Coach: Seth Replogle, 4th season
2014 record: 7-4 overall, 2-3 in 5A Centennial League (lost in 2nd round of 5A playoffs)
Players to watch: Michael Burke, 6-foot, 196 pounds, LB, sr.; Asten Chin, 5-11, 255, OL/DL, sr.; Jeremiah Collins, 5-7, 145, RB/DB, sr.; Alijah Halliburton, 6-2, 170, S, sr.; Taylor Marshall, 6-1, 215, LB/OL, sr.; DJ Roper, 6-2, 199, LB, sr.; Sam Warren, 6-1, 180, WR/DB, sr.; Ray Rountree, 6-0, 186, QB, sr.; Tsavion Jackson, 6-3, 160, DB, sr.; Chris Jones, 6-0, 170, WR, sr.; Kareem Humphries, 6-4, 300, OL, sr.; Nick Merna, 6-4, 205, TE, sr.; Tedmund Taylor, 6-2, 220, DE, sr.; CJ Woodall, 6-4, 230, DE, sr.
2015 outlook: Coach Seth Replogle knows his Overland team often gets overshadowed as part of the powerhouse Centennial League, which includes the likes of defending Class 5A state champion Cherry Creek, runner-up Valor Christian and league champion and semifinalist Grandview, but any team that overlooks the Trailblazers is setting itself up for disaster. Overland is stacked with athletes on both sides of the football and many of them feel like they have something to prove every time they take the field. The Trailblazers’ defense should be one of the fastest and most aggressive units around, especially with playmaker Alijah Halliburton at safety and seniors Taylor Marshall, DJ Roper and Michael Burke at linebacker, in addition to good size in the trenches. Halliburton, who owns a championship ring as part of Overland’s 5A state championship-winning boys basketball team, racked up 91 tackles a year ago and will get a chance to make an impact on special teams as well this season. Roper is the cousin of former Trailblazers’ star linebacker Tre Thomas — who is now at Colorado State — and his aim is to break Thomas’ team record in tackles, which is just shy of 200. Marshall is also a force on defense and will also spend some time on the offensive line this season. On offense, the Trailblazers graduated an integral part of its offense in quarterback Austin Conway, but former Cherry Creek quarterback Ray Rountree moves under center and should be dangerous at the position, though not with Conway’s flair. A running back rotation that includes senior Jeremiah Collins and several others looks to approximate what graduated running backs Josh Wright and Ahjon White brought last season, while seniors Sam Warren, Brent Halliburton and Chris Jones provide a bevy of reliable targets for Rountree in the passing game. Asten Chin and Kareem Humphries helped Overland finish second over the summer at the annual Hog Wars strength and teammwork competition for linemen and form part of a strong unit up front. Schedule: Smoky Hill, Heritage, Rangeview and Legend all lost to Overland in non-league play a year ago and the Trailblazers have three of them on the slate this season, with a big early matchup with Columbine coming in place of a rematch with Heritage. Overland opens Centennial League play with the two 5A finalists from last season, Valor Christian and Cherry Creek, back-to-back.
Schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Stutler Bowl): Friday, Aug. 28 — SMOKY HILL, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 3 — vs. Columbine at Jeffco Stadium, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 10 — vs. Rangeview at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 19 — vs. Legend at Sports Authority Stadium (Parker), 1 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 1 — VALOR CHRISTIAN, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 9 — at Cherry Creek, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 16 — EAGLECREST, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 23 — GRANDVIEW, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 30 — at Cherokee Trail, 7 p.m.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel