Head coach Matt Yemm has been part of the Fort Collins Lambkins' football program since 2013, but despite all those years coaching, he's never had an experience quite like Friday night.
During the Canvas Classic, an event where the Colorado State Rams' Canvas Stadium is taken over by the local-area schools to host rivalry games and other compelling matchups between top teams, coach Yemm's Lambkins entered their duel with cross-town rival Fossil Ridge SaberCats at 0-6, hungry for their first win of the season, and they delivered.
On the game's final play, Fort Collins senior kicker Joel Lopez drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired to help the Lambkins notch their first win of the season. After such an impressive team performance on a massive stage, Matt Yemm had to be the choice for this week's Denver Broncos High School Football Coach of the Week.
— Zach Segars @ CHSAANow
Photo Credit: Cris Tiller – The Coloradoan
Overall record at Fort Collins: 18-27
Overall record as a head coach: 18-27
Previous coaching positions: Fort Collins - WR Coach and JV Head Coach (2013-2019)
Why do you coach high school sports?
I coach high school sports to help teach our young men and women about applying what they do in athletics to their lives. It teaches them about the importance of being on a team and committing to something bigger than themselves. It teaches them how to deal with adversity, and that having success is something that is earned through hard work and determination.
Seeing the mental, physical, and emotional growth over 4 years is rewarding to see, but seeing how the athletes blossom into contributing members of society after high school using the skills they learned in the arena is what it's all about.
What is a value or life lesson you try to teach your student-athletes?
The golden rule of treat others the way you want to be treated.
What is your coaching philosophy?
I feel that it is crucial to build trust with the athletes from the very start by getting to know the players better on and off the field. After that, we aim to cultivate our student athletes into respectful, responsible, confident individuals who unite to accomplish goals that honor the traditions of our school, their families, and our community.
How do you carry the momentum from this win forward?
This game gave us a lot of confidence and proof that the hard work is paying off. We have been right on the verge of winning several games this year that didn't happen because of a few small things. We just need to keep believing in ourselves and continue paying attention to the little details that make a big difference.
How meaningful is it for your team and program to win that rivalry game on such a big stage?
One of the best parts of high school football is the memories that you carry with you for years after the game. This was one of those games we will always remember because of who it was against, the beautiful stadium it was played in, and the fact that we were able to do that not only in front of our FCHS community but in front of the entire Fort Collins community.
What is your goal for the remainder of this season?
Despite our record being where it is at, we are not eliminated from the playoffs and if we play up to the potential we showed last week, we feel like we can compete. Most importantly, the goal is still to instill the same life lessons every week of being respectful, responsible, and confident members of their community.