ARVADA -- It was a night for the Fort Lupton High School football team to celebrate.
Fort Lupton rallied to beat Faith Christian 34-21 on the Eagles' field Oct. 28. The win was Fort Lupton's fifth in nine starts, the first time in nine seasons that the Bluedevils posted a record that was better than .,500.,
What's more, it gave the Bluedevils a chance at the postseason. Pairings are due Sunday, Oct. 30. The last time FLHS made the playoffs was 2013.
Quarterback Wil Alvarado completed 19 of 30 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored two rushing touchdowns and finished with 75 yards on 12 carries.
Anthony Blan-mendenhall caught two of those scoring passes. He finished with seven catches for 150 yards. Joseph Gallegos caught six balls for 62 yards.
"We came out with a great game plan," Alvarado said. "We were looking forward to everything. They (Faith Christian) showed pretty much the same looks in film."
Kaidyn Taylor caught the other TD toss. He finished with two catches for 29 yards.
"The team worked as a unit. It's something we haven't been able to do in the past 10 years," Taylor said. "It has to go to the seniors and the coaches. We were put behind the 8-ball. Coaches taught us some stuff we never knew. The seniors loved us. It's the best senior class we've ever had."
"These kids bought into our program," said coach George Ramirez. "They wanted to change the culture. It's all on the kids. I'm the lucky guy. I get to do Play Station with these kids. I let them have fun. I wanted to sell them what I had back in '92. That was the culture of being a winning program. It took all of me, and I think they bought in."
Alvarado, who is a senior, and Taylor, who is a junior, played for three coaches.
"It's been hard," he said. "Our first (coach) was strictly run. That was hard. I didn't get much playing time as a freshman. He was there for two years. Our next coach was decent, but he was strictly run. This offense is fun. This offense is exciting and enjoyable."
"Every year, I've had to learn a new offense and a new defense. Every year, it's been in and out," Taylor said. "This year, we've got coaches who live in the community.. We've got something that is going to stick."
Alvarado said this year's batch of upperclassmen talked about a playoff run this season.
"It's been hard. I wasn't supposed to come out because of a torn hamstring," Alvarado said. "It all worked out. A lot surprised me. A lot of younger classmen stepped up, especially our line. Our line is really young. They really showed off this year."
There were doubts at the beginning of the season. The Weld Re-8 board of education singled out the program for potential elimination in the spring. There was a new coaching staff, too.
"No. I didn't think we'd get to 5-4," Ramirez said. "You don't know what to expect. I'm a first-year coach, and you don't know what kind of kids you've got. But I thought we could do better than three wins. That's what we shot for. These kids are really resilient. Being around these kids is a blessing."
"At the beginning of the season, none of us thought we were going to do so great," Taylor said. "Players were debating coming out to play. We bought in. We came out 5-4, and it's great to see.
"We bought into the coaches and the mentality that this is for my city," Taylor added. "This is for the whole city of Fort Lupton. It worked great."