It’s not often high school football teams get an immediate shot at redemption. But Friday, Fountain-Fort Carson has an unprecedented chance to make up for a 17-14 loss to Rampart just eight days later.
Both Rampart and Fountain-Fort Carson’s Week 6 opponents were forced to cancel, opening the door for what is sure to be an instant classic.
Last Thursday the Trojans and Rams clashed at Garry Berry Stadium, putting up nearly identical numbers, with just four all-purpose yards separating the two. But a first-half field goal and a final defensive stand by Rampart sealed the three-point win to hand Fountain-Fort Carson its first loss of the season.
This week the Trojans will host Rampart on senior night in both team’s sixth and final regular season matchup, which will also serve as a winner-take-all finale for the 4A Southern conference crown.
Following last week’s win Rampart moved to first place in the conference. The Rams will lock in the championship with a road victory, but a Fountain-Fort Carson win Friday could place the Trojans back on top and set them up for a top playoff seed. Playoff brackets are scheduled to be released on Sunday.
“The kids know exactly what the situation is, and I’m sure Fountain-Fort Carson is in the same boat,” said Rampart coach Troy Ward. “These kids know that this is probably the biggest game most of them have played in. It’s a big game for both of these teams and we are excited and ready.”
F-FC coach Jake Novotny said a quick-turnaround rematch presents both opportunity and challenges.
“The preparation and the work has been done on both ends in terms of knowing what each other does and top players. We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Novotny said. “A game like this comes down to fundamentals and the team that can execute the fundamentals, take care of the football and stay in front of the sticks is going to have a chance Friday.”
The top player the Trojans will be keying in on — again — is senior quarterback Cale Cormaney, who last week put up a team-high 138 rushing yards and had the game-sealing interception in the final two minutes.
“The challenge for any defense is you can’t completely stop him,” Novotny said. “He’s going to bring everything he brought last week and then some. No matter what we try to do against him he’s going to bring it, we just have to focus on trying to slow him down.”
Cormaney and the Rams executed a nearly flawless game plan to keep the ball out of the hands of state-leading running back Q Jones and the Fountain-Fort Carson offense. Rampart's offense focused on short running plays to successfully move the chains and drain the clock.
“We’ve got to be able to do some of the things they did to us and put some pressure on them,” Novotney said. “They ran the ball all night with ease and that’s the biggest thing for me. We have to create some negative plays and take them out of their game plan.”
And although his team had the ball only a handful of times last week, Jones still ran for a game-high 219 yards, making up 68% of the Trojans’ total yards against Rampart.
Leading the Trojans' defensive charge will be sophomore Tai Faavae, who had 17 tackles, including 13 solo, against the Rams.
RAMS-TROJANS AT A GLANCE
Game data: Rampart Rams (4-1, 3-1 4A Southern) vs. Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans (4-1, 3-1 4A Southern) … 7 p.m. Friday at Guy R. Barickman Stadium. The winner will claim the 4A Southern conference championship.
Media: Follow @LindseySquints on Twitter for live updates throughout the game, and check Gazette Preps for a story, photo gallery and highlight video following the game. A livestream will be made available through the Fountain-Fort Carson athletic department.
COVID-19 restrictions: No tickets will be sold at the gate. All spectators are required to complete a health screening prior to entering the facility. Masks and social distancing are required.