There’s no secret what’s coming Friday night.
Two of the best running teams in the state battle as No. 8 Windsor (7-3) hosts No. 9 Pueblo West (7-3) kickoff at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Windsor — the defending 4A champion — has thrown more than normal this year and has 905 passing yards. Despite that, the option ground game is still the key to success and the Wizards average 245 yards per game.
Pueblo West has 601 total pass yards, but the Cyclones pound out 291 yards per game on the ground.
This is the second 4A playoff meeting between the teams, with Pueblo West winning a 50-27 shootout in the 2012 quarterfinals.
Here are keys to Friday’s game.
To win, Pueblo West must: Disrupt Brad Peeples. The Windsor quarterback keys the option offense.
Peeples has 11 touchdowns in six Windsor’s wins (he missed the season-opening victory over Vista Ridge) and leads the team with 699 rushing yards.
His reads jump the offense, helping find openings for other dangerous runners like Brandon Ramirez, who has 668 yards and eight touchdowns.
Pueblo West needs to create confusion in the Windsor backfield to disrupt the option. If Pueblo West can force Windsor’s run game out of sync, the Cyclones can advance to the quarterfinals.
To win, Windsor must: Slow Devyn Morgan. The 6-foot, 175-pound junior running back has been unstoppable for Pueblo West. He leads 4A with 1,658 rushing yards and averages 8.8 per carry.
He’s only been held under 100 yards twice this season and has five games with more than 200 yards, including one where he ran for 304.
Windsor has only allowed two individuals to rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season and no team has gained more than 200 yards on the ground against the Wizards.
If Windsor keeps Morgan and Pueblo West under 200 yards, the Wizards will be in a strong spot to advance.
Next round: The winner of Friday’s game advances to the quarterfinals to face the winner of No. 16 Vista Ridge (6-4) and No. 1 Denver South (10-0). Vista Ridge and Denver South play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
No. 9 Pueblo West at No. 8 Windsor, 7 p.m. Friday
Twitter updates: @Kevin_Lytle