Mead's Nathan Mackey had just put the finishing touches on the finest game of his senior season last Saturday, accounting for 284 total yards and four scores, to lead his team to a 56-19 victory over Harrison in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, but all he wanted to talk about was his teammates.
Mackey first spoke about his fellow seniors on the team, and the maturity they showed in leading the Mavericks to an undefeated season and the No. 1 seed in the postseason. Then, commenting on his big day, said it could've been anyone in the Mead backfield, from quarterback Tyler Keys to running back Derek Edwards, who put up the big numbers Mackey did against the Panthers.
"That backfield, our receivers. We have so many weapons we can spread it out and keep going," said Mackey, who has 1,534 yards rushing this year.
It's a philosophy that has served the Mavericks well this season. No player is more important than any other, and everyone contributes to the team's success.
"I've always said that amazing things can happen when nobody cares who gets the credit," Mead head coach Jason Klatt said.
Klatt should get a lot of the credit for the success the Mavericks have enjoyed over the past few seasons, as he took over a fledgling program in 2012 that had went a combined 3-17 in its first two varsity seasons. Klatt emphasized the process rather than results, and Mead steadily built itself into the power it is today.
The Mavericks made the playoffs for the first time in 2015, reached the state semifinals last year and is one of the clear favorites to win it all this season.
Klatt said this year's success has a lot to do with his senior class, which includes players like Mackey, Edwards, Keys, Evan Hansen, Trace Lindemann, Dom Esters and Ryan Lavanchy, among others.
"These seniors, they got a lot of playing time as sophomores," Klatt said. "They made the first playoff run with us three years ago, so they've been a big part of this success and what we're doing.
"More so then the success, they're really good leaders and that's what's really helped."
Mackey agreed: "It comes down to all the seniors that we have. They've been working hard for four years."
Next up for Mead is a very familiar foe in crosstown rival Longmont (8-3). The Mavericks beat the Trojans 38-14 on Sept. 22, but Klatt said that Saturday's game will have little resemblance to the one earlier in the season.
For one thing, Longmont has reeled off seven consecutive wins since then, outscoring its opponents 286-91 during that stretch.
"It's be a completely different game," Klatt said. "We know they've gotten a lot better, and we knew what they were in week four, too. It's going to be an all-out war.
"But it's what the final eight should be. It's the best teams in the state going at it."
John Rosa: 303-473-1315, email@example.com