No player on Vista Ridge’s 77-man football roster has ever beaten Windsor.
Three-straight openers against the Wizards have come to three-straight losses — but the Wolves hope to change the pattern Friday.
But the team in Carolina blue and black will look much different from the Vista Ridge of the past as Friday will mark the start of a new era, complete with a new coach, new system and a new starting quarterback.
The coach: Jason Cauley arrived in Colorado Springs on June 3, and quickly went to revamping the Wolves' offense to mimic that of Rich Rodriguez, the current offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
The system: Cauley learned Rodriguez’s system at West Virginia and said it has changed throughout the years depending on the personnel he has, but one thing remains the same.
“We never huddle and we always go at a fast pace,” Cauley said. “It’s a lot of fun and the kids like it.”
The quarterback: Freshman Brayden Dorman will make his first varsity start, but he’s no ordinary freshman, according to Cauley.
“This kid is 14 but he’s not the typical 14-year-old,” Cauley said. “He’s 6-3, 190 and the kid can throw. You look at him throw, and you can tell he’s the real deal.”
Dorman is surrounded by veterans to help the offense run smoothly. When asked about his personnel, Cauley rattled off the names of 13 offensive players he expects to have a big impact this season, including offensive captains Zayden Davis, Devonte Brown and Kayon Lacy.
But it’s the defense that has Cauley excited.
“Our defensive line is sick,” Cauley said. “It’s dangerous. We have Emmanuel Taylor who is only 5-8 but he’s 250 pounds of solid muscle, and he wears a size 16 shoe, so he should be 6-5, 6-6 — this kid is a monster and he can’t be blocked.”
Cauley also noted Justis Laulu, a 6-3, 290-pound sophomore and Jaleen Young who stands at 6-2, 270 to anchor Taylor on the three-man front.
“We have a stout defensive line,” Cauley said, adding nine other defensive players to his list of projected standouts. “I’m excited about what we have on defense. They’re aggressive, they hit and they’re fast.”
But there’s still room to grow. Cauley said as of Wednesday’s rain-shortened practice his team is at a “six or seven” in terms of the pace he wants the offense to run. But hailing from Alabama where the no-huddle offense is common in high school football, Cauley hopes it will come as a surprise to teams in Colorado, regardless of the speed they’re at this week.
“It’s hard to practice against,” Cauley said. “I think we do have an advantage if people haven’t seen this up-tempo, because it’s hard to match in practice and I think we have an advantage that way.”