FORT COLLINS — Over the years fans have come to expect a certain brand of football from the Fairview Knights.
An explosive display of offense that has the potential to put up big numbers and a defense that has always been stout.
So when coach Tom McCartney's bunch grinds out a victory, similar to the 24-6 result on a brisk Saturday afternoon at French Field against Rocky Mountain, it comes across as a bit of a shock.
They prefer to look at it as the growth of a well balanced team.
"We expected a slugfest and we were in one," said McCartney, whose team improved to 3-0. "Obviously you want to take care of the ball and we had a couple of turnovers, but fortunately we got a couple too.
"This is what we expected and they came out swinging."
The pendulum of momentum went Rocky Mountain's way in the early going. Fairview quarterback Aidan Atkinson was picked off by Beau Van Der Sluys, setting up the Lobos in Knights territory.
And in a foreshadowing of things to come, the Knights defense had its way with the one dimensional Rocky Mountain offense, making things difficult for Lobos quarterback Calvin Brandl to make the right decisions. Their positive field position only resulted in a lengthy Max Poduska field goal.
The Knights would grab the lead for good at the end of the first quarter on the first of three Mariano Kemp touchdown runs.
Midway through the second the Knights were pinned back on their own 1-yard line after a Rocky Mountain punt, and what followed defined the day for the Knights.
"You've got to be able to grind it out and we are taking our hats off to the defense because we put them in horrible field position twice," McCartney said. "To be able to hold them to field goals and get a touchdown in that style, to grind it out, is very exciting."
Said Kemp, whose offensive teammates relish the chance to ground and pound on lengthy drives: "That is something we embrace. We want to face those challenges, even inside the 20 or 99 yards, we are going to fight through it grind all the way down."
It wasn't the explosive Knights offense fans are accustomed to, but the balance was there. Kemp finished with 131 yards on 24 carries and Atkinson completed 19 of his 24 passes for 224 yards. His other interception led to the other Rocky field goal in the third quarter.
"We fought through the whole game and that is something that is going to separate us going forward from team," Kemp said. "We are not going to quit if we are down, we are going to fight and the same thing if we are up."
Fairview will host Prairie View next week and then Arapahoe before opening up Mt. Cameron League play in three weeks.
FAIRVIEW 24, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 6
At French FieldFairview (3-0)71007—24Rocky Mountain (1-2)3030—6
Rocky Mountain — FG Maxwell Poduska 42.
Fairview — Mariano Kemp 3 run (Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
Fairview — Kemp 1 run (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
Fairview — FG Schuettpelz-Rohl 38.
Rocky Mountain — FG Poduska 28.
Fairview — Kemp 11 run (Schuettpelz-Rohl kick).
RUSHING — Fairview: Mariano Kemp 24-131, Jake Sheerin 1-9, Jacob Fenton 2-5, Brayden Wood 1-3, Ethan Villarreal 1-0, Aidan Atkinson 3-(minus-15). Rocky Mountain: Jordan Yancey 10-47, Tyreese Adler 11-34, Clayton Baca 4-34, Cameron Morrongiello 1-0, Calvin Brandl 2-(minus-11).
PASSING — Fairview: Atkinson 19-31-2-224. Rocky Mountain: Baca 4-8-1-16, Brandl 1-4-0-6
RECEIVING — Fairview: Sheerin 7-81, Bryce DesJardins 5-86, Kemp 3-26, Fenton 2-16, Matt Greenwald 1-8, Miles Morton 1-7. Rocky Mountain: Adler 2-7, Andrew Mosebar 1-12, Yancey 1-2, Morrongiello 1-1.