MEAD — For all the numbers that have gone up for Mead senior quarterback Riley Glynn in 2016, perhaps the most important number to reflect the work he's put in is the one statistic that has actually decreased.
It's a lonely number — the number one — but that's exactly how many interceptions Glynn has thrown for this entire season. In 161 pass attempts. Against seven playoff teams, to boot.
There are a laundry list of reasons why the Mead Mavericks are in Saturday's Class 3A semifinals with a chance to play two-time defending champion Pueblo East for a berth in the title tilt on Dec. 3. Right near the top has been the reliability of Glynn in just his second year as a starter.
"He's just one of those kids that works hard, makes good decisions, and he listens and is coachable and it's amazing what happens when you combine that with being unselfish," said Mead head coach Jason Klatt this week, ahead of Saturday's 1 p.m. home game against the Eagles. "He's the true general of our offense and he understands what I want for things to look like, and he carries those things out almost to a T."
Glynn was very team-oriented from the start of the season — a slate that his classmates and himself knew could be a pretty special one if they stayed healthy.
Despite ending last season with a career-best 336 yard passing game against The Classical Academy, Glynn was all ears for Klatt's message of how the Mavericks were going to attack each game this season: it wasn't going to be an aerial assault every Friday night.
Klatt preaches moving the ball by any means necessary according to what opposing defenses are offering. This year, as the Mavericks have rolled to a 9-3 mark, they've definitely gotten the job done on the ground almost every time out (the Mavericks have an eye-popping 3,772 rushing yards as a team).
However, Glynn's passing attempts per game have kind of been all over the map. After throwing 24 times against Holy Family, Glynn attempted just five passes in each of the next two games — both wins, against Erie and Berthoud.
Some prima donna types would chirp about the numbers. Not Glynn.
"I really didn't have any personal goals to accomplish, but I just wanted to help the team the best I could and put a good reflection on what Mead football is about," Glynn said. "It's really just kind of worked itself out with some of the games I've had. It's one of those things, I'm not looking for this specific thing but just what can I do so that we win games."
Glynn still has taken extra steps to hone his craft, working with private quarterbacks coach Tim Jenkins since after his sophomore season. As a junior, he threw for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns against just five interceptions.
This year, however, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Glynn has torched teams overall. He's completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 1,639 yards and 21 touchdowns. He's shown has athleticism on the ground, as well, rushing for 496 yards and another five scores.
And he's had two masterful playoff games in a row — his best stretch clearly at the right time. In wins over Palmer Ridge and Palisade, Glynn has combined to go 20-for-32 for 482 yards and six touchdowns.
"He just kind of refuses to make a poor decision," Klatt said. "He's been ready to do anything, and he's doing things without turning the ball over. As a team, what's gotten us to this point is exactly that — not making turnovers."
Glynn was quick to credit his backfield friends Nathan Mackey and Gino Musick for taking so much pressure off him, and also the receiving corps that has been dependable. That group includes 11 different players with at least a catch this year.
"They're simply unbelievable, and we've put in so many hours together," Glynn said. "All of them, we just have a good connection together this year. The running game definitely helps out my passing game."
Pueblo East — juggernaut that it has been in going 11-1 so far — has been susceptible to the pass in the playoffs. Erie's Ruben Portillo threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns in the opening round, and Holy Family's Stone Samaras had 131 passing yards with one touchdown. But the Eagles are still standing despite that.
"I don't think it's anything we haven't seen before," Glynn said of East's defense. "They are mainly man coverage, and I think coach Klatt will cook up something that's going to get things done.
"We've been the underdog in pretty much every game we've played, starting with Longmont. We're the 11 seed, and we love it. Knocking off No. 3 and No. 6 (so far) — we have a chip on our shoulders."