PHOTOS: Mitchell Marauders (7) Falcon High School Falcons (41)

The Mitchell Marauders (7) host the Falcon High School Falcons (41) in a conference football game Friday October 18, 2019. Photo by Jeff Kearney.

Class 4A football figures to be a step up for most on the Falcon High School roster, but it won’t be for new coach Darrel Gorham.

Gorham’s most recent head coaching gig was at Highlands Ranch where he coached the 5A program until 2013. Now, after assisting Legend last year, Gorham was tabbed to lead the Falcons as they move up from the 3A Southern League to the new 4A I-25 League, which also includes Palmer, Cheyenne Mountain, Liberty, Thornton and Widefield.

“Coach Gorham brings the program a wealth of knowledge and experience that ranges through multiple levels of high school football through the collegiate level,” Falcon athletic director Jennifer Gregg wrote in an email to The Gazette. “The expectations will remain the same to grow the program that cultivates an atmosphere to challenge our athletes as they grow into young men that demonstrate character, integrity and respect for all."

After assisting at Legend, another 5A program, last year, Gorham planned to move to Colorado Springs and work on Jake Novotny’s staff at Fountain-Fort Carson. Gorham and Novotny both coached at Colorado State University-Pueblo when the ThunderWolves won the 2014 Division II national championship.

Then, Chris Waca, the former Falcon coach, resigned his post to move closer to family.

“When the job opened up, I just knew that it was an area that I liked,” Gorham said. “It’s a growing area, and a lot of my coaching buddies said it would be a good job to go after, so I looked into it.”

Prior to his time at Highlands Ranch, Gorham coached at Rifle High School where he led the Bears to the 2004 3A state championship.

Gorham takes over a Falcon program that went 5-5 in its last season as a 3A school. Barring any offseason changes, the Falcons figure to return their top three rushers from last year. Rising junior Darius McFarland rushed for a team-high 966 yards and eight touchdowns, while Landon Jones and Camrie Williams — both juniors in 2019 — combined for 699 yards and seven touchdowns, giving Gorham a head start on what he wants to do.

“The philosophy that we’ll have is we’ll run the ball and do play-action passes off the run,” Gorham said. “Then, defensively, we need to stop the run, and then special teams will always be in a situation to try and set up good field position or scoring. That’s been my base philosophy all the way through.”