The final week of the regular season is here.
The Class 5A football schedule concludes this week and Fossil Ridge High School is looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
The SaberCats host Horizon in a battle of two teams destined for the playoffs, but still with plenty to play for.
Here is a look at Thursday’s 6 p.m. game at French Field.
Why it matters: Fossil Ridge sits firmly in the 32-team playoff picture coming in at 23rd in this week’s wild card points. A win over Horizon — seventh in wild card points — could give the SaberCats a big seeding boost.
Horizon is ranked No. 10 in the Class 5A Associated Press media poll and has already clinched the Front Range League title, so the Hawks are playing for playoff positioning.
To win, Horizon must: Run the ball. The Hawks’ offense is far from explosive and a strong Fossil Ridge defense makes it likely this will be a low-scoring game.
What Horizon does have is one excellent running back in Cade Verkler. He’s rushed for exactly 1,000 yards this season and when he does well it allows Horizon to grind out low-scoring wins.
To win, Fossil Ridge must: Score first, build a lead. Horizon’s success is built on a defense allowing less than 10 points per game.
The Hawks get a lead, pound the ball on the ground, eat up the clock and let the defense hold opponents down. Fossil Ridge needs to disrupt that gameplan by scoring first and building on that lead.
If Horizon has to deviate from its usual plan, Fossil Ridge can pull off the upset.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
Week 9 local football schedule
Thursday: Horizon at Fossil Ridge, 6 p.m. at French Field. Twitter updates: @Kevin_Lytle. Watch: Coloradoan.com
Friday: Broomfield at Fort Collins, 7 p.m. at French Field. Twitter updates: @Kevin_Lytle. Watch: Coloradoan.com
Friday: Thompson Valley at Windsor, 7 p.m. Twitter updates: @QSickafoose
Friday: Rocky Mountain at Monarch, 7 p.m. Twitter updates: @ColoradoanSpts
Friday: Poudre at Mountain Range, 7 p.m. Twitter updates: @ColoradoanSpts