Had the Clear Creek Golddiggers beaten the Manual Thunderbolts last Friday night, the Platte Canyon Huskies football team would have automatically been crowned the Class 1A Foothills League champions for the second consecutive year.
But since the Thunderbolts struck the Golddiggers with a 58-18 whipping, Platte Canyon and Manual will square off for all the marbles tonight at 6 p.m. at Manual High School.
On paper, the contest figures to be highly competitive. The Huskies enter the contest 4-0 in league play, and 4-4 overall. Manual comes in with a conference record of 3-1, 3-4 overall. Collectively, the two teams are riding a seven-game winning streak.
In league play, the Huskies have outscored opponents 94-48. The Thunderbolts have outscored opponents 104-60.
The Huskies-Thunderbolts clash will also feature a head-to-head matchup between the league’s top two running backs, Platte Canyon senior Brandon Patterson, and Manual senior Lajayzhin Miles.
Patterson is second in the conference with 731 yards rushing on 99 attempts for a healthy average of 7.4 yards per carry. Miles leads all rushers with 879 yards on 93 rushes for a staggering average 9.5 yards per carry.
Miles averages 126 yards rushing per contest, while Patterson averages 104. Undoubtedly, the primary goal for both defensive units coming into the game will be to contain each of these explosive runners.
Interestingly, Miles is fifth in the league in tackles from his inside linebacker position with eight per game, while Patterson ranks ninth at his outside linebacker position at seven tackles per contest.
As a team, the Huskies have allowed just 12 points per contest in league play. The Thunderbolts’ defensive unit is stingy as well, giving up just 15 points per game. The Huskies are ranked 25th among the state’s Class 1A teams, while Manual follows closely at 28th.
The Thunderbolts’ only blemish in league play came in the form of a 22-20 loss to the Sheridan Rams. The Huskies, meanwhile, crushed the Rams, 38-8.
Both teams benefitted from forfeitures by Lake County, so each team has only played eight games thus far as opposed to nine. Luckily for the Huskies, their forfeited game against Lake County was scheduled for last week. That week off was vital for several key players to heal minor injuries, and the extra rest could prove advantageous for PCHS.
Last season, the Huskies demolished the Thunderbolts in Bailey, 43-6.