LAFAYETTE — The Monarch football did its best to put last year's playoff loss to Rampart out of its collective mind and focus on this season's present.
But try as they might to forget it, the defeat still haunted the Coyotes for the past 11 months.
In a 2018 rematch of last year's first-round game that also pitted two of Class 4A's top-10 teams, the Coyotes weren't able to rid themselves of the nagging feeling Rampart continues to cause them. Despite a strong start and no shortage of motivation, the inexperienced yet still No. 10-ranked Coyotes fell 28-7 at Centaurus High School on Friday night to the No. 7 Rams.
"Our D-Line was a little aggressive, got up field high and got trapped a few times," Coyotes head coach Phil Bravo said. "Our offensive line, they tried to overthink the circumstance and they're rattling off line calls when really there was no need to do that. We can chalk a lot of that up to inexperience."
In last year's playoff game, which was tied 14-14 at halftime, the Rams (2-1) sent the Coyotes (1-1) home with a 24-14 defeat in the first round of the postseason. Friday's rematch was tied after one quarter but while the Rams seemed to find a rhythm, the Coyotes wore down in the face of their opponents' physical advantage up front and were shut out through the final three quarters.
Returning to Colorado competition following a 16-14 win over Dixie Hollins in Florida, the Coyotes faced a Rams rushing attack that averaged 418 yards on the ground through its first two games. Led by 129 yards from junior Chris Yoo and three rushing touchdowns from senior Colin Phillips, the Rams' ground game finished with 312 yards while pacing a run of 28 unanswered points to spoil Monarch's homecoming night.
"I think their physicality caught up to us," Bravo said. "I mean, they're a physical ball club, especially up front. We played a finesse team in Florida and we told everybody this was going to be a much more physical team and that they needed to strap it up because these guys were going to go jaw-to-jaw with us and they did."
Friday's one-sided affair also was a departure from what was becoming a hotly contested non-conference series. The Coyotes and Rams had played three times in the previous two seasons, and the games were decided by an average of 6.7 points.
Bravo said freshman Kieran Singh, who rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries, was a bright spot in the Coyotes' loss. Senior Ricky Stimac led the Coyotes with 48 yards on 15 carries and wide receiver Trey Stewart scored their only touchdown, catching a sideline pass and breaking a tackle in the first quarter for a 69-yard score.
The Coyotes will play at Greeley West next Friday at 7 p.m. They're hoping a win up north will get them back on track.
"In 2012, we lost a game to Wheat Ridge at Jeffco Stadium and we came back to win the state championship," Bravo said. "We're going to use this as a learning tool and not overdramatize everything. We're just going to get back to work."
Rampart 28, Monarch 7
At Centaurus H.S.Rampart (2-1) 7777—28Monarch (1-1) 7000—7
Monarch — Trey Stewart 69 pass from Kyle Gordon (Ty Lanphear kick). Rampart — Chris Yoo 25 run (David Peters kick).
Rampart — Colin Phillips 6 run (Peters kick).
Rampart — Phillips 21 run (Peters kick).
Rampart — Phillips 46 run (Peters kick).
RUSHING — Rampart: Chris Yoo 24-129, Colin Phillips 8-100, Cale Cormaney 8-75, Gabe Knapp 1-6, Ethan Temby 2-4, Kevin Witcher 3-0, Ethan Meyer 1-(-2); Monarch: Ricky Stimac 15-48, Kieran Singh 10-45, Will Ponder 6-31, Austin Fiala 7-25.
PASSING — Rampart: Kevin Witcher 4-5-0-42; Monarch: Kyle Gordon 4-13-1-117.
RECEIVING — Rampart: Ethan Temby 2-27, Chris Yoo 1-9, Luke Pavlica 1-6; Monarch: Trey Stewart 1-69, Will Ponder 1-8, Ricky Stimac 1-40, Kieran Singh 1-0.