Being the defending champs, there is always going to be a target on your back.
For the defending 1A state champions, the Centauri Falcons, that target was square on their backs, as they stumbled into a 1-2 record to start the season.
But, that's the thing about well coached teams. They always seem to bounce back.
Head coach Kyle Forster's Falcons squad did just that, winning the remaining six games on their schedule, capped off by a triumphant 28-24 win over previously undefeated Monte Vista last week, to wrap a league title, and give Forster his 100th career win.
Now Forster must guide his squad into the 1A state football playoffs as a relative underdog compared to what they saw last year as the No. 2 seed. They come in as the No. 7 seed. But that target will still be there, and Forster, this week's Denver Broncos High School Coach of the Week, will have his team ready to go.
Kyle Forster bio
Overall record at Centauri: 100-37
Overall record as head coach: 100-37
Previous coaching positions: Centauri assistant football coach, Centauri C-Team basketball coach, Sanford assistant football coach
Quotes from Kyle Forster
Why do you coach?
Forster: Coaching to me is one of the greatest callings that someone can have. I have been around coaching my entire life and I have seen how kids are affected by their coaches. I want to be that coach that teaches not only football but also how to be great people after their playing days.
Why do you coach the way that you coach?
Forster: I have seen and had a lot of great coaches in my life. I have tried to take something from each one of them. One thing that we say at the end of every practice is that we try to get better every day in every way. We do this by pushing our kids in drills, challenging them to be better, making them accountable, and learning to love the game of football.
What do you think it's like to be coached by you?
Forster: I think if I was coached by me, it would be hard, challenging but fun and pushed to my limits. I was coached a certain way and that is how I coach my players. I loved being pushed to be the best when I was playing sports and that is how I push my players. They need to have that mentality so when it comes to stepping on the field, they will have that confidence.
What has been your favorite memory from being the HC at Centauri?
Forster: Last year's championship game was one of my favorite memories. The game was such a great game with both teams playing well and competing at the very highest level. The block punt with under 3 minutes left, the field goal to put us up 24-21, and then finally the final play with the pass being broken up with no time left on the clock. The joy in the kids' faces as we ran across the field to celebrate the 1st ever championship in Centauri history.
What does the sport of football and this team mean to the La Jara community?
Forster: This team means a lot to not only the La Jara community but also the other small communities that make up the North Conejos district. I am always overwhelmed by the amount of support that we get. The stands are always full with people cheering on the Falcons. Seeing the youth football teams running out with our players before the game and watching them play at halftime. Hearing stories from our players about looking up at the high school players when they were younger and how they want to pass that on to the younger generation.
What did it mean to you to reach the 100-win milestone, especially in such an important game against an undefeated Monte Vista squad?
Forster: It was such a great game and winning another league championship is truly a great achievement and it being the 100th win of my career just made it a little bit better. After the game, when I really started to think about the 100 wins I was taken back to the first year of coaching until last Friday night and I was thinking about all the players that have played for me. How hard they worked and the success of so many. I am grateful for all of the assistant coaches that I have had. They are a big part of all these wins. I wouldn't be the coach that I am without them. Also, the administration that took a chance on a young man that only had 3 years of coaching experience when I took over. To reach this it is just another great achievement that this program has done because of all the people involved.
Describe what it took to come into the season as the defending champs, then start 1-2, and then subsequently finish 6-0?
Forster: It was something that was very different. We knew we weren't going to be the same team as we were last year, but we still had a lot of players returning. We had to get players into the right positions and teach them their new roles. There have been so many players that have stepped up and filled some big shoes and it's been exciting to see that. We have a big target on our back and every team gives us their best. But we are up for those challenges because that makes us better a better team and defines who we are and what we can handle.
Story Written By: Dan Whitaker/CHSAANow.com
Photo Credit: Gabe Christus – Denver Broncos