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Monday, February 6, 2023

Meet the Gold Helmet finalists: 6 Colorado high school football players who epitomize excellence on and off the field

Valor Christian is the winner of the 2021 Denver Post Gold Helmet Award, surpassing six other deserving senior finalists, leaving Gavin Sachuk behind. Here’s a look at each of them:

Bryce Johnson

Meet The Gold Helmet Finalists: 6 Colorado High School Football Players Who Epitomize Excellence On And Off The Field

Courtesy of Rick Williams, Lutheran High Shoe

Bryce Johnson of Lutheran High School.

School: Lutheran

On the field: A four-year varsity letterman, three-year starter, and two-year captain, Johnson was a two-way force for the Lions team that lost in the 3A semi-finals to eventual champion Fort Morgan. CSU Commitment was a defensive leader in defense, recording 67 tackles (14 for loss), 1 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. And on offense, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver was a big play waiting to happen with 19 catches for 492 yards and seven touchdowns.

off the ground: A National Honors Society president and student ambassador, Johnson has maintained a 4.43 cumulative GPA while participating in several volunteer projects. During his time in Lutheran, he provided outreach through Touching Africa Ministries, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Parker Fast Force (food collection), Lifeline Christian Mission (food preparation), Project Cure (packing medical supplies) and Secor Is. He also attended various youth football camps, did lunch duty, helped clean up around the school, and served the senior community.

connor jones

Meet The Gold Helmet Finalists: 6 Colorado High School Football Players Who Epitomize Excellence On And Off The Field

Courtesy of Palmer Ridge.

Palmer Ridge High School Conor Jones during a play. (Photo courtesy of Palmer Ridge)

School: Palmer Ridge

On the field: The 6-foot-7, 290-pound left tackle began in three years for teams that won the 3A state title in 2019 and reached the 4A championship game and 4A semifinals in 2020. Ranked a three-star offensive lineman by 247Sports.com, the two-time All-State selection picks up full-ride scholarships from Michigan on offers from Virginia, Northwestern, West Virginia, Colorado State, and Oregon State.

off the ground: Jones has been an active member of the community in the Colorado Springs area with a 3.375 cumulative GPA. In addition to coaching the Pop Warner Colorado Springs Wardogs, he was a guest speaker for the Rocky Mountain Classical Academy and Colorado All Stars youth football teams and served as a volunteer/coach for the Memorial Bullets in the spring. He assisted a local financial services company by visiting parks around Colorado Springs and providing food to people experiencing homelessness, and by preparing boxes of food for the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.

Dallas Macias

Pomona Panthers Joy Guerrero (6), Right, ...

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Pomona Panthers Joey Guerrero (6), right, tackles an open field tackle on the Regis Raiders Dallas Macias (2) on a punt return in the first quarter during a Colorado State 5A playoff game at Kellogg Stadium on November 12, 2021.

School: Regis Jesuit

On the field: An Oregon State baseball commit, the 6-foot, 190-pound senior was also an all-around force on the football field. On defense, he led the Raiders into tackles (121) from a safety position, recording two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one sack and one fumble. On offense, he compiled a total of 347 yards with a touchdown reception. And in special teams, he returned two punts for touchdowns and averaged 13.7 yards per return.

off the ground: In the classroom, Macias maintained a 3.71 GPA, dividing time between athletics and volunteer activities. While at Regis, she has worked with Extreme Community Makeover (cleaning up a Denver neighborhood), the Parker Task Force and Volunteers of America (food for those in need), and the Make a Wish Foundation, where she built a skate ramp in the backyard. has helped. About a boy recovering from cancer. In addition, she volunteered shortly after her grandmother’s diagnosis of breast cancer and later joined Susan G. Participated as Walker with the Komen Foundation.

cad palmer

Meet The Gold Helmet Finalists: 6 Colorado High School Football Players Who Epitomize Excellence On And Off The Field

photo by rob baker

Cade Palmer of the Classical Academy.

School: Classical Academy

On the field: Air Force Academy Commitment produced three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons as a senior captain, compiling 1,541 yards on 123 carries and 23 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound back closed out his prep career in 18 consecutive games with 100 yards on the ground, 4,018 rushing yards, 56 TDs, 95 tackles, and two Class 2A All-State selections.

off the ground: Palmer has touched many communities and organizations as a TCA student while maintaining a 3.5 cumulative GPA. She has helped provide food support, time, and labor to families in need for fundraising programs for an organization that serves children with Down syndrome, assembles and distributes care packages for seniors, New York City. Life runs a program for first- and second-graders at the church and even traveled to Los Angeles to help Dream Centers distribute meals to the homeless. In addition, he has volunteered as a coach and mentor at youth football camps and regularly serves as a guest speaker for TCA’s various youth teams.

Keegan Patterson

Meet The Gold Helmet Finalists: 6 Colorado High School Football Players Who Epitomize Excellence On And Off The Field

Matthew Jonas, Daily Camera

Keegan Patterson (number 15) of Longmont High School passes the ball in a game against Broomfield High School at Everly-Montgomery Field on Friday, November 5, 2021.


On the field: Bound for the Colorado School of Mines next fall, the three-year University of Colorado starting quarterback had an illustrious prep career to go along with 7,053 yards and 52 touchdowns, rushing 1,816 yards and 38 touchdowns. It culminated with an all-state senior season in which he accumulated a total of 4,455 yards (3,609 passing, 846 running) and 48 total TDs (28/20) and played a key role on the defense with 44 tackles and a fumble recovery.

off the ground: Patterson has maintained a 4.42 GPA during his time at Longmont, working in the community and helping youth camps as part of the team’s service project. In addition, he has gone on several mission trips with his church, Faith Community Lutheran Church.

luke jana

Meet The Gold Helmet Finalists: 6 Colorado High School Football Players Who Epitomize Excellence On And Off The Field

Matthew Jonas, Daily Camera

Luke Zana (9) of Boulder High School celebrates a touchdown against Fairview High School at Recht Field in Boulder, Friday, August 27, 2021.

School: boulder

On the field: A team leader who can bench press 15 times at more than 225 pounds, the Panthers’ undersized linebacker was the defense’s quarterback, accumulating 100 tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery. He also scored three touchdowns on offense and was a special team dynamo with a blocked punt and a blocked field goal.

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