The Fairview football team on Friday night put a merciless ending to its modest streak of falling in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs two seasons in a row, taking full advantage of a deer-in-the-headlights Arvada West at Recht Field.

In the first meeting between the Knights and Wildcats in five seasons, and in Arvada West's first playoff appearance since 2010, the more experienced Fairview squad picked apart the opposing defense with a quickness and precision in the passing game rarely seen in the state in a 55-21 win.

But it was more than that for Fairview (10-1), the No. 5 seed in this year's postseason and who had suffered first-round setbacks at Regis in 2016 and at home against Chaparral in 2015.

Defensively up front, the Knights stifled the Arvada West rush attack and pushed the idea of clock control out the window for their foes from the Mount Wilson League. Wildcats junior tailback Tony Cass entered Friday's contest with 1,468 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, but every time he touched the ball he was swallowed up by a host of red-clad FHS jerseys. He would finish with seven carries for one yard and Arvada West completely abandoned the run in the second half.

"(Cass) was our main focus this week, and we studied him and watched how he ran all week," said defensive end Jeff Erickson, who among many highlights blocked a punt in the second quarter. "You have to tip your hat to a guy with that many yards, but today we were able to get our heads above him.


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"We were just flying around on defense and having a good time."

With the defense forcing A-West to the air, Wildcats quarterback Johnny Krutsch couldn't match the early effectiveness of Fairview's Aidan Atkinson, who completed 16 of his first 20 pass attempts over the course of the first half to guide the Knights to a 38-7 lead at the break.

Atkinson and his mates knew the AWHS defense had been effective all season at getting to the quarterback, but the combination of his quick release and the blocking up front negated a lot of possible pressures.

Fairview High School’s Ashton Nichols track down Arvada West’s receiver Cory Carignan during their game at Recht Field in Boulder. Go to
Fairview High School's Ashton Nichols track down Arvada West's receiver Cory Carignan during their game at Recht Field in Boulder. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

That was especially evident in the first 24 minutes of play as Fairview scored on six of seven possessions. Fairview drove 80 yards on the game's opening possession in just eight plays, capping the drive with a Bryce Desjardins 10-yard touchdown catch to make it 7-0. Arvada West went three-plays-and-out, and Fairview only needed to go 40 yards on five plays to make it 14-0. Another possession for AWHS with no first downs gave Fairview the football back at midfield and it took just four plays before Mariano Kemp's second rushing touchdown of the evening made it 21-0.

After Arvada West (7-4) finally put together a drive with three big pass plays of 14, 22 and 37 yards, Atkinson and the Knights sandwiched Erickson's punt block with two scoring drives, one capped with a Jacob Fenton run and the other by the first of two Matt Greenwald touchdown catches.

"Defense came through and on offense we were just doing our thing, but the offensive line really came through picking up their weird blitzes," Atkinson said after finishing with 339 yards and three touchdowns. "They mix it up and do a great job confusing you, but we picked it up. We practiced against blitz this whole week and keyed on getting the ball out quick and I think we did a great job of that."

"All week we've been talking about how as (juniors) this is the only playoff win we've seen so far, so to win in the Sweet 16 is special," Erickson said.

The Knights will face No. 4 Pomona on the road next week after the Panthers defeated Poudre on Friday night.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

Fairview 55, Arvada West 21

At Recht Field

Arvada West (7-4)0777—21Fairview (10-1)2117170—55

First quarter

Fairview — Bryce Desjardins 10 pass from Aidan Atkinson (Tevye SchuettPelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Mariano Kemp 8 run (SchuettPalz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Kemp 2 run (SchuettPelz-Rohl kick).

Second quarter

Arvada West — Anthony Gallardo 1 run (Michael Vandenberg kick). Fairview — Jacob Fenton 12 run (SchuettPelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Matt Greenwald 12 pass from Atkinson (SchuettPelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — SchuettPelz-Rohl 23 field goal.

Third quarter

Arvada West — Isaiah Ocana 34 pass from Johnny Krutsch (Vandenberg kick). Fairview — Greenwald 61 pass from Atkinson (SchuettPelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — Kemp 4 run (SchuettPelz-Rohl kick). Fairview — SchuettPelz-Rohl 23 field goal.

Fourth quarter

Arvada West — Chris McEahern 23 pass from Krutsch (Vandenberg kick).

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Arvada West: Tony Cass 7-1, Anthony Gallardo 1-1, Johnny Krutsch 1-(minus-6), Cory Carignan 1-(minus-1), Isaiah Ocana 1-(minus-10). Fairview: Mariano Kemp 22-123, Jacob Fenton 5-19, Aidan Atkinson 3-6, Tyler Banks 3-15.

PASSING — Arvada West: Krutsch 18-33-1-297. Fairview: Atkinson 19-24-0-339

RECEIVING — Arvada West: Carignan 9-126, Chris McEahern 5-112, Ocana 2-40, Nick Nuhfer 1-21, Cass 1-(minus-2). Fairview: Bryce Desjardins 9-130, Matt Greenwald 4-137, Brayden Wood 2-25, Tevye SchuettPelz-Rohl 2-30, Miles Morton 2-28.