State football playoff capsules
No. 21 Horizon (7-3) vs. No. 5 Arapahoe (9-1)
At North Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday
* Game plan: Going into the second round of the 5A playoffs represents a whole new level of challenges for the Hawks. Arapahoe has been on a roll since losing to Columbine on Sept. 28, winning five in a row with wins over Lakewood and Mullen. Warriors’ star running back Jose Cancanon has led the way with 1,281 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior rushed for a season’s best 236 yards and scored five touchdowns to help the Warriors beat Heritage 42-7 in the first round on Saturday. Quarterback Taven Sparks also makes Arapahoe dangerous through the air. He has tossed for 1,387 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
* Extra point: Safety Blake Nelson is the anchor on the Warriors defense with 89 tackles and three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also has taken a kickoff back for a touchdown.
No. 10 Columbine (7-3) vs. No. 7 Pomona (8-2)
At NAAC, 2:3o p.m. Saturday
* Game plan: Ranked No. 1 in the state twice this season Pomona is certainly battle tested and still one of the best 5A teams in the state. But so is Columbine, the state reigning state champion. Columbine opened the season winning five of their first six games, but then dropped consecutive games to Lakewood and Mullen. The Rebels feature the best statistical running back in the state this season in Bernard McDondle. McDondle has rushed for 1,493 yards averaging 165 yards per contest. He has also scored 12 touchdowns this season.
* Extra point: We should point out that if the game actually does comes down to an extra point or a short field goal than Pomona is in good shape. Allyson Thimson took over place kicking duties after Week 1 and has made 32 of 35 extra points since.
No. 14 Standley Lake (7-3) at No. 3 Denver South (9-1)
At All City Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday
* Game plan: Denver South has one of the most complete teams in 4A, winning five in a row and has outscored its previous two opponents 84-0. Senior running back Pete Williams is leading the way for the Rebels’ offense with 1,039 rushing yards. He had six games in which he rushed for 100 yards or more and finished the regular season by rushing for 478 yards and eight touchdowns in the final three games. Quarterback Malik Tollerson is third in 4A with 1,825 passing yards and 19 touchdowns, while wide receiver Orlando Mosley is third in receiving yards with 810. Cameron French is second in the state with a 4A-best 11 interceptions.
* Extra point: Both squads have lost to Broomfield this season. Williams was held to 31 rushing yards and Tollerson threw four interceptions in the Rebels’ 31-6 loss to the Eagles. The Gators turned the ball over five times in their 28-17 loss to Broomfield.
No. 12 Holy Family (8-2) at No. 5 Pueblo East (8-2)
At Dutch Clark Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday
* Game plan: After two critical regular-season losses the Tigers find themselves on the road against one of the most potent offenses in 3A. The Eagles go into the playoffs averaging 38.2 points this season and is averaging 49.7 points over the final five games. Quarterback Kurt Rode is fourth in 3A with 2,135 yards and 20 touchdowns, and his favorite target, Felix Mestas, is sixth in receiving yards with 854 and 10 touchdowns. Pueblo East can also run the ball; senior Derion Ibarra has gained 899 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns. He rushed for 377 yards and five touchdowns in the final two games.
* Extra point: In a 42-18 win over Pueblo East, brothers Alex and Felix Mestas returned a kick and punt for a touchdown. Alex Mestas took a punt 90 yards for a touchdown, while Felix Mestas took a kick 90 yards for a touchdown and finished the game with four touchdowns.