Platte Valley’s junior quarterback Logan Sitzman has shown plenty of extras through the first few weeks of the season — Extra accuracy on his throws, extra intelligence on his decision-making, extra elusiveness on his runs, extra leadership in the Broncos’ spread pistol offense and extra determination in leading Platte Valley to a 2-1 start.
With an extra year of experience from a year ago, the 5-foot-11, 145-pound Sitzman is trying to help his Broncos indulge in excess, and success, this season.
Platte Valley coach Troy Hoffman said there is no doubt Sitzman is playing with a higher level of confidence and composure after being a first-year starter at quarterback last season.
“He’s making much better decisions,” Hoffman said. “I think what Logan is doing each week is minimizing those errors. … He’s learning more. And, I think he’s gaining more confidence running the ball — because he’s not 200 pounds. But, he is gaining confidence and he has heart.”
The statistics back up Hoffman’s assessment.
A year ago, Sitzman completed 66-of-142 passes for 831 yards, eight touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He carried the ball 109 times for 386 yards and three touchdowns.
In his first three games of last season, in which the Broncos went 1-2, Sitzman completed 15-of-32 passes for just 146 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. He rushed 29 times for 38 yards and no touchdowns.
This season, facing equally stiff competition, he has completed 40-of-69 passes for 535 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Perhaps his biggest improvement has come in the form of his running ability. Through three games this season, he has nearly matched his rushing totals from all of last year, accumulating 361 yards and three touchdowns on just 37 carries; more than 120 yards per game and nearly 10 yards per carry.
“Logan has football speed,” Hoffman said. “With the pads on, he doesn’t slow down. And, that’s a weapon now that we’re expanding on — he’s passing with better decisions, but we worked on (his running) all summer.”
Friday in Platte Valley’s 41-7 Class 2A Patriot League-opening win against Sterling, Sitzman had one of the best performances of his prep career, completing 9-of-15 passes for 189 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He carried the ball 10 times for 141 yards and another touchdown.
“I feel like I’ve matured a lot, and the coaches have helped me a lot,” Sitzman said after the game. “I just feel very comfortable.”
Filling big shoes
All-state libero Jaime Colaizzi’s graduation last spring created a big void in the back row of Windsor’s volleyball defense.
Fortunately for the Wizards (8-1), they had another digging machine waiting in the wings.
Senior libero Taylor Pribble has effectively replaced Colaizzi, who is now playing for Colorado State University.
In 23 sets, Pribble has a 4A-best 173 digs with just 28 digging errors, to go with eight aces and 11 kills.
Pribble is no stranger to the libero position, occasionally filling in for Colaizzi the last couple years and playing the position during club seasons.
With that in mind, Pribble said she has felt perfectly comfortable taking over for Colaizzi.
“Plus, I have great defense behind me if I were to mess up,” Pribble said. “Everyone is working hard.”
Pribble said she’s learned plenty about the libero position while playing with Colaizzi the last few years.
“I could never learn more from a player,” she said. “Jaime is just a great leader; someone that I look up to.”
According to Windsor coach LaVerne Huston, Pribble doesn’t just add a steady defensive presence to the team. She also chips in with the occasional kill.
“One thing that she really does well is she’s very effective as an attacker out of the back row,” Huston said. “She has a nice swing, and more importantly, she is a smart hitter out of that back row. She really gives us a little extra there.”
New team, same JJ
Before graduating from Weld Central in 2011, JJ Sirios made a habit of dazzling local prep fans, whether it be on the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond.
Sirios continues to make highlight plays, now playing football as a starting sophomore right cornerback and punt returner for Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
He also plays basketball during the winter for the Norse.
Sirios, a Business Management major, was recently named Luther’s Special Teams Player of the Week after the Norse’s narrow 28-23 loss to St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) on Sept. 1.
Sirios returned five punts for 30 yards — 11 yards being the longest — and also had an interception in that game.
Defensively this season, he has 12 tackles with an interception in three games.
Sirios is also excelling in the classroom with a 3.65 grade-point average.
A rebuilding Valley boys soccer program struggled in a 10-1 loss at home last Tuesday to Frontier Academy — with Alex Rodriguez scoring the Vikings’ only goal on a penalty kick.
Valley rebounded for a much more respectable showing just two days later, falling 2-0 on the road to Community Christian.
Bobby Fernandez covers county schools sports and is the sports editor for The Tribune. Reach him at (970)392-4478, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez