FORT MORGAN — They wouldn't admit it on Friday night, but the Mead football team smelled blood in the water after seeing Class 3A No. 1 ranked Holy Family fall in a Thursday night game against Longmont.
Being ranked No. 2 in the state by CHSAANow.com, the Mavericks obviously had a chance to take over that top slot with a win at Fort Morgan, and a revenge scenario against the Mustangs also provided the perfect fuel for an all-out blitz at American Legion Field.
Mead controlled the game from the outset in a 51-14 win, and things were going so right that even when they were trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, big plays were still happening and points were added to the scoreboard.
The Mavericks surpassed 400 rushing yards with three players in particular — Tyler Keys, Nathan Mackey and Derek Edwards — each around 100 yards, and Mead also won the turnover battle to feast on Fort Morgan's homecoming night.
"We knew we had to come in and play well because (Fort Morgan) beat us by a touchdown last year and they're a fierce, fighting, hard-nosed team that were going to try and knock us in the mouth," said Mackey, who found the end zone late after working hard to lead the team with 15 carries for 118 yards. "They tried, but our offensive and defensive lines got after it tonight.
"Our coaches tell us we have to know the difference between confidence and arrogance, and I think we have a good amount of confidence and we keep to that as we look to next week. I don't even know who we play next week because we were so focused on this one."
"Our line was tremendous and our backs are all team guys who love to share the credit," said head coach Jason Klatt, his team 5-0 and part of a Tri-Valley League that went 27-3 in the preseason. "Things are just getting going for us, though, and we're going to just be ready for Roosevelt next week. Work ahead and stay humble."
Fort Morgan was missing a couple key players, but then again, so too were the Mavericks on defense. Evan Hansen and Jordan Steele weren't suited up and that meant some younger players had to step in against a tough-minded Mustangs (2-3).
Much to the pleasure of Klatt, Edwards helped usher along some of the substitutes with his leadership. The Mustangs were able to find some success through the air as quarterback Isaac Linker threw for 183 yards, but the Mustangs were reduced to one big offensive play on the ground and totaled just 107 rushing yards.
"I was really proud of our defense because we had young guys get in the mix and step up to make a difference," Klatt said. "Edward played both ways every snap and not only rushed the ball like crazy but was making tackles all night."
The Mavericks took the game's opening drive for a touchdown, getting a 41-yard run from Keys with 8 minutes, 40 seconds to go in the opening stanza. Fort Morgan turned the ball over on its first play and although Mead could not directly capitalize on that short field, the Mavericks were in an aggressive frame of mind for the rest of the contest.
Edwards (12 carries, 95 yards) scored on runs of 6 and 29 yards in the first half and Keys added a 41-yard scamper that might have been the most impressive effort of the night to make it 21-7 with 5:50 left before halftime.
It was 28-7 at the break and remained that way until the fourth quarter, when Nick Jacobs caught a touchdown pass from Keys that caught Fort Morgan off guard on defense.
Trying to burn clock with the score 42-7, reserve tailback Ryan Bullock managed a 52-yard touchdown run and the Mavericks added two points on a safety that was the result of a bad snap.
Keys finished with 105 yards on the ground for Mead, which will begin TVL play against tough-nosed Roosevelt.
"We knew the score of Holy Family because you do have to keep tabs a little bit, but we know any team can win on any given week," Mackey said. "We know we can compete with everybody, though, so that's how we take it."
Mead 51, Fort Morgan 14
At American Legion FieldMead (5-0)1414023—51
Fort Morgan (2-3)0707—14
Mead — Tyler Keys 31 run (Taylor Kamigaki kick). Mead — Derek Edwards 6 run (Kamigaki kick).
Fort Morgan — Andrew Monroe 7 pass from Isaac Linker (Adam Cardona kick). Mead — Keys 41 run (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Edwards 29 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Nick Jacobs 41 pass from Keys (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Nathan Mackey 2 run (Kamigaki kick). Fort Morgan — Jaboc Ortega 2 run (Cardona kick). Mead — Ryan Bullock 52 run (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Safety (badpunt snap out of end zone.