Rampart welcomed a trio of difference-makers to its football team, just in time for the 2013 season.
Meet the Hackers.
Cameron Hacker threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns, three to his brother Clayton, and cousin Kegan ran for another as Rampart erupted offensively and held off Canon City 44-30 Saturday afternoon at District 20 Stadium.
"It all fell into place today," Cameron Hacker said. "I never imagined such a day, definitely not in the first week. We've been working hard all summer, and it's built character and brought us together as a team."
Last season, Cameron was the starting quarterback at Fountain-Fort Carson, throwing just seven touchdown passes all season in a run-heavy offense. During the summer, his dad, recently retired from the Army, moved the family to the Rampart area, where the two brothers have made a sudden impact.
Clinging to a 37-30 lead late in the fourth quarter, Rampart could have elected to run out the clock with its ground game. Instead, a strategy based on the defense helped to put the exclamation point on the season opener with a Hacker-to-Hacker 46-yard strike on a hitch and go down the left sideline with 1:22 left.
"We've got good chemistry," said Clayton Hacker, who ended the day with 176 receiving yards. "He delivered good passes, but I wasn't expecting that much. At the end, we were really going off what their corners were doing. They were playing really close. It was a really good pass."
The Rams (1-0) allowed two kickoff returns for touchdowns by Trenton Stringari but also forced four turnovers without committing any as they avenged a 31-14 road loss at Canon City last year.
When senior Kegan Hacker, who spent most of last year injured while on the junior varsity, swerved and cut for an 18-yard touchdown run with 48.3 seconds left in the third quarter, Rampart had built a 37-14 lead.
The Tigers (0-1) roared back as quarterback Logan Nethercot threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Trystan Hinton and a 34-yarder to Logun Javernick, sandwiched around a safety, all in a span of 6:43 that made it a one-score game.
"We came out too slow, and we need to come out and show we're ready to play," said Javernick, Canon City's leading receiver with 130 yards on seven grabs. "They came out ready to play and were more fired up than we were."
Luckily, the Tigers had Stringari, who gave Canon City a 6-3 lead after a 99-yard kickoff return following a 43-yard field goal by Tristan Bailey. After a pair of Clayton Hacker touchdown passes in a 12-second span - aided by a Tigers fumble - put Rampart ahead 17-6, Stringari returned another kickoff 99 yards to make it 17-14, still with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
"We gave up two kickoff returns, but our defense played a heck of a game," said Rampart coach JJ Owens, whose defense allowed just 76 yards rushing. "We are much improved defensively. But my hat's off to Canon City. They came back and never quit. They battled hard all day. It was a heck of a football game."