. Sanger will be one of the leaders this season for the Wizards, who won the Class 3A state title a year ago and are moving into the 4A Northern this season.

    Outlook 4A

    NorthernWindsorWizardsCOACH:Chris Jones, sixth season2011RECAP:The Wizards won the Class 3A state title with a 14-7 win against SIlver Creek in the state finals. Windsor had a 13-1 overall record, 5-0 in the 3A Tri-Valley Conference. KEYPLAYERS:QB Joe Sanger, sr.; WB/FB/KR Jordan Porterfield, sr.; WR Alex Baldwin, sr.; DE Sean Glenn, sr.; CB Lance Cox, sr.; ILB Lucas Watt, sr.SEASONOUTLOOK:A season after winning the 3A title, Windsor moves into a loaded 4A Northern Conference. With a close-knit unit, a stifling defense and a strong triple-option running game, the Wizards will try to duplicate their 3A success at the 4A level. Jones said the team must develop qualify depth on both lines.

    GreeleyCentralWildcatsCOACH:Mike Heath-erly, seventh season2011RECAP:The Wild-cats were a dismal 1-9 last season but identified some younger players who received quality experience.KEYPLAYERS:QB, Sean Dixon, sr.; RB, Andres Ortega, jr.; WR/RB, Travis Lechman, soph; WR, James Desmond, jr.; OL, Danny Garcia, sr.; OL, Luis Diaz, jr.; DL, Juan Mejia, sr.; DL, Andrew Cotto, jr.; LB, Juan Chapparo, sr.; LB, Joey Miller, sr.; DB, Devonte Davis, sr.; DB, Jacob Gray, sr. SEASONOUTLOOK:Heatherly expects his team to be much im-proved from last season, led by Dixon in his second season as the teams starting quarterback. The Wildcats are still young at some key posi-tions, but those players received a lot of playing time last year, which should work in their favor.

    Turn to Northern on Page 4

  • 4 n August 24, 2012

    West swims in deep end of local talent pool

    T heres a great many old west-erns that contain the phrase, This towns not big enough for the both of us.

    Its a classic line, etched into our collec-tive memories. Well, here in Greeley, just one stop on settlers routes to win the west, one school is writing its own rug-ged tale.

    Greeley West is the dominant force in Greeley when it comes to high school football. A perennial playoff team and sometime contender for the Class 4A state title, West draws the lions share of attention. Greeley Central (Class 4A) and Northridge (Class 3A), get lost in the shadows.

    West coach Mark Roggy credits the consistent tal-ent hes had in his 20 years with the program for the teams success.

    Weve been fortunate to have very good players, Roggy said.

    Because of Colorados open enrollment and the decisions students are al-lowed to make because of that, West has gotten quite a bit more talent than its Class 3A/4A city counter-parts in recent years.

    For Northridge coach Jeff Fulton and Greeley Central coach Mike Heath-erly, it is what it is. Both have said they coach who-ever shows up and they love their teams.

    Youre talking todays society, Heatherly said. Kids tend to flock to a winning program. Until you dethrone the winning

    team, youre probably not getting those kids.

    With open enrollment, in a nutshell, kids pick high schools sort of like they would colleges, and there are many options here in Greeley. For soon-to-be prep football play-ers, though, the choice has been pretty clear recently.

    David Eddy, a talented

    running back looking to shift into a Tebow-esque quarterback role for Greeley West this season, should have gone to Cen-tral. Well, should have if a map had anything to do with it.

    I live just down the street from Central, Eddy said.

    Eddys older brothers

    went to Central, includ-ing John, who eventually landed at the University of Northern Colorado.

    Eddy wasnt shy about his reasons for choos-ing West. The team wins more. There are bigger crowds. Its a bigger stage. Is he labeled the family traitor?

    My brothers encour-aged me to go to West, Eddy said.

    West coach Mark Roggy was instrumental in get-ting Eddys brother, John, a look from UNC scouts, Eddy said.

    (John) wasnt getting very many looks (from scouts), Eddy said. Coach Roggy, I guess, talked to one and told them, Theres

    a pretty talented kid over at Central. If he was willing to cross into enemy terri-tory to do that for a local kid like my brother, that just told me the kind of guy he was.

    Eddy said his decision wasnt so much based on negatives at Central as it was the positive energy he felt at West. He praised the teachers, education and an identifiable buzz of school spirit humming about the hallways.

    From a strictly academic standpoint, Northridge, Central and West are com-parable, Greeley Central athletic director Mark Koopman said.

    By Tyler Silvytsilvy@greeleytribune.com

    JIM RYDBOM/jrydbom@greeleytribune.com

    GREELEY WESTS AUSTIN WATERMAN takes the handoff during preseason football camp. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Waterman is expected to have a productive year at tailback.

    Turn to Greeley on Page 6

    Youre talking todays society. Kids tend to flock to a winning program.

    Until you dethrone the winning team, youre probably not getting those kids.