AURORA - It was over quickly.
There could be no discussion about it, no argument. It was a blowout, pure and simple, and perhaps one of the fastest you've seen when considering this was to be a matchup of two of the best 16 teams in the classification.
On the coldest night of the season, Regis Jesuit jumped all over Fairview in the first round of the new 16-team outlay in the Class 5A playoffs and very nearly put the 40-point mercy rule on the Knights. At a sparsely attended Lou Kellogg Stadium, the Raiders scored 28 points in a little more than 10 minutes, seemed to do whatever they wanted on defense and turned the Knights desperate before some had even settled into their seats.
The Raiders rolled to a 48-28 victory.
Regis Jesuit has now won nine games in succession since being shut out by Mullen, another traditional Denver-area parochial power, in Week 2. The Raiders, 10-1, will meet undefeated and nearby Eaglecrest in next weekend's quarterfinals. As for the Knights, they ended 8-3 and went out in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. And both were by unexpected blowout. In 2015, Fairview was waxed 37-8 to Chaparral, in the round of 32.
"It wasn't our night," Knights coach Tom McCartney said.
No, it wasn't. Starting quarterback Jake Willemsen, who McCartney said was trying to play through an injury, was picked off four times by the Raiders and was lifted halfway through the second quarter.
It spelled doom for the Knights as McCartney pointed out afterward that Regis Jesuit was plus-20 in turnovers entering the game.
"So we knew we had to take care of the ball," he said. "When you throw it as much as we do, it doesn't always put ourselves into the best position."
It unraveled from the opening snap for Fairview. Willemsen threw three straight incompletions, the Knights punted and Regis Jesuit turned it into a touchdown. And it was a recurring theme -the Raiders led 28-0 after a quarter, Willemsen threw three straight interceptions and the rout was on. Regis Jesuit also could have made it 42-0 before half as it again got deep into the Knights' territory, but Fairview responded with a score and tried to hang around.
Cliffy Smith, who came on for Willemsen, said it was "just a few things, some miscommunications early, but that's football."
Getting down by so much so early, he added, was trying, "but we had lots of celebrating for our seniors. It was their last game and we wanted to celebrate each other."
McCartney said "give all of the credit to Regis. (It) did a great job and played really well. That's a good team."
At one point, Regis Jesuit had actually run 40 more plays than the Knights and finished with a sparkling 432 yards of offense, including two long runs for touchdowns right up the middle. The Raiders' fronts also had big games and Fairview couldn't respond against what has proven to be one of 5A's top defenses.
Ultimately, Smith ran for a touchdown and passed for two others, but Regis Jesuit's secondary and pass rush made it a long night for the Knights' skill people. Junior running back Mariano Kemp added a late touchdown, but was held to 11 yards on 10 carrues against the Regis Jesuit front.
Regis Jesuit 48, Fairview 28
At Lou Kellogg StadiumFairview 0 8 6 14 — 28
Regis Jesuit 28 6 14 0 — 48
Regis Jesuit — Cade Mendenhall 9 pass from Justin Lamb (Jarred Worrick kick), 10:55. Regis Jesuit — Kiahn Martinez 67 run (Worrick kick), 8:45. Regis Jesuit — Aubrey Marschel-Parker 12 pass from Lamb (Worrick kick), 4:22. Regis Jesuit — D.J. Jackson 4 run (Worrick kick), 1:39.
Regis Jesuit — Alfred Jones 25 run (kick failed), 11:29. Fairview — Cliffy Smith 1 run (Max Ward pass from Smith), 0:17.
Regis Jesuit — Jones 82 run (Worrick kick), 10:31. Fairview — Mariano Kemp 1 run (pass failed), 4:15. Regis Jesuit — Jackson 27 run (Worrick kick), 1:34.
Fairview — David McWilliams 20 pass from Smith (pass failed), 4:20.Fairview — Nicholas D'Esposito 15 pass from Smith (Smith run), 1:35.
RUSHING — Fairview: Smith 4-28; D'Esposito 2-4. Regis Jesuit: Twist 1-1; Willemsen 5-minus-19.Kemp 10-11.
PASSING — Fairview: Willemsen 9-of-25 103 yards, 0 TDs, 4 interceptions; Smith 22-of-42 271 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
RECEIVING — Fairview: Quinn Sharp 9-137; Davis McWilliams 7-7-62; Timmy Wakefield 4-54; Kemp 4-35; Connor Twist 3-18; Matt Greenwald 219; Adam Atkinson 1-31; DEspositio 1-15.