FOUNTAIN – Finding consistency and rhythm in football can be challenging at certain points of the season. For Fountain-Fort Carson, it was near impossible a week ago. One game split between two days (and two trips to Highlands Ranch) resulted in a loss to the Falcons.

Things weren’t necessarily getting easier with Class 4A No. 3 Pueblo West coming into Guy Barickman Stadium. The Cyclones had been on a roll since taking down Dakota Ridge in Week 1 and sophomore quarterback Gavin Lockett hasn’t been short on confidence.

That’s why it was so important for Tai Faavae and the Trojans defense to make him uncomfortable. They did just that and kept the Cyclones out of the end zone altogether in a 40-0 win.

“Last week was really funky,” Faavae said. “It was like playing a Madden where you just pause it and play the next day. But today, I’m proud of everyone on defense.”

He should include himself. He was one of several Trojan players to sack Lockett and he even added an interception to his stat line, nearly taking it back for a touchdown as well. The defense held the Cyclones (3-1 overall) to a 3-and-out on the first drive and watched as the offense grabbed a quick 6-0 lead on a touchdown run from Mathias Price.

(Dan Mohrmann/

The Trojans (2-1) made it 13-0 on a little slip screen pass from Tavian Tuli to Jackson Heydenberk that went for 80 yards. Several times through the course of the night, that slip screen was success and went for big gains.

“On film we noticed they were playing softer coverage,” Heydenberk said. “They weren’t always jamming us so we thought get it to the fullback once or twice and maybe we can get a first down.”

A converted outside linebacker, Heydenberk is listed as a fullback on the roster but runs with the speed of a tailback on a 5-Hour Energy boost.

Putting the defensive effort together with a consistent offensive effort was exactly what coach Jake Novotny was looking for as the Trojans get settled back into the 5A classification.

“My favorite part is that we played together as a team,” Novotny said. “That’s the biggest thing I enjoyed. I feel like the last two weeks, we hadn’t played as a team.”

The flashing scoreboard in the south end zone was a reminder of what happens when they do. And considering they did it against a Pueblo area team was all the more impressive. As one FFC assistant noted through the course of the game, “we can get after these guys pretty good, but they have this tendency to just keep fighting.”

A loss to a 5A team won’t hurt the goals that the Cyclones have for the year. The hot start to the year certainly gave the Cyclones a bit of swagger, but the loss on Friday was a reminder that the swagger has to be matched with effort and preparation.

“Hopefully we learn from it,” coach Clint Buderus said. “We need to learn how to practice a little better and hopefully we’re healthy enough to go. Good thing we have a bye week next week. We’ll just regroup and go again. That’s all you can do.”

The outcome was a good lesson for each sideline. For the Trojans, the focus they had through the course of the week resulted in their best win of the year. For the Cyclones, confidence is great but there is always room for improvement.

The way in which these teams apply these lessons will determine how the remainders of their seasons will play out.