Prep football game of the week: Rampart confidence growing with wins as Ponderosa visits

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Photo - Rampart football players practice tipping passes. Rampart was practicing at Rampart High School on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette
Rampart football players practice tipping passes. Rampart was practicing at Rampart High School on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette

Rampart already has a signature win over Monarch this season.

The Rams are looking to add another one.

Rampart will host Ponderosa on Friday night in a nonconference game that could be a key win in helping determine playoff teams when the regular season ends.

A week after suffering a 43-7 loss to Heritage, the Rams rebounded with a three-point win over perennial power Monarch. They followed that with a win at George Washington. That victory might have told coach Rob Royer the most about his Rams (3-1).

"We won this weekend and they were not happy with our performance, which is a good sign," Royer said this week. "We did have some mistakes that we made that we didn't in previous games and they were not satisfied with that. And that's a good thing."

It was the Monarch victory that has instilled confidence in the Rams.

That confidence will get tested Friday night. Ponderosa (2-1) comes in with one of the state's most balanced offenses. The Mustangs have thrown for 460 yards and rushed for 534.

That's exactly what Mustangs coach Jaron Cohen wants to see from his group.

"We can go into a game and say, 'Hey we're going to take what the defense gives us,'" the former Liberty coach said, tabbing offensive coordinator Shawn Flynn for the offense's success. "We're not as dependent on we need to throw the ball or we need to run the ball. It's just a nice luxury with our personnel."

The Rams are looking forward to the challenge of stopping an air attack.

"It's very exciting because we actually get to do something besides coverage sacks," joked running back/cornerback Xavier Bishop-Falu. "We can actually get the ball hopefully."

Bishop-Falu leads the Rams in rushing with 383 yards. But he's far from the only one carrying the ball. On 182 rushing plays, the Rams have handed the ball to 15 players. Jackson Beale leads the team with five touchdowns and 46 carries. Bishop-Falu has 37 carries and four scores.

Of the other 13 players, none have carried the ball more than 21 times.

The reason for spreading the ball around? The offensive line.

"They open up some pretty big holes and it makes it very easy, at least for me, to run through them," Bishop-Falu said.

Cohen knows his defense will have to stop the Rams' ground game if the Mustangs want to come away with a win.

Rampart fullback Erfan Zangeneh has carried the ball four times, getting into the end zone twice.

Zangeneh, who also plays middle linebacker, loves the team's confidence after the Monarch win.

"I think it put a little more confidence in us," Zangeneh said. "But it also kept that chip on our shoulder. We know we can handle and stay with those teams at that intensity. It shows as long we keep our intensity up we'll do anything we want."