It can be like getting teeth pulled — without the anesthetic.

And it's not easy. You know it's happening. You're watching it. But there isn't a whole bunch you can do to try and stop it.

Yes, facing the Columbine Rebels is challenging, particularly when the five-time state champion group from 1999-2011 is flirting — again — with being at the top of their game.

Fairview, which knows all about it, got another dose on a cold, wet and rugged Thursday night at Recht Field. The Knights got dropped from the undefeated ranks as they opened the new Cameron League. But it was more of the same as Columbine won 36-15.

And, of course, the Rebels did what they do - on offense, they ground it out, 3 yards here, 4 yards there, and ate clock as if it was snack; on defense, there isn't a head they don't enjoy banging.

Case in point — Columbine held pass-happy Fairview to zero receptions in the first half as they took a 10-0 lead, played keep-away with the ball and mounted the Knights' frustrations.

"It's tough," Knights receiver David McWilliams said. "I mean, I'm sitting over there and thinking about what I can do, but all I can do is cheer the offense on."

Columbine's first scoring drive covered 89 yards, all on the ground, as usual, and Fairview ran just four plays from scrimmage over the first 12 minutes to set the tone.


"Yeah, it is, absolutely," Knights coach Tom McCartney said of feeling helpless and frustrated on the sideline as Columbine (5-1 ovrall, 1-0 in league) dictated tempo. "(Also) being the offensive coordinator, you want some cracks on offense, but I was impressed with their (defense), which made it extremely hard on us. They played real well, jammed us, pressured us and you have to credit their defense."

How much so? Fairview quarterback Jake Willemsen, who returned from injury last week to toss six touchdown passes, missed on his first 10 attempts against the Rebels, threw two interceptions, had only seven completions, was held to 114 yards, all in the second half, and frequently had to run for his life against the Columbine pass rush. It was tough all around - he missed open receivers, receivers dropped passes and the Columbine front got up close and personal with him for all of it.

"We've just got some good kids," Rebels coach Andy Lowry said.

Mariano Kemp added 80 yards rushing, but Fairview simply didn't have enough against the Columbine fronts as well as versatile quarterback Mikey Griebel, who ran the offense and added an interception.

Fairview’s Jake Willemsen, left, tries to break away from Columbine’s Jackson Block on Thursday.
Fairview's Jake Willemsen, left, tries to break away from Columbine's Jackson Block on Thursday. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

"You do what you can, but it sucks, for sure," McWilliams said.

Now 5-1, 0-1, McCartney realizes his guys have to move past this one and get back at it in easily the best league of the new alignment.

"There's definitely a gauntlet (ahead of his team)," he said. "We've got to take the positives from this, improve and get better, and we have ThunderRidge (on Friday)."

Columbine 36, Fairview 15

At Recht Field

Columbine 7 3 19 7 — 36 
Fairview 0 0 8 7 — 15

First quarter

Columbine — Mikey Griebel 8 run (Logan Dearment kick), 1:11.

Second quarter

Columbine — FG Dearment 31, 7:09.

Third quarter

Columbine — Tim Mullin 1 run (Easton Hartman kick), 10:01.Fairview — David McWilliams 4 pass from Jake Willemsen (Nick D'Esposito pass from Quinn Sharp), 8:03.Columbine — Griebel 2 run (kick blocked), 4:37Fairview— Griebel 8 run (pass failed), 1:31.

Fourth quarter

Columbine— Russell Cruz 8 run (Hartman kick), 4:39.Fairview — McWilliams 13 pass from Willemsen (Tevye Scuettpelz-Rohl kick), 3:21


RUSHING — Fairview: Kemp 8-80; Willemsen 11-33.

PASSING — Fairview: Fairview: Willemsen 7-of-22, 114 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; Max Ward 1-1 2 yards.

RECEIVING — Fairview: Fairview: McWilliams 5-68; Tommy Wakefield 1-37; Kemp 1-5, Bryce DeJardins 1-2