LONGMONT — There was no question entering Friday night's game for the Mead football team that in Longmont they were going to see the toughest defense of any opponent so far in 2017.
What do you do when you're up against it? Stick to what you know.
For the Mavericks that was the read option, and it worked rather well in the second half at Everly-Montgomery Stadium as Tyler Keys and Nathan Mackey combined for over 200 yards on the ground in a 38-14 win over the Trojans.
Having scored 151 points in three games against teams that rank in the bottom third of Class 4A when it comes to points against this season, the win over Longmont certainly has some notoriety. Not to mention, of course, that Mead now has a winning streak over their rival.
"Oh yeah, this was tough. But our defense had our back all night too, and once our (offensive line) picked it up after the second quarter we were able to use our weapons," said Keys, who had 119 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. "Our line really got after it and we were able to make something out of nothing a lot because of that."
The yards were tougher to get, in general, for Mead — which also averaged nearly 420 yards a game in going 3-0. Mackey was a focus of a lot of attention for the Longmont defense, and at the half he had just 12 yards rushing on eight carries.
But the pair really got going after the break. Mackey finished with 85 yards on 27 carries, and both players scored their touchdowns in a decisive third quarter in which MHS went from leading 21-14 to 35-14.
Jake Wachter also had a touchdown run of 31 yards, and Mead moved to 4-0.
"The defenses are always keying on Mackey or Derek (Edwards) and it makes it a lot easier for me to find spots to run," Keys said. "We have to stay humble and get right back to work."
The Mavericks couldn't have asked for a better start, scoring the game's first 21 points and jumping the gun thanks to an Evan Hansen 57-yard fumble return for a touchdown on Longmont's opening series.
Two Mavericks drives of their three during the first quarter were capped with touchdowns, and with 19 seconds still remaining in the stanza the visiting team was in control.
A nice kick return from Drake Engelking, though, got Longmont back in an aggressive mindset with the ball at its own 48. After two Engelking carries, Jaydon Elkins took a sweep play and made a nice cut for daylight to make it 21-7 just 44 seconds into the second quarter.
The Trojans (1-3) continued to dominate the second quarter. Mead ran just six plays in the stanza, and Longmont made it just a seven-point spread after a 16-play drive capped with an Oakley Dehning 6-yard TD run with just 49 seconds left.
They couldn't keep it going, however. Both teams exchanged punts to begin the third quarter, but Mead was able to go 68 yards and get the edge back in its game with some tough running from Mackey and a personal foul facemask call against LHS. His 3-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 44 seconds left in the frame made it 28-14.
Mead ran it seven times on its next drive and Keys scored from 19 yards away to make it 35-14 with :42 seconds left in the third, and Longmont's final four possessions included two fourth-down fails and two interceptions.
Engelking led Longmont with 94 yards on 21 carries.
"We've had glimpses of what we can be and we just need to make that happen all the time," Dehning said after the game. "We've carved a really hard road for ourselves, but I think we can still come together and make playoffs."
Mead 38, Longmont 14
At Everly-Montgomery StadiumMead (4-0)210143—38Longmont (1-3)01400—14
Mead — Evan Hansen 57 fumble return (Taylor Kamigaki kick). Mead — Dom Esters 26 pass from Tyler Keys (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Jake Wachter 31 run (Kamigaki kick). Longmont — Jaydon Elkins 43 run (kick blocked). Longmont — Oakley Dehning 6 run (Dehning run).
Mead — Nathan Mackey 3 run (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Keys 19 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Kamigaki 25 field goal.
RUSHING — Mead: Nathan Mackey 27-85, Tyler Keys 17-119, Derek Edwards 3-15, Jake Wachter 2-45. Longmont: Drake Engelking 21-94, Oakley Dehning 11-39, Jaydon Elkins 4-62, Cruz Garcia 1-2.
PASSING — Mead: Keys 5-8-0-57. Longmont: Dehning 13-31-2-100.
RECEIVING — Mead: Dom Esters 3-32, JJ Peppers 1-21, Edwards 1-4. Longmont: Fieth 4-21, Nick Paone 3-62, Engelking 3-8, Elkins 2-7, Garcia 1-3, Sage Yazzie 1-3,