BOULDER — Another big win by Fairview couldn't outweigh the loss it endured on Friday night.
Star quarterback Aidan Atkinson padded his record-breaking season with another 204 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with what was believed to be a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand late in the first half of the Knights' 57-7 win over Rocky Mountain at Christian Recht Field.
"He's probably out for the year," said Fairview coach Tom McCartney, who confirmed the early diagnosis. "I think he's having surgery, so he's out for the year."
It's unclear when the junior was injured. Atkinson led a scoring drive that was capped off with a 2-yard rush by Jacob Fenton to make it 30-0 with 3:19 left in the half, and then did not return. Liam O'Brien took over at quarterback and finished with 196 yards and two scores.
"I thought Liam did a great job," McCartney said. "And I thought the supporting cast, everybody stepped up and finished strong."
Atkinson set the state's single-season mark for most touchdown passes last week against Poudre and currently has 55. Unofficially, he is 227 yards behind former Bear Creek quarterback Justin Holland for most yards in a single season. Holland threw for 4,181 in 1998.
Atkinson is reported to have offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Boise State, South Carolina, Nevada and Akron, according to 247Sports.
"It's definitely tough," McCartney said. "We're still going to celebrate. There's not enough victories in life, so we're still going celebrate the victory. We're going to celebrate the guys, but we're definitely going to be thinking about Aidan."
Fairview (9-1, 5-0 5A Front Range League) came into the night ranked 11th in the Class 5A RPI standings and finished the regular season with a league title and an automatic playoff bid. The Knights' resume includes nine blowout wins and a four-point loss to ThunderRidge in Week 3 — a game Fairview looked destined to win before fumbling on the goal line in the waning moments.
In their latest rout, Fenton had four total touchdowns — two in the air, one on the ground, and an interception return. Matt Greenwald and Henry Blackburn each added a TD reception from Atkinson before his departure.
The team rallied around O'Brien in the second half. The sophomore quarterback opened the third with a short pass to Fenton, who went 80 yards for the score.
"We have a lot of confidence in him," Blackburn said. "We know he can step up big time for us. He's been showing us really good, promising stuff in practice."
Atkinson & Co. began their first drive on the 28 after a long punt return by Blackburn. Five plays later, Atkinson connected with him for the 5-yard touchdown the speedy junior's 16th TD of the year. Blackburn stretched out to haul in Atkinson's ball on the far side of the end zone, and then tip-toed to stay inbounds.
The Knights extended their lead to 17-0 with 3:07 left in the opening quarter. Blackburn kicked a 27-yard field goal and Fenton returned an interception 35 yards for the score.
Then in the second, Atkinson connected on a seam pass to Greenwald for an 80-yard score. In stride, Greenwald grabbed Atkinson's pass around the 40 and outran the entire secondary for the next 60 for his 12th TD of the year.
Without its star QB, Fairview will find out where it fits in the 5A postseason within the next few days. The Knights are confident they can move forward.
"We're 100 percent confident in our guys," Fenton said. "All our dudes rep in practice, and I'm confident with whoever we have back there."
Brent W. New: , firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Fairview 57, Rocky Mountain 7
At Christian Recht FieldRocky Mountain (2-8)0007—7Fairview (9-1)1713216—57
Fairview — Henry Blackburn 5 pass from Aidan Atkinson (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Blackburn 27 field goal. Fairview — Jacob Fenton 35 interception return (Blackburn kick).
Fairview — Matt Greenwald 80 pass from Atkinson (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Fenton 2 run.
Fairview — Fenton 80 pass from Liam O'Brien (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Fenton 12 pass from O'Brien (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Liam Huber 34 interception (Blackburn kick).
Rocky Mountain — Jordan Yancey 33 run (Jacob Willig kick). Fairview — Alex Kang 6 run (No kick).
RUSHING — Rocky Mountain: Kidd 15-38, J. Yancey 2-44, Pooler 1-(minus-2). Fairview: Holly 5-48, Fenton 3-3, Kang 4-27, O'Brien 2-6, Atkinson 1-12.
PASSING — Rocky Mountain: Pooler 10-24-0-116. Fairview: Atkinson 13-21-2-204, O'Brien 9-12-2-196.
RECEIVING — Rocky Mountain: Krohn 2-15, Lefke 2-14, Steffens 2-12, Otto 1-37, Stephenson 1-11, N. Yancey 1-10, Kidd 1-0. Fairview: Greenwald 8-201, DesJardins 4-34, Nichols 3-37, Blackburn 3-20, Fenton 2-92, Williams 1-9.