It was all the way back in 2007 that the Frederick football team last started a season with a 2-0 record. In fact, the Warriors have won a total of two games in the past three seasons prior to this one. But so far in 2017, Frederick has opened the season with a pair of victories.
To snap the streak, the Warriors defeated Fort Lupton, 48-7 on Sept. 1, and Conifer, 16-0 on Sept. 8. They've done this under first-year head coach Travis Peeples. I caught up with him on Monday to check in on what was happening out in Frederick.
Question: It's been a while since the Frederick football team started 2-0, or even won that many games in a season. What do you feel like has changed?
Peeples: First of all, I'm stepping into a school where they had 16 seniors coming back who were solid, hardworking and hungry. That's always a big thing. We've also just rejuvenated a little bit of excitement around the program. Sometimes change is good for people and we've changed some things up and set some expectations and so far the kids have bought in.
The expectation is that we work hard and compete, and that the kids push themselves to become better football players, better students and better people. These kids put in the work this summer and they feel like they deserve a shot to be up there with the rest of them and to compete at the highest level.
Frederick football team has always prided itself on its defense as long as I've been around, but the Warriors offense averaged just 9.3 points per game last season. The offense is scoring nearly four times that much so far in 2017. What has led to such an improvement on that side of the ball?
I don't know what they did on offense in the past but that's kind of my forte (Peeples played quarterback for the University of Central Florida in the 1990s). We're mixing the ball up between three or four different backs and throwing the ball a little bit. Our offense is kind of a double-wing, multiple-option attack and we're getting really good at running it. Plus, we've got some guys in new positions and they're picking it up quickly.
So far, that seems like the recipe for success. I'm cut from the old school grind where we like to be as physical on offense as you are on defense and our kids are the same way. We like to let our guys mix it up and get after it.
You guys have a senior tailback in James Jones who is off to a great start and a sophomore quarterback in Jake Green who appears to be holding his own. Can you tell me what you've seen from each of those guys so far and what has led to their success on the field?
When I came in, I came in trying to look at things through a new lens and I didn't want to know what position guys played before. James Jones was an offensive and defensive lineman but I saw him as a potential all-conference type of running back. He's a natural at running back and he just keeps learning and getting better at running the ball. He's 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and he's still a 4.6 guy, plus he's one of the strongest guys on the team. He's put the work in and he's changed his body completely to play a new position so we're really happy with what he's done already.
Jake and Kyle Polansky, who is a senior, are still competing for the starting job. They both have maybe one they do better than the other guy but they're pretty close on everything else. We have faith in both of them and we'll probably keep playing them both throughout the season.
The 2-0 start is good, but neither of the teams you've beaten has won a game yet. The Warriors will have their first real test this Friday against No. 4 Silver Creek, and it'll be a big one at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont. How is your team approaching the upcoming matchup?
We've played Fort Lupton and Conifer, which I still think is a team that could be a 7-3 team. On film, Silver Creek doesn't look like a 3A team. They have a huge line, they have an experienced quarterback and they're well coached. They're the total package.
But we still feel like we deserve to be on the same stage as them and we think we are capable of beating them. Now, of course it's not going to be easy, but our kids are up to the challenge. We'll have to protect the football and that's something we haven't done a great job of in the first two games. We fumbled the ball three times last week. We'll also have to be better in our kicking game. We were 1 for 4 on kicks last week.
The defense is still hands down the strength of our team and we're going to have to be good there again on Friday night.
Now that you've had some time to adjust to your new position, can you please give me your thoughts on your short tenure so far as head coach at Frederick?
Personally, it's been wonderful. What has happened is that we played our homecoming game last week and I got to realize what the community is all about. We had three or four thousand people show up and our booster club was doing some great things, and it was just terrific to see the community support the football team and our guys.
I told them when I applied that this was a dream job and I meant it. I loved the small town and I loved the fact that the team was hungry, the school was hungry and the community was hungry, and so far they've been awesome for us every step of the way.