A-Town Game of the Week: Week 6 — Arapahoe vs. Overland (preview)


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2016 WEEK 6 A-TOWN FOOTBALL GAME OF THE WEEK

ARAPAHOE (2-3) VS. OVERLAND (0-5)

Oct. 6, 7 p.m., Stutler Bowl

Live game stream, here

BREAKDOWN: The sixth A-Town Game of the Week — presented by the Aurora Sentinel and StreamItSports — marks the opening of conference play in the 2016 season when 0-5 Overland plays host to 2-3 Arapahoe at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at Stutler Bowl in the first game in the new Mount Massive League. The two schools play in the Centennial League for other sports, but haven’t played in the same football conference for a long, long time. Overland and Arapahoe face each other on the football field for the first time since Sept. 24, 2010, when the Warriors posted a 45-20 victory over the Trailblazers. Overland won the 2009 meeting between the teams (54-28) and Arapahoe captured the 2008 contest (27-20). The long-awaited rematch will be live streamed free of charge to your mobile device at the link above.

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ARAPAHOE

ARAPAHOE (2-3): The Warriors won 10 games in the 2015 season (which ended with a loss to Ralston Valley in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs) and picked up the momentum with victories in their first two games of the new campaign, but coach Mike Campbell’s squad has lost three games in a row coming into the matchup against Overland. Against three tough opponents (Cherry Creek, Mountain Vista and Fairview), Arapahoe has surrendered 117 points and scored just 34 of its own. The Warriors gave up a season-high 48 points in their last game against the Knights, one of 5A’s three undefeated teams (a group rounded out by city programs Aurora Central and Eaglecrest). Turnovers hurt the Warriors, who saw QBs Connor Desch and Kevin Lukasiewicz throw three interceptions and net just 118 yards in the air, while the team managed just 70 yards rushing (3.0 per attempt) against Fairview. For the season, Desch has throw for 618 yards and five touchdowns against three interceptions while playing in all five games, while Lukasiewicz has thrown for 86 yards and an interception in appearances in four games. Junior TE Jake Groth has been Arapahoe’s main weapon this season with 19 catches for 390 yards and all four of the team’s receiving touchdowns, while sophomore WR Jalen Thomas and junior WR Scott Dement sit just shy of 100 yards on the season. The Warriors average just 2.5 yards per carry in the run game, with diminutive junior RB Matt Phelan (106 yards), the only player in triple digits for the season on the ground thus far. Defensively, senior DE Gannon Gosselin has been very active with a team-high 2.5 sacks and 23 tackles, which ranks second on the team to senior S Sam Marion (25).

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OVERLAND

OVERLAND (0-5): Following a trip to last season’s Class 5A state playoffs and first-round exit at the hands of Columbine, the ‘Blazers experienced massive turnover — coach Seth Replogle had less than a handful of starters on both sides of the ball returning — and its made for a bit of a rough start in the won-loss column. The results do seem to be trending to the positive, however, as following back-to-back lopsided losses (42-14 to Horizon and 42-0 to Cherokee Trail), Overland has been very competitive in its last two (a 47-39 loss to Rangeview and 27-15 defeat at the hands of Legacy in a game in which it had the lead in the fourth quarter). Junior RB Jaion Colbert is one of the small number of returning starters and he’s been the offense’s most dynamic player with more 866 yards of total offense (719 rushing, 149 receiving) as he leads the team in rushing — coming of a 205-yard performance that pushed him just past Grandview RB Hayden Blubaugh (714) into third place in 5A in rush yards — and is second on the team in receiving behind sophomore WR Jalon’e Rice (207 yards receiving, 2 TDs), who is uncertain to play against Arapahoe. Overland has worked in two QBs throughout the season, with junior Cam Murray getting more of the action of late after sophomore Luis Ruiz played the most early in the season. Murray threw for 128 yards in the loss to Legacy, while Ruiz completed just two passes for 78 yards and a touchdown to Rice. For the season, Ruiz (the starter) has thrown for 307 yards and two touchdowns, while Murray (who brings a running threat to the position) has racked up 252 and has yet to throw a scoring pass while finding the end zone once on the ground. Versatile junior RB Donovan Carver has also gained more than 200 yards with a pair of touchdowns on the ground for the Trailblazers. Murray — a track star with tremendous speed — is the team’s most active player on defense as he is the team leader in tackles (47) as a DB, while LBs Carver (36 tackles) and sophomore DJ Reid (39 tackles, 4 sacks) also make a significant number of stops each game.

Week 7: Both teams move on to more Mount Massive League action when Overland pays a 7 p.m. visit to Boulder at Recht Field on Oct. 14, while Arapahoe travels to Doherty for a 1 p.m. contest on Oct. 15.

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