LONGMONT -- The Mead football team has accomplished plenty in its rise in recent years, including being undefeated going into the home stretch of this regular season and ranked No. 1 in the state's 3A classification for the first time.
But one hurdle Mead hadn't been able to overcome was 3A Tri-Valley League opponent Holy Family.
Until Friday night, that is.
After being 0-4 against the Tigers in the Jason Klatt coaching era, the host Mavericks routed Holy Family 45-0.
"It's special," senior MHS quarterback Tyler Keys said. "Coach Klatt has been playing those guys for six years now and this is the first time beating them."
Added Klatt: "It means a lot. (Holy Family) is well-coached and they're a good team. We have a ton of respect for them and what they do."
The victory gives Mead its first 8-0 start to a season in the modern era. It's now 3-0 in Tri-Valley action.
Two Mavericks, working in shifts, wreaked havoc offensively in the first half on Friday. Keys couldn't be stopped on the ground, racking up 136 yards on his first nine carries, mainly right up the middle. In Mead's first two touchdown drives -- of 85 and 59 yards -- Keys accounted for all but 13 of those yards either through rushing or passing. He scored MHS' first two TDs.
In just over three quarters of work, Keys finished with 274 yards rushing on 22 carries with touchdown runs of 31, 2, 91 and 25 yards. He also completed two passes for 20 yards and a TD.
"I don't know if I've seen a quarterback have a better game than Tyler had tonight for us," Klatt said. "It's a credit to him and the work he's put in. He was a little banged up this week, limping around, but he's a tough kid. He wants to compete, he wants to battle. It was one heck of a performance by him tonight. He just kind of carried our offense."
Then when Holy Family temporarily got a handle on Keys, sophomore running back Jake Wachter came up huge. In his five first half rushes, he accumulated 159 yards, including a 78-yard scoring run in the second quarter. He ended up with 175 yards on nine carries.
"I think mostly we were just looking to give Tyler a break," Wachter said. "He was running his butt off. He had a good night. When they called my name, I was ready to step up."
Klatt joked that Mead has been keeping Wachter under wraps a bit -- at least until Friday.
"We've been kind of keeping him in the garage," Klatt said. "We've joked about having a Porsche in the garage. Maybe the word is out now. But he's a very talented young kid."
All told, Mead racked up 636 yards on the ground, with Nathan Mackey (124 yards on 13 carries) joining Keys and Wachter in the 100-yard club for the game.
"The beauty of the thing is no one cares who get the credit," Klatt said. "We had kids like Derek Edwards and Nathan Mackey that were blocking like crazy for (Wachter). When that dynamic happens on your team, it's beautiful."
After Keys scored his fourth rushing TD early in the fourth quarter to put Mead up 45-0, it was a running clock the rest of the way.
All told, Mead chalked up 18 offensive plays of a dozen yards or more on Friday. The Mavericks have scored at least 33 points in all eight of their games.
Meanwhile, Holy Family, which started the season 4-0, lost its fourth consecutive game since starting QB Stone Samaras was injured early in the game against Longmont late last month. The Tigers have dropped four games in a season for the first time since 2008. They came into the week No. 16 in the RPI in 3A, which will send 16 teams to the state playoffs.
On Friday, the Tigers didn't get their initial first down until the second period.
Defensively for Mead, Bryson Tillema intercepted his third pass of the season, and Ryan Lavanchy and Greyson Young also picked off thros. In addition, Young and Cody Simkins recovered fumbles and Tanner Leise came up with a sack. The closest Holy Family -- which hasn't been shut out in many, many a moon -- came to scoring was when a 32-yard field was blocked in the third period.
Next up, Mead will play at Erie on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m., while Holy Family hosts Berthoud at the same time.
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Mead 45, Holy Family 0
At MeadHoly Family (4-4, 0-3)0000—0
Mead (8-0, 3-0)1410147—45
Mead — Tyler Keys 31 run (Taylor Kamigaki kick). Mead — Keys 2 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Wachter 78 run (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Kamigaki 30 FG.
Mead — Derek Edwards 5 pass from Keys (Kamigaki kick). Mead — Keys 91 run (Kamigaki kick).
Mead — Keys 25 run (Luis Miramontes kick).
RUSHING — Holy Family: Helbig 14-66, Peters 4-19, Johnson 3-14, Strange 4-14. Mead: Keys 22-274, Wachter 9-175, Mackey 13-124, Bullock 1-57, Edwards 2-8, Escobido 4-1, Ward 3-(-3).
PASSING — Holy Family: Helbig 13-29-3-114. Mead: Keys 2-4-0-20.
RECEIVING — Holy Family: Gonzalez 5-40, Martinek 3-17, Doroff 2-18, Peters 2-14, Baker 1-25. Mead: Edwards 2-20.