Niwot football set for Friday's opener


October 7, 2020

Niwot football’s unusually long offseason finally has an end in sight for first-year head coach Nik Blume. Thirty-nine Cougars, including 16 freshmen, will kick things off Friday evening at Holy Family High School.

Niwot’s season opener was supposed to be a home game but Blume opted to play in Broomfield to allow for more fans. SVVSD and BVSD officials announced a 175-person limit will be enforced at games.

The opener will also be an early co-senior night between the schools and will honor the eight Niwot seniors. Blume said that Niwot was initially expecting 13 seniors on its roster but five opted-out due to COVID-19 concerns.

Luckily for Niwot, senior quarterback Ayden Bartko did not opt out. Bartko, who was named a 3A preseason top-10 offensive player, threw for over 1,500 yards last year and will be an integral part of Niwot’s offense. Blume added that Niwot doesn’t have the biggest offensive line and will have to adjust accordingly.

Joining Bartko will be senior wide receiver/cornerback Cooper Ackerman and junior strong safety Easten Leatherwood. Blume said the trio are all “pretty big athletic leaders for this team (who) have shown a lot of great things so far.”

Defensively, Niwot checks off all the boxes physically but Blume cited some concern with depth at inside linebacker.

“Our depth isn't great but we are big up front,” Blume said. “We do have some decent-sized kids in our front five. We have a really dynamic secondary. We feel like (we have) a super athletic secondary with guys like Ben Clawson who's only a sophomore and then along with those juniors and seniors Cooper (Ackerman) and Easten (Leatherwood).”

Blume has high expectations for Clawson and junior inside linebacker Thomas Carnegie to keep Niwot’s D strong.

Friday’s 7 p.m. kickoff will commence the Cougar’s six-game season with an extra game added if they fail to reach the playoffs. The 175-attendance limit will most likely be composed of parents of players and some students but some schools are exploring live streaming options according to SVVSD Athletic Director Chase McBride.


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