BOULDER — For all the admirable aim shown by sophomore quarterbacks Aidan Atkinson of Fairview and Boulder's Drew Maier on Friday night, the 54th City Championship turned into a Fairview rout on the strength of an impromptu run call right before halftime at Recht Field.
These two teams were airing it out at the start with a combined six touchdown passes, but Mariano Kemp's 74-yard run to set up his own six-yard score with just 12 seconds left before the break turned everything into Fairview's favor.
The scoreboard already read 29-20 Knights, but Kemp's late gut punch to the Boulder sideline made it a 16-point lead and was the first of four straight FHS touchdowns in what ended up to be a 57-20 victory, Fairview now owns a 10-game winning streak in the series.
It may have just been one play, but it set off a sequence of Fairview domination in the second half. Boulder racked up 14 first downs in the first half and had gone toe-to-toe with FHS, but the Panthers could not keep up the pace as they garnered just three first-downs the entire second half.
"I didn't get a chance to ask coach (Tom McCartney) about that call, and I wasn't expecting a run call necessarily but once he took it where he did, it was like, OK we're scoring next play," said Atkinson, who complemented Kemp's 204 rushing yards and three total touchdowns with 313 passing yards and five passing touchdowns.
"When you have a good back, you give it to him so I wasn't exactly surprised that they did that but I was disappointed and surprised with the gain he got," Boulder head coach Vincent Smith said after his team's valiant showing following a victory last week. "They made the right call at the right time and it worked out for them.
"We didn't lose to anyone tonight that we should be ashamed we lost to. Fairview's a good team."
In Smith's debut as Boulder head coach last year the Knights won 50-9 and the host Panthers were never in the game. Fast forward a year, and it was BHS (1-1) that put their best foot forward for 24 minutes.
Well, 23 and-a-half.
The Panthers took a 7-0 lead on an 80 touchdown pass from Drew Maier to Wilson Maier on the game's second play. Fairview responded with two touchdowns — one of 66 yards from Atkinson to Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl and the other a 19-yard play to Bryce Desjardins, but an early drive in the second quarter for Boulder netted 64 yards and was capped by another Maier-to-Maier touchdown with 11:06 to go.
Fairview went up 29-13 before Boulder went on an 80-yard march in 3 minutes, 20 seconds, finding paydirt with Maier's lob to Cole Peterson with just 33 seconds left before the break.
There were very few positives for the Panthers, though, after Kemp took what appeared to be a simple toss play to the right side and almost went to the house.
With the expanded lead, Fairview got the ball to start the third quarter and went on a 13-play, 80 yard drive that ended with a wide open Jeff Erickson crossing into the end zone to make it 43-20.
Working in the footsteps of several seniors before him, Atkinson has now thrown eight touchdowns in two contests with no interceptions. Just as impressive is the fact he's working with all new receivers on the varsity level.
The Knights will try and keep things going next Saturday morning at Rocky Mountain.
"Once we get rolling, it's hard to stop us and if we can run the ball like we've been able to, we know what we can do," Atkinson said, noting his offensive line has been tremendous in keeping him upright all this time. "During the offseason me and (the wide receivers) threw together on a daily basis just trying to get connections down. But we know we can be better even."
Boulder's Maier finished with 188 yards passing, and senior Patrick Fletcher had 112 yards on 17 carries.
Boulder hosts three straight games on its schedule, starting with next Friday's contest against Arvada West (1-1).
"Mistakes make that fatigue set in a little bit better, and Fairview did a good job of doing the right things to keep out in front of us the whole time," Smith said. "We kept moving the ball around. We have some young guys trying to control the tempo out there, and we're only going to get better."
Fairview 57, Boulder 20
At Recht FieldBoulder (1-1)71300—20Fairview (2-0)1422147—57
Boulder — Wilson Maier 80 pass from Drew Maier (Sam Lowery kick). Fairview — Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl 66 pass from Aidan Atkinson (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Bryce Desjardins 19 pass from Atkinson (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
Boulder — W. Maier 11 pass from D. Maier (pass failed). Fairview — Mariano Kemp 15 pass from Atkinson (Miles Morton pass from Atkinson). Fairview — Jacob Fenton 12 run (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick). Boulder — Cole Peterson 16 pass from D. Maier (Lowery kick). Fairview — Kemp 5 run (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
Fairview — Jeff Erickson 10 pass from Atkinson (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Schuettpelz-Rohl 40 pass from Atkinson (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
Fairview — Kemp 9 run (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
RUSHING — Boulder: Patrick Fletcher 17-112, Saul Escobar 6-71, Drew Maier 5-11, Ryan Travis 3-36, Daniel Feenstra 1-1, Wilson Maier 1-(minus-1), Shane Provost 1-(minus-2). Fairview: Mariano Kemp 17-204, Jacob Fenton 5-38, Brian Moreno 4-24, Aidan Atkinson 2-9, Ethan Villarreal 3-5, Jay Elowsky 1-6.
PASSING — Boulder: Drew Maier 10-20-1-188. Fairview: Atkinson 20-29-0-313
RECEIVING — Boulder: Wilson Maier 2-91, Cole Peterson 3-36, Provost 2-16, Jack Braymiller 2-44, Travis 1-1. Fairview: Bryce Desjardins 7-69, Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl 5-137, Henry Blackburn 3-48, Kemp 1-15, Jeff Erickson 2-26, Miles Morton 2-18.