Game of the Week: Fountain-Fort Carson battles No. 1-ranked Pomona

0
Photo - Head coach Jake Novotny, center, of the Fountain-Fort Carson football calls the next play as the team practiced their drills at home on Wednesday September 6, 2017 in Fountain. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).
Head coach Jake Novotny, center, of the Fountain-Fort Carson football calls the next play as the team practiced their drills at home on Wednesday September 6, 2017 in Fountain. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

When you look at Friday's matchup between Pomona and Fountain-Fort Carson football, it's hard to miss the No. 1 ranking next to Pomona's name.

But the Trojans aren't paying attention to anything besides the color of their opponents jersey for their home opener.

"I think the fans and the media pay attention to that ranking more than we do," Fountain-Fort Carson coach Jake Novotny said. "We've been preaching next-play mentality and now our guys have to believe that. They don't wear red, white and blue so they're guys we don't like and guys we are going to try to beat."

The Trojans' battle with top-ranked Pomona is The Gazette Preps Game of the Week.

Pomona earned its top ranking thanks to a fast-paced offense that put up 52 points against No. 10 Mullen in Week 1, but Novotny said the team has been working on a game plan to slow the Panthers down.

Various members of the Fountain-Fort Carson defense work on bringing a player down as the team practiced their drills at home on Wednesday September 6, 2017 in Fountain, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette). 

"We've been focusing on pass reading a lot, so our corners are getting a lot of work," Trojan linebacker Jarren Sly said. "We know they are a high-tempo team and we know they are definitely going to pass the ball on us. We're definitely still worried about the run game though, because they have some pretty fast backs."

Sly and fellow linebacker Iosua Maika combined for 26 total tackles last week and will be key in stopping Pomona's speedy offense.

"They have one of the best players in the state coming back with Max Borghi, and their quarterback Ryan Marquez is a stud, he's one of the best in the state in my opinion," Novotny said. "We have to key in on those guys and keep it simple for our guys to be successful - and we have to play fast."

The Trojans boast a well-rounded threat on offense in quarterback Eric Donnell, who transitioned from running back this summer and uses his speed to his advantage. Last week he amassed 317 all-purpose yards, including 167 yard rushing and a 32-yard kick return. He was 5-for-9 passing for 118 yards.

"We have to take it one play at a time and focus on the task at hand. They are just another team that is on our schedule it doesn't matter what rank they are," Donnell said. "We know they are an excellent team and they are well coached, but we are just going to go out there and do our job."

Last week the Trojans were shut out in the second half by Ralston Valley in a narrow 21-16 victory. In Week 2, Fountain-Fort Carson will need to put up a fight for a full 48 minutes.

"I was really happy with how explosive they were in the first half last week, but then we came out and didn't score in the second half and made some bonehead mistakes and almost gave the game away," Novotny said. "There's definitely a lot of improvement for us to be had - we have to learn to close games now and not make mistakes down the stretch."

Head coach Jake Novotny of the Fountain-Fort Carson football watches as Rayshaun Anthony takes down the Roll Tackle Ring as the team practiced their drills at home on Wednesday September 6, 2017 in Fountain. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette). 

PANTHERS-TROJANS AT A GLANCE

Game data: No. 1 Pomona Panthers at Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans . Friday at 7 p.m. at Fountain-Fort Carson Stadium . nonconference game.

Media: Follow @chhunsun and @LindseySquints on Twitter for updates from the game, and follow GazettePreps on Snapchat for an exclusive sideline snap story, interviews and more.

Teams: Both teams are 1-0 but Pomona is ranked No. 1 in the state according to MaxPreps ... In Week 1 the Panthers beat No. 10 Mullen 52-22, while Fountain-Fort Carson claimed a 21-16 victory over Ralston Valley.

Stat leaders: Trojan quarterback Eric Donnell racked up 317 all-purpose yards with 167 yards rushing and a 32-yard kick return. He also threw 5 for 9 for 118 yards. Jarren Sly and Iosua Maika had 15 and 11 total tackles respectively for F-FC in Week 1 . Pomona quarterback Ryan Marquez threw for 254 yards against Mullen, while running back Theorius Robison ran for 232 yards on 20 carries.