Posted On: 02/28/21 1:36 PM
Our final preview for the 2021 spring football season in Colorado takes a look at Class 8-man. This classification will be unique due to the fact that there will only be eight teams and all eight will make the playoffs. Another unique factor is that two schools who normally play 6-man football will elect to play 8-man this spring.
Here is a look at the teams and players to watch in the classification.
Teams playing 8-man spring football
Two teams with winning records in 2019 will lead the group for 8-man football this spring. Front Range Christian and Hoehne both finished with 5-4 records and will look to be the two favorites coming into the season. John Mall and Custer County each went 3-6 but hope this makeshift league will make them a contender. Justice, Plateau Valley, Las Animas and Primero round out the division hoping to find some success in the spring.
Players to watch
Wyatt Aldrich, 2021, 5’8, OL/DL, Custer County
Aldrich saw the field some in his first two seasons, but he took a big jump in his junior season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. After recording just 29 total tackles in his first two season, Aldrich had 63 total tackles in 2019, including two sacks, and caused two fumbles. A productive piece on the defensive side of the ball, he may be in line for a huge senior season.
Weston Hill, 2021, 5’9, 150, QB/LB, Hoehne
Hill is a typical dual-threat quarterback who does the majority of damage for a team’s offense in the smaller-level classification. He threw for 835 yards and 10 touchdowns to just one interception, and he rushed for 1,061 yards and 10 scores on the ground. When Hill was on, the Hoehne offense was efficient, but he will look to take care of the ball better after having 11 fumbles. Hill also made 43 tackles on defense and should be a key player on that side of the ball as well. If Hill has another productive season, it will put Hoehne in position to compete for a state title.
Luke Hiltman, 2021, 5’11, 165, QB/DB, Front Range Christian
In the spread offense, Hiltman stands tall in a clean pocket and puts the ball in a spot for his receivers to get it. He can push it down the field and looks for the big chunk plays, or he can get it to his checkdown receiver or run the ball. With good touch and fitting the ball in the right window, he has completed 59 percent of his passes in his career and has thrown for 3,650 yards and 42 touchdowns. He may be the best passing quarterback in the classification. Hiltman does as good of a job in the secondary breaking up passes on the other side of the ball and will try to build off his production so far.
DJ Van Matre, 2021, 5’5, 140, John Mall
It was Wesley who was the offensive star, but DJ was the defensive stalwart for John Mall. He recorded 95 tackles to lead the team in that category. He is a player who does a good job in pursuit to get to the ball carrier, but he can play downfield and get a rush off the edge. With Wesley gone, it may be DJ who sees the big role on offense, too. He will be a key player for John Mall this season on both sides of the ball.
Lucas Whitmire, 2021, OL/LB, Las Animas
While it was a tough year for Las Animas, one bright spot for the team was Whitmire. He was all over the field on defense and managed to record 80 total tackles. Five of the seven games he played in saw him record double-digit tackles. Whitmire will also play on the offensive line and try to help spring the offense this season. Look for him to be near the top in tackles for this season in 8-man football.