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Mavericks senior Greg Rademacher runs drills during practice on Tuesday at Mead High School.
Joshua Buck/Times-Call
Mavericks senior Greg Rademacher runs drills during practice on Tuesday at Mead High School.

E very prep athlete eagerly awaits his senior year and most teams lean heavily on their senior class.

The Mead football team has perhaps awaited this year’s senior class more than the average team. It’s the first time there’s ever been one.

“It feels like I’ve been a senior for the past three years,” senior tailback and linebacker Greg Rademacher said.

The Mavericks will start the 2011 season with 13 seniors on the roster, which now includes players from grades 9-12. They now not only have young players hoping to make the team and improve, but also older players to guide them.

“This year we’ve realized that we are the leaders more because there are younger kids looking up to us,” senior Christian Carrillo said. “For example, our younger linemen are really fond of Nick Sanchez, and stuff like that.”

Last year, the Mavericks’ first at the varsity level, they went 1-9 and didn’t win a conference game. No one expected them to win. Older and with a better understanding of what to expect each week, this year they’ve shaken free of the inaugural-season stigma.

“We just weren’t that mentally tough the last couple years; we were just letting ourselves get beat,” Carrillo said. “Our biggest thing was we just didn’t come out strong. If you look at the stats, our first half stats were pretty weak and the second half we lit it up.”

The Mead seniors have been charged with creating memorable moments in school history from the first successful football season to the first senior prank. Nearly every play last year was the first something in school history. But, much of that is behind them now, and they can set their minds on winning games, free of distractions.

Things like the first winning record and a playoff berth are now more prominent in the minds of the seniors. They also seem more attainable.

Senior leadership is intangible. But having a dozen or more 18-year-old kids on the field, like most teams do, adds a very real dimension of size and physical maturity the Mavericks have been forced to do without.

At tailback and linebacker, Rademacher suits up at 5-11, 180. Probably not the biggest kid out there, right? But, imagine him as a sophomore. Now, imagine 22 of that type of player crashing into an opposing senior-laden varsity team for three hours.

That was the old Mavericks varsity. But, not anymore.

“After how close some of our games were and knowing we had the potential to beat teams, knowing that they were 18 years old wasn’t a shock to us anymore,” Rademacher. “But, size was a big thing that we didn’t have last year. It’ll benefit our chances of winning some games this year,”

Having seniors on the roster has third-year Mavericks head coach Martin Clark licking his chops. Everything from their size and strength on the field to their locker room presence will make his job easier.

“We finally have 18-year-old men playing against 18-year-old men, instead of 13-, 14-year-olds playing against 18-year-olds,” Clark said. “Their physicality and physical presence will be quite a difference from past years.

“The leadership piece, as well. We finally have a group of men leading these younger guys, who can now pass that on year after year. It’s adding a lot to our program’s future.”

The older boys’ presence will be particularly noticeable at the skill positions, on both sides of the ball, where most of them are slotted on the depth chart.

Younger players will still play on the offensive line and on special teams, but they’re not being overlooked. There are roughly 22 freshmen in the program now, all of which Clark hopes to keep in the program until they’re seniors.

Mead still has a small senior class, maybe graduating 110 or so this year. But now the younger players have someone to emulate and look to when they arrive on day one of summer camp. And they’ll have an idea of what’s expected of them once they reach that age.

“They’re building a legacy here and they want that legacy to be here when they’re gone, 20 years from now,” Clark said. “It’s not just about wins and losses. It’s about being good citizens and good people in the community, as well. I’m sure appreciate that because that’s long-term, and that’s building a program right there.”

There are still many firsts to be had for Mead football. In two days, the Mavericks will play their first Friday night home game under the newly-added lights at Mavericks Stadium. And for their final home game on Nov. 4, they’ll have their first senior night.

Brad Cochi can be reached at


Coach: Martin Clark, 3rd year, 1-9 all-time

Last year: 1-9, 0-5 in 2A Flatirons League

Returning starters: Nick Baldwin (Sr., OL/DL, 5-9, 160); Christian Carrillo (Sr., RB/LB, 6-1, 185); Cody Heskett (Sr., WR/DB, 5-5. 120); Jake Muncy (Jr., 5-11, 155); Griffin Nelson (So., QB/DB, 6-2, 150); Greg Rademacher (Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 180); Nick Sanchez (Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 215); TJ Stanchfield (Sr., RB/DB, 5-9, 155); Nick Testroet (Sr., OL/DL, 6-3, 290); Nolan Testroet (Jr., OL/DL, 6-2, 215)

Others to watch: Logan Anderson (So., RB/DB, 5-6, 155); JD Burch (Sr., WR/DL, 6-5, 208); Aaron Cheung (So., WR/DB, 5-10, 135); Marco Clark (Jr., OL/DL, 5-0,160); Patrick Hall (So., OL/DL, 5-7, 175); Jake Perez (Jr., OL/DL, 6-0, 200); Jeremy Rasmussen (So., RB/LB, 6-1, 175); Braden Ruddy (So., WR/DB, 6-0, 160)

College prospects: Rademacher, Carrillo

Must-see game: Sept. 2 vs. Valley (at Mavericks Stadium)

Strengths: The Mavericks have their first-ever senior class this season and gained valuable experience playing at the varsity level last season. The team has worked harder than ever in the offseason, is coachable, and Mead is eager to prove itself as an up and coming program.

Weaknesses: The Mavericks will need underclassmen to get experienced quickly and fill gaps that senior athletes will not be available to fill. They also face a brutal schedule, which includes the likes of Faith Christian, Bishop Machebeuf, Platte Canyon, and Eaton.


Sept. 2 — VALLEY, 7 p.m.

Sept. 9 — EATON, 7 p.m.

Sept. 17 — at University, 1 p.m.Sept. 22 — at Denver West, 7 p.m.Oct. 1 — at Platte Canyon, 1 p.m.Oct. 8 — at The Academy, 2 p.m.Oct. 14 — FAITH CHRISTIAN, 7 p.m.Oct. 22 — at Bishop Machebeuf, 7 p.m.Oct. 28 — THE PINNACLE, 7 p.m.Nov. 4 — MIDDLE PARK, 7 p.m.Note: Home games in all caps; home stadium is Mavericks Stadium

Brad Cochi,