In a 16-team playoff, the No. 8/9 matchup is usually an interesting affair because the two teams, in theory, should be even.
That’s certainly the case when the Class 4A football playoffs begin this weekend. What makes this season’s No. 8/9 game even more intriguing is the quality of the two teams.
Windsor will host Broomfield at 1 p.m. Saturday in a battle of two heavyweights, both of which are probably seeded much lower than many expected.
The No. 8 seed Wizards went 9-1 on the season, rolling through the Northern Conference. Broomfield (8-2) finished second in the Mountain Conference.
One loss came against Pomona, one of the top teams in 5A, the other against Mountain Conference champions Monarch.
No matter where the teams should be seeded, it will make for an enthralling first step on the road through the playoffs.
“Regardless of where you are placed, you have to win four weeks in a row,” Windsor coach Chris Jones said.
The first hurdle for Windsor is a team that in a lot of ways mirrors the Wizards. Broomfield averages 33 points per game, Windsor averages 29. Broomfield allows 16 points per game, Windsor averages 10. The Wizards rush for 326 yards a contest, the Eagles run for 211.
The biggest difference is Broomfield has more of a passing attack than Windsor. The Wizards have gone two games without a completion (on only five total attempts). Broomfield quarterback Angelo Perez throws for 115 yards a game.
“They have a very diverse attack and a very athletic quarterback,” Jones said. “They have a good running back and three quality receivers on the outside.”
The Eagles top running back is Ryan McCulley, who averages nearly seven yards a carry.
Windsor will likely have to battle Broomfield without a couple of key players. Defensive tackle Robert Bishop-Cotner is out, Jones said, after injuring his leg last week during warm-ups before the game against Greeley West. And running back Blake Bunday is doubtful after being hurt during that game.
Star defensive end Sean Glenn missed the Greeley West game as well and it is unknown if he will be able to play.
But Jones is confident in the players who have been taking extra repetitions the past few weeks, and he feels they are going to be able to fill the holes.
The winner of this marquee matchup will take on the winner of the No. 1 Pueblo West and No. 16 Loveland contest. Jones is excited for the fight against a top program.
“This gives us an opportunity to see how our kids respond to the challenge,” Jones said. “We like being challenged against and going against tradition-rich programs like this one.”