A nine-game regular season means games quickly turn important.
While it still seems like the high school football season has just begun, we’ve already reached the time for big contests.
Friday night the Fossil Ridge High School football team plays Rocky Mountain at 7 p.m. at French Field in a big conference matchup.
Here’s a look at what’s on the line and keys to the game.
What’s at stake: Other than bragging rights within the city, this is a big early-season Front Range League contest.
Rocky Mountain (2-1, 0-1 FRL) was second in the FRL last year, but a loss last week to Legacy has the Lobos desperate for a win to stay in the race to the top.
Fossil Ridge (2-1, 1-0 FRL) has never contended for a conference title and a win Friday would have the SaberCats in an early position to do just that.
To win, Rocky Mountain must: Knock Fossil Ridge off balance. In the SaberCats two wins the offense has been smooth, with quarterback GriffinRoberts composed in the pocket finding weapons like ColeSchilling and AlecMullen.
KordellAtencio has balanced the offense with strong production on the ground. But in Fossil Ridge’s one loss, the SaberCats offense was knocked totally out of sync by a strong Fort Collins defense.
Rocky Mountain’s defense can also be a disruptive force and the Lobos will need that again to win Friday.
To win, Fossil Ridge must: Contain Hairgrove. Rocky Mountain senior running back CadeHairgrove is one of the most efficient ball carriers in the state.
He leads Class 5A with seven rushing touchdowns and is seventh in rushing yards with 406. His 6.8 average per carry is one of the best among every down backs. Slowing Hairgrove down is necessary for Fossil Ridge to win.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
Week 4 Friday football schedule
Friday: Rocky Mountain at Fossil Ridge at French Field, 7 p.m. Twitter updates: @Kevin_Lytle
Friday: Resurrection Christian at Estes Park, 7 p.m. Twitter updates: @ColoradoanSpts