The Gazette Preps 5A-4A football Coach of the Year: Rob Royer, Rampart

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Photo - On Monday, crews will begin the first phase of the more than $30 million project rebuilding about 5,100 feet of channel through Garden of the Gods Park and the Rock Ledge Ranch. On the edge of the Rock Ledge Ranch property, a sign warns people of the dangers of flood waters. Tuesday, August 23, 2016. photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette
On Monday, crews will begin the first phase of the more than $30 million project rebuilding about 5,100 feet of channel through Garden of the Gods Park and the Rock Ledge Ranch. On the edge of the Rock Ledge Ranch property, a sign warns people of the dangers of flood waters. Tuesday, August 23, 2016. photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

A year ago football coach Rob Royer led Rampart to its first league championship since 2001.

"Now that we've been there, we know what it takes," Royer told The Gazette last year. "Next time, maybe it's us moving on."

And that’s exactly what the Rams did.

Royer is The Gazette Preps 4A-5A Football Coach of the Year.

The Rams concluded an 8-2 regular season, and swept the 4A Pikes Peak football conference for their second straight league title.

“It was our goal to get another outright district championship, and we worked to make that happen,” Royer said. “But I think one of the first things we’ve done is put together a great coaching staff. The men that work with me are incredible and we’re very fortunate these guys invest so much time in the lives of these kids. And with that it’s easy for the kids to buy into what we want to do.”

When the time came for the first round of the state playoffs, the Rams faced a familiar foe - Monarch, who handed them a 14-7 loss in Week 3. But Rampart, determined to make it to that illusive second round, persevered and posted a shutout in the second half for the program’s first playoff win since 2001.

“This senior class took every opportunity and did an outstanding job,” Royer said. “We wanted to play the best teams in the state, and Pine Creek (the Rams’ second-round opponent) is certainly one of the best teams.”

Rampart fell to Pine Creek on a snowy night in mid November, but the future is still bright. Although Royer and the Rams will lose a talented class of 13 seniors, Rampart is ready to reload.

“We’ve graduated some great kids, but we’ve created a standard of success and an opportunity for the next class to step up, and the kids see those opportunities,” Royer said. “They want that opportunity to play on Friday nights so they work in the offseason to step up and fill those roles.”