For the first time since the fall of 2007, the East Angels Football team is 3-0. The Angels opened the season with an impressive 55-19 victory over league rivals Westminster followed by a 36-0 shutout victory over Smoky Hill, setting the Angles up for a showdown with bitter rivals Denver South.
In last year's game against South, the Angels were taken off guard by multiple factors away from the field. Merely 10 minutes before the team was set to depart for the stadium, Coach Ruempolhamer was informed that two starters, as well as another key player had been suspended. The team was then forced to confront a cyber bullying incident occurring the day prior disrupting the team mere minutes before taking the field.
In this year's meeting with the Ravens, the Angels dominated every aspect of the game, resulting in a 31-13 victory to keep their perfect start to the season. On the defensive front, East pulled off an impressive 8 turnovers, including four interceptions and four recovered fumbles holding the Ravens to under 200 yards. Coach Ruempolhamer praised the players' recognition that “Glamour doesn’t take care of business” and the collective buy in “to go down into the trenches and do the work”.
Coach Ruempolhamer attributes the bright start to the immense strides the team made over the summer. On a daily basis, the team is reminded to “Do the work, do what it takes, and eliminate shortcuts.” With a collective understanding that talent is not enough, the team had the opportunity to attend a camp at Colorado State University, where many of the younger players from last season's team were given the opportunity to mature on the field.
Led by Senior Landen Holloway, the defense made significant improvements in defending the run game. Four games into last season the Angels had given up 13 rushing touchdowns, while this season they have only conceded 3. The ability to stop the run has allowed the team the chance to compete on both sides of the ball, getting the defensive unit off the field, and the ball into the hands of rising star Declan Macdonald. Though he is only a sophomore, the young quarterback has already embraced his role as leader and a trustworthy passer.
Declan attributes his leadership abilities to those around him, and in particular “the help from my coaches and the help from the quarterback last year”. The important figures around Declan have taught him “what it means to be a leader, and how you have to keep your head up in all the situations that are pretty tough”.
Despite the struggles in recent weeks, Declan is confident in the team's ability to regain their early season form. “Little things stopped us from playing to the level we should have. We know that it all comes down to discipline and working harder week after week.” Following the game at Pine Creek, the Angels have their bye week where they will re-evaluate themselves and look to finish out the season on the front foot.
Despite the positive start to the season, the Angels still have much to prove. As the season grinds on, the Angels will focus on a long awaited return to the playoffs, having not appeared since the fall of 2018. By focusing on each individual game, the team has set their sights on winning the conference, as well as a deep run into the playoffs.
As expectations continue to rise, the Angels will turn to themselves for positive results. Knowing not every game will be easy, Coach Reumpolhamer emphasized the team’s understanding that “the way we compete, and understand that the games will be dogfights, we will be coming out victorious.”