LONGMONT — In the 2014 season opener, Jarod Fixmer debuted as a freshman offensive lineman for the Longmont football team on the road at Pueblo East.
The Pueblo East Eagles routinely overwhelmed the young Trojans lineman on their way to winning that game 41-25, and went on to win the Class 3A state championship. As rare as it is for any freshman getting thrown into the fire to start for a program as storied as Longmont's, experiencing his first game action against a team that would go on to win three state championships felt to Fixmer like he had doused himself in gasoline before jumping into the flames.
But nothing could keep him from the field that night, and Fixmer finished the game. Still to this day, nothing has been able to prevent Fixmer from taking the field with the Trojans brethren. On Saturday at Mead High School, Fixmer will start his 50th career game and extend a most appropriate streak for the Trojans' ironman senior left tackle.
"I knew coming in this season that if we went deep enough, I'd hit 50 starts," Fixmer said. "It really shows how good my teammates and my coaches are around me because if our whole team isn't great, then I don't ever get to 50. It really speaks to the legacy of Longmont football.
"I remember my first snap against Pueblo East. I was playing right guard and I was terrified. Like a couple days before the game, coach came up to me and told me get ready because I was starting the game. I got tossed around and really had a reality check but I feel like I've become more of a dominant force on the offensive line."
At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Fixmer, who also plays defensive line and linebacker, has long been praised by the Trojans coaching staff for his determination, toughness and team-first leadership style. In order to approach his impressive streak of starts, he has played on days when knee pain made it difficult just to walk. Against Windsor his sophomore season, he broke two fingers on his dominant hand and still didn't miss a game.
"I definitely take a sense of pride in not missing games, or even practices," Fixmer said. "I feel like it sets a good example for everyone else and helps motivate the other players around me. I've always been that way. I never even missed a game in middle school.
"I tried to keep quiet about it but after our last game, coach told everybody how close I was to 50. I like to think that I'm a leader on the team and it has been cool to the younger guys coming up to me saying, 'Wow, I can't believe that you've played through this stuff and you've played 50 games.'"
Fixmer was named to the 3A Northern All-Conference team and BoCoPreps.com All-Region First Team last fall. Though he's an undeniable individual talent, Fixmer is quick to note that he'd never approach 50 starts if the Trojans weren't good enough to reach the postseason and play an average of at least 12 ½ games a season. He also had the benefit of learning from talented Trojans linemen like Tanner Wilkey, who was a senior mentor to Fixmer and now plays at the University of San Diego.
But even with all the talented linemen who have come through the program, as far back as 18-year Trojans head coach Doug Johnson can remember, Fixmer is the first lineman to start 50 games at Longmont High.
"I would have to say that he'd be the first to start 50 there," Johnson said. "It's a unique situation. We came back from Pueblo East that night his freshman year having been beaten pretty bad, and he was not the problem. He's been a super leader and a calming influence for us. He's really smart, our coaches all love him and he's just a great human being."