|Running back Jordan Jungers (20) and Regis Jesuit enter the 2011|
season ranked No. 2 in Class 5A according to the first Denver Post
media poll released Monday. The Raiders were 13-1 last season. (Photo
by Gabriel Christus/The Aurora Sentinel)
Aurora teams took three of the top four spots in The Denver Post's preseason Class 5A media football poll, which came out Monday, roughly 10 days before games begin in Zero Week.
In the first of a season-long practice, The Post gathered votes from an array of media from across Colorado — including The Aurora Sentinel — and put together the rankings based on a points system (10 points for 1st-place vote, 9 for second, 8 for third and so on).
Regis Jesuit, Grandview and Cherokee Trail, which all played in the semifinals of the 5A playoffs last season, are all bunched at the top of the poll behind unanimous No. 1 Mullen, winner of three consecutive state championships. The Mustangs received 150 points, with the Raiders netting 124, the Wolves 98 and the Cougars 91.
Full Post polls for 5A through 6-man can be found here.
Coach Mark Nolan's talented Regis Jesuit team went 13-1 last season and rolled through to the 5A state championship game against Mullen at Invesco Field. The Raiders suffered a 37-6 loss to Dave Logan's Mustangs, who many observers put on par with the best teams Colorado has ever assembled.
Regis Jesuit has several big holes to fill on both sides of the football in 2011, but a returning mix that includes senior running back Jordan Jungers (1,529 yards rushing, 20 TDs last season) and senior defensive back Eric Heringer is the foundation for another big season. The Raiders are 20-6 overall in two seasons under Nolan after going 4-6 in 2008.
|Senior linebacker Keith Chiles should be|
a driving force on another talented
Grandview defense in 2011. The Wolves
are ranked No. 3 in the preseason Denver
Post media football poll. (Photo by
Courtney Oakes/The Aurora Sentinel)
Bolstered by senior quarterback Jordan Schlehuber, tight end Evan Baylis (who has given a verbal commitment to Oregon) and its typically strong rushing attack — plus a swarming defense keyed by linebacker Keith Chiles and lineman Taylor Schultz — Grandview should be in the thick of the Creek League title chase along with defending champ and rival Cherokee Trail.
The Cougars have been improving every year since moving up to 5A and coach Monte Thelen's team checks in at No. 4 in the preseason rankings after making the semifinals in 2010. Cherokee Trail finished 11-2 — highlighted by a shutout win over Grandview — with both losses coming to the teams that played for the state championship (29-0 to Mullen, 21-20 to Regis Jesuit). The Cougars face the Mustangs Sept. 15 in a game that has been selected to be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
With All-City first team quarterback Thomas Singleton (2,300 total yards, 24 total touchdowns in 2010) among four returning starters on offense and three on defense (including standout lineman Dillon Zacharias), Cherokee Trail could have another big year in store. Thelen's team has made the semifinal round of the playoffs (5A and 4A) twice in the past four seasons.
The next Post poll comes out Aug. 29.
DENVER POST PRESEASON MEDIA POLL (CLASS 5A)
1. Mullen (150 points); 2. REGIS JESUIT (124); 3. GRANDVIEW (98); 4. CHEROKEE TRAIL (91); 5. Grand Junction (73); 6. Chaparral (66); 7. Columbine (53); 8. Highlands Ranch (42); 9. Bear Creek (33); 10. Ralston Valley (30)
DENVER POST FOOTBALL POLL VOTERS (CLASS 5A)
Neil Devlin, Jon Yunt, Ryan Casey, Pat Rooney, Paul Willis and Lindsey McKissick, The Denver Post; Courtney Oakes, The Aurora Sentinel; Jon Kozan, Coloradoprepfootball.com; Allen Gamaehlich, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel; Patrick Bahr, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel; Woody Shelton, Broomfield Enterprise; Josh Lindenstein, Daily Camera; Mike Brohard, Loveland Reporter-Herald; Brian Roth, CET Sports; Jeff Bersch, Fort Collins Coloradoan; Christian James, Colorado Prep Report; Brian Olson, 9News; Jeff Stroud, Prepcolorado.com