Fairview football coach Tom McCartney knows the Knights are going to have to work on some of the finer points of the game in the coming weeks after Friday night's city championship battle with Boulder.
But despite a first-half full of mistakes, Fairview still found a Sharp effort out at Recht Field against the gritty Panthers.
In the 53rd edition of the rivalry game, one which Fairview has sort of taken over in recent years, senior wide receiver Quinn Sharp was one FHS target who the Panthers could not seem to stop. As such, quarterback Jake Willemsen looked his way at the most critical times of the football game, and Sharp didn't disappoint with four touchdown receptions to help the Knights to a 50-9 win over Boulder, its ninth straight in the series and 11th victory in the past 12.
A 71-yard play from Willemsen to Sharp on the second snap of the game got Fairview off properly, but it wasn't until the third quarter where the Knights put the game away.
Fairview's three first-half turnovers were matched by Boulder's three in the third quarter, and FHS scored touchdowns on all three possessions to build its lead. Included in that sequence was Sharp's fourth TD, and he finished with nine catches for 185 yards.
"The first half we just came out slow and turned it over too much, but we cleaned things up in the second half," Sharp said after surpassing career game bests across the board. "We came out running a bit to set up play action, and we just got the ball to our playmakers.
"I wasn't surprised at all that Boulder stayed in it, because it's a rivalry game and you always come out fired up for it. But our defense stepped up, too."
The Knights had a 14-0 lead after one quarter, yet they were not at all in lockdown mode. An interception deep in Boulder territory in the first quarter likely cost the visitors points, and Fairview committed seven penalties for 50 yards in the first half.
That kept the score 14-0 well into the second quarter, when Boulder finally mounted a drive with freshman quarterback Drew Maier at the helm. An 18-yard swing pass to Patrick Fletcher — the longest play for Boulder to that point — got Boulder into the red zone but the Panthers had to settle for a Sam Lowery field goal with 1 minute, 10 seconds to go before half to make it 14-3.
A minute was too long to give Fairview before the break — even 40 seconds was as it played out. The Knights went 66 yards in 34 ticks of the game clock, using a 12-yard Sharp catch, a pass interference call, a 19-yard Willemsen run and then a 20-yard TD pass to a wide open Sharp to make it 21-3.
Boulder got the ball to start the third quarter, but the Panthers only ran 11 plays in three possessions with each ending badly — setting up Fairview in BHS territory three straight times.
Mariano Kemp had two TD runs in the quarter in his first game this year, and Fairview was off to the races. Willemsen finished with 316 passing yards.
"We saw what everyone out there saw (in the first half) and they responded to the challenge we presented them at halftime," said McCartney, whose team hosts Rocky Mountain next Friday. "We wanted to be crisper, we wanted to play good solid football and that just didn't happen to start. The defense was able to create turnovers and the offense put it in the end zone, though, so much cleaner second half."
At times, Boulder was staunch in its discipline against Fairview and the Panthers seemed to have found a steady running back in freshman Shane Provost. A bruiser in style, he had 15 carries for 44 yards and scored Boulder's only touchdown.
Sophomore Cade Travis came in for an injured Maier and completed 7-of-9 passes for 89 yards, and it may take both young quarterbacks the rest of the way for Boulder to get its offense going.
"It was just like last week against Denver South, where you have a momentum type drive and something happens and it goes downhill from there," Provost said. "We had a freshman starting for the first time in years. Cade is going to be a big help for us, but hopefully Drew can come back, too."
Fairview 50, Boulder 9
At Recht FieldFairview (2-0) 14 7 21 8 — 50
Boulder (0-2) 0 3 0 6 — 9
Fairview — Quinn Sharp 71 pass from Jake Willemsen (Tevye S.-Rohls kick). Fairview — Sharp 26 pass from Willemsen (S.-Rohls kick).
Boulder — Sam Lowery 34 field goal. Fairview — Sharp 20 pass from Willemsen (S.-Rohls kick).
Fairview — Mariano Kemp 8 run (S.-Rohls kick). Fairview — Sharp 10 pass from Willemsen (S.-Rohls kick). Fairview — Kemp 1 run (S.-Rohls kick).
Fairview — David McWilliams 15 pass from Willemsen (Sharp run). Boulder — Shane Provost 1 run (end of game).
RUSHING — Fairview: Jake Willemsen 7-92, Mariano Kemp 11-36, Quinn Sharp 1-3. Boulder: Shane Provost 15-44, Drew Maier 9-10, Max McLoughlin 6-16, Patrick Fletcher 3-27, Cade Travis 3-(minus-8).
PASSING — Fairview: Willemsen 21-33-2-316. Boulder: Drew Maier 3-15-2-21, Cade Travis 7-9-0-89.
RECEIVING — Fairview: Quinn Sharp 9-185, David McWilliams 4-66, Connor Twist 1-1, Mariano Kemp 1-13, Tommy Wakefield 6-41. Boulder: McLoughlin 3-59, Ryan Travis 2-6, Fletcher 1-18, Provost 2-11.