BROOMFIELD — It is quite the opportunity for John Roberts and his football team at Prospect Ridge Academy.
Not too many coaches or athletes get to build their programs from the ground up and put their stamp on it the way the Miners do.
"We are just basically trying to build it and do it right," said Roberts, who coached for a time at Golden and was an assistant to Bob Simmons at Boulder as well. "I didn't think we would be varsity this quick, but we will do what we have to."
Prospect Ridge, which became an official CHSAA-sanctioned school this season, will embark on its first varsity season without a single senior and will be slotted into the newly formed Class 2A Patriot West League. They will be tested right out of the gate Friday at North Stadium against Kent Denver, which is ranked No. 2 in CHSAANow.com's preseason 2A poll.
Using line-up primarily composed of juniors and sophomores, with a few freshmen sprinkled in, the Miners played a junior varsity schedule last season and went 7-1.
"This is going to be like going back up," said Roberts, who two years ago started the program with just 15 freshmen. "It's going to be tough, but hopefully we will be competitive and do OK, but it'll be tough."
The one thing working in the Miners' favor is their size. It's a front line that, at least by 2A standards, will be able to hold its own. They average 220 pounds across the offensive and defense lines and that is a number that will grow with time in the weight room over the next year.
Roberts knows this is a work in progress and that he will likely deal with depth issues for a couple of years.
"It's going to take some time," he said. "We just try and stay positive and they try to get better each and every day and not worry about the scoreboard so much, but rather worry about if they are doing things the way that they are supposed to be doing them to help us get better."
Roberts has been a part of just about everything involved with the program and has really received a ton of support from athletic director Ellie Kempf in terms of scheduling and giving him the tools to succeed.
"Ordering thing and getting things the way we want," said Roberts, who has a son playing in college at Nebraska-Kearney and another at Ralston Valley in Arvada. "I did this because I love coaching and wanted to give back to the kids, but I still didn't want to miss (my kids') games.
"This allows that to happen and that has been a great thing for me."
The Miners don't have a home field and will play a their home games at both North Stadium as well as Five Star Stadium in Thornton.
PROSPECT RIDGE ACADEMY MINERS
COACH: John Roberts (2nd year).
LAST YEAR: 7-1 in JV/Level 3 schedule.
RETURNING STARTERS: Tyson Anderson (Jr., OL-DL, 6-2, 225); Nic Carder (Jr., TE-LB, 6-2, 190); Josh Cordova (Jr., WR-DB, 5-11, 175); Ryan Ellinger (So., DB, 5-10, 160); Liam Fitzgibbons (Jr., OL-DL, 6-1, 195); Spencer Herivel (Jr., OL-DL, 5-11, 230); Micah Honea (Jr., RB, 5-7, 160); Reilly Lavelle (Jr., QB, 6-2, 170); Dillon Lucas (So., RB-LB, 5-9, 160); Devon Payan (So., DB, 5-10, 165); Jake Thiret (So., WR, 6-2, 180); Tyler Walls (Jr., OL-LB, 6-2, 230); Austin Weber (Jr., NT, 6-1, 250).
OTHERS TO WATCH: Quinton Gorsh (Fr., OL, 6-3, 225); Kaelum Madden (Fr., DB, 5-6, 150).
COLLEGE PROSPECTS: None.
STRENGTHS: The Miners are big across the front line and have size all over for that matter.
WEAKNESSES: They don't have a single player that has played a down of varsity football and there is a good portion that have not played the game competitively at all.
Aug. 26 — KENT DENVER (North Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 — at Denver North (All City Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 — BISHOP MACHEBEUF (North Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — at Arvada (Trailblazer Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 — Erie, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 — RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN (Five Star Stadium)*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — at University*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — THE PINNACLE (Five Star Stadium)*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — at Eaton*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 — at The Academy (North Stadium)*, 1 p.m.
NOTE: Home games in upper case.
*Asterisk denotes 2A Patriot West League opponents.