LITTLETON — Fairview has reached midseason at 5-0, just waxed another foe and looked very good doing it.
So how good are these Knights, where do they stand in Class 5A and what lies ahead for them?
"You know what, for us it's just all about getting better," coach Tom McCartney said on Friday night after Fairview punished Arapahoe 48-7 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium in a big-school nonleaguer.
The Knights, in winning for the 31st time in their past 33 regular-season games, were never seriously challenged, got contributions from all areas, forced a running clock with the 40-or-more point mercy rule with 2:17 to go in the third quarter and welcomed back quarterback Jake Willemsen, who missed last week's outing at Prairie View. He was having a shoulder problem and the rest was worth it.
All Willemsen did on Friday was throw for six touchdowns and 267 yards. Never mind he was 15-of-35. It was about the plays.
"We got off to a fast start," McCartney said. "He might not have had the best completion percentage in that type of setting, but he hit the big ones. Those were big plays."
Three of them went to David McWilliams, who repeatedly got behind the Arapahoe secondary as if he was a back judge. Four plays into the game, and after a 56-yard burst by Mariano Kemp - who's emerging as a regular, tough and deceptively fast rusher - McWilliams hauled in a 13-yarder for a TD. He capped the second scoring drive on a 40-yarder on fourth-and-10. And midway through the second quarter, he snagged a 47-yarder for a score again on, of all things, another fourth-and-10.
To suggest the Knights were confident was an understatement.
"It played into our gameplan," said McWilliams, who had four receptions for 107 yards. "(The Warriors) really brought a lot of guys on the blitz, we picked it up and got it out quick, and we beat the safeties over top. And then we did the rest."
Plus, Willemsen, according to McWilliams, "brings another aspect to the team."
The Knights rode Cliffy Smith at quarterback last week, who had no problem moving over from linebacker. He also leads the team in tackles. Funny thing, Fairview's defense is doing it, too - it has surrendered only 23 points over the past four games.
Forcing three-and-outs, getting interceptions by Ashton Nichols, Bryce DeJardins and Smith ... it has been complete for Fairview.
Now, McCartney knows, a different batch of fun begins. Fairview next embarks on its assignment in the so-called waterfall outlay. The Knights, who will be in something called the Mt. Cameron League, will open against perennial power Columbine at Recht Field on Thursday. Matchups against ThunderRidge, Mullen, Northglenn and Mountain Range will follow.
Arguably, it's the most-demanding of the new leagues.
"We're very excited," McWilliams said. We have some tough teams coming up. We call it The Gauntlet. It's going to be tough with Columbine, Mullen and those teams."
Of course, McCartney has heard all of the various opinions on the new leagues for months and, like everyone else associated with 5A, isn't necessarily sure what to expect. He acknowledges that passing on previous traditional rivalries and league matchups will take some getting used to, and it's not really popular across big schools, but his team has five new opponents to take on and they will begin with the Rebels, five-time state champions since 1999.
" I know our guys are excited," he said. "It should be great and there are some tough and intriguing matchups."
Fairview 48, Arapahoe 7
At Littleton Public Schools StadiumFairview 14 21 13 0 — 48
Arapahoe 0 7 0 0 — 7
Fairview — David McWilliams 13 pass from Jake Willemsen (Tevye Scuettpelz-Rohl kick), 10:25. Fairview — McWilliams 40 pass from Willemsen (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick), 6:48.
Fairview — Tommy Wakefield 26 pass from Willemsen (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick), 11:54.Fairview — McWilliams 47 pass from Willemsen (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick), 7:22.Fairview — Connor Twist 21 pass from Willemsen (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick), 3:35.Arapahoe — Jake Groth 9 pass from Connor Desch (Nate Rapue kick), 0:05.
Fairview — Mariano Kemp 4 run (pass failed), 6:16.Fairview — Wakefield 20 pass from Willemsen (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
RUSHING — Fairview: Kemp 11-113; Nicholas D'Esposito 1-5; Willemsen 4-4; Quinn Sharp 1-1; Miles Morton 1-1.
PASSING — Fairview: Willemsen 14-37-0-227, Smith 2-2-0-7.
RECEIVING — Fairview: Sharp 4-74; McWilliams 4-107; Wakefield 3-47; Twist 3-32; Kemp 1-14; Schuettpelz-Rohl 1-13; Conner Monette 1-7.