LONGMONT -- The Mead football team boasted a prolific offense last year, averaging 37 points per game in a 9-4 season that ended in the 3A state semifinals.
This year, if anything, the No. 3-ranked Mavericks may have cranked it up a notch. And they have an impressive, stout defense as a nice complement.
After scoring 41 points in a season-opening road victory over then-No. 9 Lewis-Palmer last weekend, the Mavs posted a 52-13 non-league rout of Vista PEAK on Friday night in their home opener.
After Mead went up 45-0 at halftime, the game featured a running clock the rest of the way, with the Mavericks playing mostly backups in the second half. And with a 99-yard kickoff return by Dominic Esters to start the third quarter, MHS scored all 52 of its points in the first 24 1/2 minutes of action on Friday.
Not a bad way to start off the home schedule.
"It was fun. The fans were great," said senior quarterback Tyler Keys, who finished with 149 yards on just eight rushes and 54 yards passing -- all coming in the first half before making way for the reserves.
"I'm proud of where we are, but we still have a long way to go and have a lot of work to do. We all know that. We're pleased, but we've got to stay humble."
In four games against Vista PEAK in recent years, Mead has now averaged 52 points per contest. The Mavericks chalked up 61 last year against the Bison.
Mead scored the first eight times it had the ball the ball on Friday -- before the subs came in after halftime. The Mavs had touchdown drives of 75, 53, 50, 41, 87 and 25 yards -- plus a field goal and Esters' kick return mixed in. Just by intermission, the Mavericks had 356 yards of offense, including 301 on the ground.
Besides Keys' 203 yards combined rushing and passing in the first half -- which included two touchdowns each on the ground and through the air -- fellow seniors Nathan Mackey had 90 rushing yards and 15 receiving and Derek Edwards 62 and 2. And that's just in the first 24 minutes.
Through two weeks of the season, Mead has run for 829 yards.
"(Keys) was outstanding, Mead coach Jason Klatt said. "Our offensive line was even better. They were really protecting him. He has done phenomenal things. He's a phenonemal athlete. We knew that a long time ago about him. I'm really most proud of him not for his athletic ability, but what type of leader he's turned into. He's an unselfish leader, and that's why I'm proud of him."
And then there was the defense. Thanks to Mead's hard-nosed play and poor snaps by Vista PREP, the Bison had a net total of 1 yard of offense in the first half. Vista PREP had two first downs at intermission -- one of them via penalty. Ryan Lavanchy and Bryson Tillema intercepted passes for Mead and Greyson Young and Jesus Encinas chalked up sacks. For Tilemma, it was his second pick of the year.
Vista PEAK didn't score until the first minute of the fourth quarter -- against Mead's backups.
"Our defense has really come a long way," Klatt said. "We've worked really hard on the fundamentals of defensive football. I'm proud of their effort tonight. (Vista PEAK) had some really good athletes over there. For us not to allow big plays, that's what I was most proud about. And we made big plays when we had to.
"All three units were clicking pretty well, but the defense has added great value to our overall team success."
Next up for Mead is another non-league home contest, against Thompson Valley at 7 p.m. on Friday.
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Mead 52, Vista PEAK Prep
At MeadVista PEAK (0-2)00013—13Mead (2-0)172870—52
Mead — Tyler Keys 40 run (Taylor Kamigaki kick). Mead — Kamigaki 23 FG. Mead — Nathan Mackey 31 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Dominic Esters 37 pass from Keys (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Mackey 15 pass from Keys (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Derek Edwards 14 run (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Keys 25 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Esters 99 kickoff return (Kamigaki kick).
Vista PEAK — Dudley Conner 24 pass from Derrick Smashum (kick fail). Vista PEAK — Tyrese Bailey 81 run (Noah Karwacki kick).
RUSHING — Vista PEAK: Bailey 10-125, Flippin 1-0, De. Smashum 15-(-2). Mead: Keys 8-149, Mackey 13-90, Edwards 7-62, Bullock 5-18, Ward 4-3, Escobedo 1-0.
PASSING — Vista PEAK: De. Smashum 6-14-2-43. Mead: Keys 3-5-0-54.
RECEIVING — Vist PEAK: Conner 2-24, Da. Smashum 2-9, Bocalbos 1-6, DiPentino 1-4. Mead: Esters 1-37, Mackey 1-15, Edwards 1-2.