The saying goes that once is an accident, twice is a coincidence and three times is a pattern. So what is the fourth time?
More than a trend, almost an expectation.
That’s what scoring with little time left on the clock has become for the Windsor football team. Each of the past four games (all wins), the Wizards (4-1, 2-0 Northern Conference) have scored in the final minute of the first half. And each has been a back-breaker of sorts to help blow a game open.
“It’s tough to come back from those,” Windsor coach Chris Jones said.
In week two against Fossil Ridge, the Wizards scored with six seconds left to go up 14-0. Against Palmer Ridge, it was a touchdown with 1:06 left to make it 7-0, then another score with 16 seconds left to make it 14-0. Against Thompson Valley, Windsor opened the scoring with a TD with six seconds left. And against Longmont, a run with 47 seconds left made it 21-7 Windsor.
Additionally, the Wizards have also scored three touchdowns in the final 1:37 of fourth quarters.
And of the five touchdowns scored in the last 1:06 of the half, four have come on runs from quarterback Joe Sanger, one in each of the four games.
“Really? I didn’t even know that,” said Sanger when told of the stat.
Indeed. The question is why have the Wizards been so successful in the last minute?
Jones attributes part of it to conditioning. His team prides itself on being the hardest working team around. A popular motto with the players is “N.O.” Never Outworked. Windsor is able to run the triple-option all half long and wear down opponents, possibly causing them to let up in the last minute, with the extended rest of halftime in sight.
Play-calling doesn’t change. The Wizards pretty much use the same handful of running plays all game long, but defenses late in the half alter their schemes, going to a more prevent defense, allowing gaps for Windsor to run through.
“It’s one where they look at the clock and if you’re on that sideline you’re thinking, ‘Can we survive this?'” Jones said. “All of a sudden you get a nice gut shot into them.”
A subtle change that takes place is simply a sense of urgency. Jones said the Wizards treat the end of the half like it’s the end of the game; they have one last shot to put points on the board. That sense of urgency has treated them well.
Heading into today’s homecoming game against Greeley Central (1-4, 0-2), the Wizards have been able to ride that momentum from late scores to four-straight victories. The Wizards are at the top of the Northern Conference and ranked No. 5 in the Denver Post football poll.
It’s certainly a trend they would like to continue.
“It’s a good feeling knowing going into half you just pretty much put the dagger into the other team, and it gives us motivation coming out for the second half,” Sanger said.
Follow reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle.