MEAD -- With the game out of reach and the curtain shutting on its season, the Mead football team went down fighting to the very end of a 34-12 loss to Middle Park.
Trailing Middle Park 34-0 with two minutes left in their final game in 2011, the Mavericks decided to go for broke.
Starting in their own territory after a Panthers field goal, the Mavericks let the ball fly and quickly drove down the field to the Panthers' 1-yard line. Senior tailback and linebacker Greg Rademacher blasted the ball across the goal line to put the Mavericks (2-8, 1-4 in the 2A Flatirons League) on the board.
"We have the will and the determination and the heart even though our win-to-loss ratio doesn't really show it," Rademacher said. "You could tell in this game, fighting to the last down. I think the seniors knew pretty well that this was our last game and we kept fighting to the last play."
A two-point conversion pass fell incomplete, but that didn't slow the Mavericks, who are in their first season with seniors on the roster. Without any hesitation, the Mavericks went for the on-side kick and recovered it. Then they went looking for more points.
After starting the game 2-for-12 with three interceptions, sophomore quarterback Griffin Nelson came alive in the waning moments. He completed five of his last nine passes for 125 yards and a touchdown to the end the game.
Two of Nelson's late throws (for 22 and 31 yards) went to senior TJ Stanchfield, who hadn't caught a pass all game.
"It was great. I've been saving them up, I guess," Stanchfield said. "We had a couple minutes left and we just went out there and let it happen, end it with a bang."
But with the clock running out on the last play of the game, it was senior Christian Carillo who came down with the final pass. His 25-yard touchdown catch from Nelson was his ideal way to end his senior campaign with the Mavericks.
"It felt good to catch the last touchdown pass at the very last second," Carillo said. "It's every kid's dream to catch that last-second touchdown. Win or lose, it still feels good."
Brad Cochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle Park 34, Mead 12
At Mead H.S.
Middle Park (7-3, 3-2) 7 24 0 3 -- 34
Mead (2-8, 1-4) 0 0 0 12 -- 12
Middle Park -- Sam Little 11 run (Johnny Stensvad kick).
Middle Park -- Adam Weaver 1 run (Stensvad kick).
Middle Park -- Little 1 run (Stensvad kick).
Middle Park -- Connor Jennings 36 interception return (Stensvad kick).
Middle Park -- Stensvad 31 field goal.
Middle Park -- Stensvad 29 field goal.
Mead -- Greg Rademacher 1 run (2-pt pass incomplete).
Mead -- Christian Carillo 25 pass from Griffin Nelson (no kick).
First downs 10 6
Rushes-yards 55-397 22-67
Passing yards 7 122
Comp-Att-Int 1-4-0 7-21-3
Punts-Avg. 1-19 4-36.75
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-70 6-34
RUSHING -- Middle Park: Brian Macchione 10-114, Adam Weaver 14-135, Sam Little 13-77, Ben Eaton 7-8, Henry Southway 11-63; Mead: Greg Rademacher 11-29, Christian Carillo 9-36, Jake Muncy 1- (-4), Griffin Nelson 1-6.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Middle Park: Johnny Sensvad 1-4-0-7; Mead: Griffin Nelson 7-21-3-122.
RECEIVING -- Middle: Adam Weaver 1-7; Mead: Kyle Couch 2-(-3), Jake Muncy 1-24, TJ Stanchfield 2-53, Christian Carrillo 2-45.