Doherty's offensive coordinator turned coach, Jeff Krumlauf, vows he won't tame his team's lofty expectations for the upcoming season - no matter the circumstances.
The excuses of a first-year quarterback and the departure of several starting seniors from last season's team weren't coming up when Krumlauf was asked about his team's outlook. Not even after a fairly disappointing showing at the second annual Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group 7 vs. 7 Benefit Tournament on Saturday morning.
The goal hasn't changed for the Spartans, the first-year coach said. It's still about winning a state title.
"A few things haven't gone our way as of late, but rule 76, 'no excuses,'" said Krumlauf, who took over after David Joyce departed for his hometown in Arkansas, back in March. "We are going to work hard, and we won't be satisfied until we bring home that gold trophy. Our goal is on Nov. 29."
Following a loss in the second round of the Class 5A postseason, newly appointed Krumlauf and his young team continued their preparation for the 2014 season at the Vista Ridge High School on Saturday with a series of seven-on-seven scrimmages against some of the best teams in the area.
"It's always beneficial to get out here and see what the competition is," Krumlauf said. "Our main thing is just to get better every day."
He knows of course, it'll have its bumps.
After finishing Friday's pool play ranked third out of the tournament's 11 teams, the Spartans were bounced in Saturday's double-elimination bracket in straight games. Coronado quarterback Devon Baker made enough plays against Doherty's stingy defense in the first 20-minute game, before Elizabeth rallied to knock the Spartans out after junior quarterback Sergio Gordillo's pick-six with two minutes remaining in the second game.
"It's been a process so far for all of us, especially all of us who are coming up from J.V.," said Gordillo, who impresses at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds.
"For me, I have the chemistry with guys from the J.V. team, but I'm still finding it with the returning varsity stars."
And although Saturday looked more like a backyard pickup game than football, with shorts instead of pads, and two-hand touch instead of tackling, the Spartans still found more than enough questions that need to be answered in time for the high school season.
"Mental mistakes cost us today, but we'll get better," returning outside linebacker Darrian Stickney said. "I don't think we'll miss a beat this year. We have enough talent to get over the hump, and I believe we will."
Pine Creek won the seven-on-seven tournament by beating The Classical Academy in two straight games in the finals after losing to the Titans earlier in the day.