There are some losses that stick with teams much longer than others.
Blowout defeats to clearly superior teams aren’t fun, but they’re somewhat easier to shrug off as a game never there for the taking.
Defeats to evenly matched opponents where a long list of missed chances go by the wayside are the haunting ones.
That’s why Friday’s 35-14 loss for the Fort Collins High School football team to visiting Mountain View will haunt the Lambkins.
The final score isn’t indicative of the game. Fort Collins had every opportunity to win, but just set itself back too often.
“The problem is we can’t get out of our own way,” said coach Eric Rice, who was quick to try and take the blame off of his players and onto his own shoulders. “It’s frustrating seeing the opportunities there and not capitalizing on them.”
Mountain View (3-4, 1-1 Northern Conference) led 14-0 early in the second quarter before Fort Collins’ offense woke up.
The Lambkins (2-5, 1-1 Northern Conference) quickly scored touchdowns on a Jonathan Erickson QB-keeper and Jake Leone reception from Erickson.
Fort Collins recovered a fumble Mountain View’s Peyton Mayes on the next play and it felt like all momentum was headed in the Lambkins direction.
Then Erickson fumbled on the next play. It was the start of a series of missed opportunities for a young team showing flashes of excellence, yet no consistency.
Mountain View converted a fake punt in the third quarter on a 4th and 10, then Tommy Hochheimer ran for a 42-yard score on the next play.
After another Hochheimer TD to put Mountain View up 28-14, Fort Collins was driving when a trick play failed, as a wide receiver pass was picked off in the red zone.
Late in the game Fort Collins still had a chance. The Lambkins were driving when Leone appeared to dive into the end zone to pull Fort Collins within a score with two minutes left, but just before breaking the goal line he fumbled.
Hochheimer ran wild for Mountain View, racking up 289 yards on 40 carries. Fort Collins moved the ball well, with Erickson throwing for more than 200 and Leone over 100 receiving yards.
The good news for Fort Collins is the conference is still wide open. Monarch upset presumed favorite Windsor and the Lambkins still have games against both teams, plus a strong Skyline opponent next week.
“Every time we got close we couldn’t finish drives, we couldn’t finish on defense,” said captain Cory Lange. “We’re still in it. We just need to come back and keep fighting. We need to learn to finish the games and drives and hope we can turn it around.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 35, FORT COLLINS 14
Mountain View 7 7 7 14 — 35
Fort Collins 0 14 0 0 — 14
MVHS — Jeremiah Greylock 18 catch from Peyton Mayes (Ivan Thomas kick), 7:26.
MVHS — Thomas 10 catch from Mayes (Thomas kick), 11:01.
FCHS — Jonathan Erickson 7 run (Colby Shade kick), 8:04.
FCHS— Jake Leone 5 catch from Erickson (Shade kick), 6:02
MVHS — Tommy Hochheimer 42 run (kick blocked), 6:46.
MVHS — Hochheimer 12 run (Mayes run), 10:09.
MVHS — Mayes 9 run (Thomas kick), 1:33.