FOUNTAIN - Lined up against Rampart for the second time in eight days, the Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans had just one thing on their minds: Redemption.
F-FC took last week’s three-point loss to Rampart personally, and wasn't about to end their regular season on two straight losses. So when the opportunity arose to face the Rams again, the Trojans were locked in, patient, and hungry.
When the final horn sounded signaling a 33-17 win over Rampart, they were ready to celebrate a 4A Southern league championship.
“We've been building to this,” said Fountain-Fort Carson coach Jake Novotny, who honored his senior football players before the game. “We knew this senior class was special. We talk about leaving a legacy and I think these seniors have put us in a good situation to do that.”
Fountain-Fort Carson looked like a different team compared to its last effort against Rampart, led by its defensive effort. Last week Rampart focused on time of possession and short running plays executed flawlessly. But the Trojans were ready this time.
Led by sophomore Tai Faavae, Fountain-Fort Carson held Rampart to just three first downs in the first half, and dominated in the second.
“Last week when we took the L we took it to the gut and we knew we had to come back and get the dub this time,” Faavae said. “The biggest defense was for our defensive linemen. They got off the blocks and made tackles and wrapped out and made sure the quarterback couldn’t run and kept the outside contained.”
Stopping quarterback Cale Cormaney and the Rampart running game is a tall order, but the Trojan defense did it successfully on its second go-around thanks to a few tweaks in their week of preparation.
Cormaney and junior Rand Butler had the Rams’ only touchdowns of the day, and Josh Leist nailed a 28-yard field goal.
Fountain-Fort Carson led by three at halftime, eerily similar to last week, as F-FC held a narrow lead following a Rampart field goal. But the Trojans stayed patient.
“We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle,” Novotny said. “At halftime we just told them this is exactly what we knew it would be, just keep fighting, keep doing what we do and wear them down and when we get that opportunity let’s take over.”
With the defense taking care of business, the offense had a better opportunity to flex its depth, another contrast from last week’s effort.
“If you have a team that is pushing you to stay off the field you have to take advantage of every moment you get,” said senior Q Jones.
Jones, who is usually responsible for the majority of the team’s offensive yards, was joined by a host of playmakers, including Faavae, who had two touchdowns. Quarterback Tavian Tuli, Wyatt Price and Ricardo Rivera also scored.
“I think they kind of slept on us and some of our receivers,” said senior Malik McClarity.
With a 5-1 regular season wrapped, Fountain-Fort Carson will wait for Sunday’s release of the 4A playoff bracket. Prior to Friday’s game the Trojans were ranked seventh in the Colorado High School Activities Association seeding index, which will select the top eight teams in each class for the 2020 playoff bracket.
“From here on out every game is going to be like what we played tonight,” Novotny said. “Every team is going to be good and well-coached so I think the ability for our kids to play two games like this back to back -- one where we didn't do so well in, and one that we did -- I think that helps us to know that we’ve been there when we get to that point in the playoffs.”