The momentum will be on Fort Collins High School’s sideline 7 p.m. tonight when the Lambkins meet Poudre at French Field.
The Lambkins have won their last three games after starting the season 0-3, and are brimming with the confidence.
“Winning breeds confidence, and confidence on the football field is power,” Fort Collins coach Eric Rice said. “When you’re confident in what you’re doing and you’ve had success with what you’re doing, success will follow right in line after that.”
None of Fort Collins’ wins have been particularly pretty. Only one of the Lambkins’ three wins has been by double digits, and their last two games have been decided by a total of seven points.
“We haven’t necessarily played the perfect game, by any means, but we’ve found a way to win,” Rice said. “That’s neat going forward because when you get into those close games it’s great to be able to say ‘we’ve been there before and we found a way to get it done.’ “
Fort Collins’ defense has propelled the team to those wins, as the team has only given up 19 points over the course of the winning streak.
“Their scheme puts you in a bind offensively. They’re very good at bringing pressure and playing man coverage behind it,” Poudre coach Dan Reardon said.
For the 1-5 Impalas, the best way to counteract that pressure may be with a strong showing from the offensive line.
“We probably do have a size advantage up front, but with their blitzing and the guys they bring would give them a speed advantage,” Reardon said. “We have to handle our assignments for it to make a difference.”
Poudre’s biggest struggle defensively will be containing senior quarterback Caleb Seeton. He has passed for 183 yards this season but run for 460 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s a very good athlete. He can stretch your defense horizontally, and when you have a big-play guy like that touching the ball it makes you really nervous defensively,” Reardon said.
The Impalas’ best defensive strategy might be to keep Seeton and the Lambkins’ offense off the field by sustaining drives and trying to dominate the line of scrimmage.
“Poudre likes to run the ball. Even though they got a new coach in Dan (Reardon), the staples of their game are running iso and power and they run it pretty well,” Rice said. “Getting ready for them offensively has been tough because of all the formations they run. We haven’t seen a lot of them this year.”
Though Poudre and Fort Collins are on different ends of the Front Range League standings, both teams understand those places mean little when city rivals collide.
“I think if a coach tells you it’s just like any other game, I think they’re lying,” Reardon said. “You like kids to treat all games the same, but the reality is there’s always extra energy when you’re playing a cross-town rival.”