I know it's a cliche: you take it one game at a time.
But in football, particularly in the high school ranks where so many teams run things so many different ways, the preparation on the part of players and coaches really blows my mind.
I think about Mead last Friday night against Fort Morgan. They were prepared to play one of the best teams in the state and they showed tremendous discipline. They lost, yes, but they were heads-held-high if not eager to get right back to the stadium at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to grind again.
All this is to say that if you were to ask a kid even on a contending team, they probably would not care much about RPI or anything like that (until of course they feel the system screwed them over a bit after things are said and done). They just want the 'W'. Coaches, too, for the most part.
But RPI is going to either get you in or keep you home unless you win your league. And after this week's games we will know where everyone stands halfway through the season as the first official RPI is released.
I've got a couple of good games on my docket this week, starting Thursday with Longmont hosting Thompson Valley, and then Friday at Erie as the Tigers take on Berthoud. I expect favorable results for both local teams as well as both being in the Top 16 of the RPI after the week.
Here's a brief look into each contest coming up.
Thompson Valley (1-4) at Longmont (3-2), Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Everly-Montgomery Field
History shows this matchup has been kind to Longmont — according to Maxpreps.com the Trojans have won 11 of the past 12 meetings — and things might not be much different this time around. The Eagles are coming off their first win (at Berthoud) but have had a ferocious schedule (Mead, Holy Family, Loveland and Mountain View). They've been able to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but offensively they are averaging just 122 total yards a game.
Longmont, meanwhile, rebounded from a loss against Mead with a huge comeback win over Holy Family last week. It appears, too, the Trojans are building their offensive attack nicely having scored 30, 34, 35 and 46 points each of the past four weeks. A stable of running backs have helped diversify the rush, and in fact it was a five-man attack that racked up 320 yards on the ground against the Tigers.
Berthoud (1-4) at Erie (4-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Tigers Stadium
Erie suffered its first loss of the season against Silver Creek this past week, but in 1-4 Berthoud coming to EHS the Tigers get a chance to build some confidence again. The Tigers allowed but 19 points to Centaurus, who beat Berthoud earlier in the season, and Erie also put up the most points of anyone so far this season against the Raptors — indicating this could be a mismatch.
The Spartans will throw the ball around a little bit and QB Brock Voth is an athletic player, but Berthoud is thin numbers-wise and hasn't found any ways to slow down the opposition, either.
For Erie, it's been all about balance. The Tigers have averaged a little over 200 rushing yards per contest while at the same time getting about 145 yards through the air; defensively they have five interceptions and four fumble recoveries; and Julian Custine and Quintin Hyrup have been great on special teams duties.