Four weeks into the football season, Palmer Ridge found itself winless and searching for answers.
The Bears found those answers by giving their players a sense of ownership at one position only, instead of having them play both ways.
Coach Tom Pulford doesn't see a coincidence in the fact that the Bears have won three of four after making that fundamental change.
"We went to a two-platoon system," Pulford said. "We have a lot of guys on one side of the ball now. It keeps things simple, and we're getting a higher degree of execution. They're believing in the system, and it's fun to see that."
On Friday, the 3-5 Bears notched their finest victory, knocking off Mesa Ridge 31-21 to improve to 3-2 in league play. All of the sudden, Palmer Ridge sits in a three-way tie for third place in Foothills League play.
Ca?n City and Pueblo Centennial, also at 3-2, await the Bears over the final two weeks, which should make things rather interesting in the race behind leaders Pueblo South and Pueblo West.
The Bears played a demanding nonleague schedule that included such opponents as Montrose, Vista Ridge and Windsor (18-6 combined), then opened league play against Pueblo South, which is 7-1 and has yet to lose a league game. Now, the Bears are ready for about anything.
"We saw some formidable opponents," Pulford said. "Our improvement has been from a combination of a lot of things. We're at a point where we're executing now."
Short season wraps up for Pikes Peak Christian
Just like that, and the regular season has finished for 1A eight-man school Pikes Peak Christian. The Eagles went 5-3 to finish in fourth place in the Black Forest League.
In Week 9, the top four teams in each division play a cross-conference game with the East-Central League, fourth place playing first place and second place hosting the third-place finisher. That means Pikes Peak Christian will go up against 5-1 Vail Christian, scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday in Edwards.
After that, a seeding committee will select the top 16 teams that start postseason play Nov. 2.