WINDSOR — A few blades of synthetic grass.
That’s all that separated the Frederick Warriors from scoring and taking control of a scoreless defensive battle in the third quarter on Saturday in the Class 3A state football semifinals.
Instead, two straight penalties, a missed field goal and blink of the eye later, and Windsor was well on its way to a 19-0 triumph at Dudley Field and a berth in next weekend’s championship game.
The outcome brought the best season in Frederick football history — not to mention the underdog story of the 2011 playoffs — to an end.
Playing in the semifinals for the first time ever, the 16th-seeded Warriors finished the year with a record of 9-4 after a postseason run that included upset victories over No. 1 Canon City and No. 8 D’Evelyn.
“It’s going to burn awhile, but we will,” Lear said of his team appreciating its accomplishments this season. “The kids have no reason to hang their heads. We’ve had a great year, and I can’t say enough about how hard they worked.
No. 5 Windsor (12-1) advances to next Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. title game at Legacy Stadium where the Wizards will face a rematch with No. 3 Silver Creek (12-1), the only team to beat WHS this fall.
Early in the third quarter Saturday, it appeared as though Frederick might make it an all-St. Vrain Valley School District final.
Despite amassing just 77 yards of offense in the first half, the Warriors recovered a fumble at the Windsor 45-yard line on the first play of the third quarter and had a first-and-goal at the 8 after a 34-yard pass from Jaron Balman to KC Rivera.
Jordan King was stopped on a reverse just inches shy of the goal line on third down, setting up a big fourth down play. But the Warriors were called for a false start to wipe out a QB sneak for a score, and then a delay of game backed them up five more yards. The ensuing 22-yard field goal attempt by Kevin Retchless was low, ending FHS’ best threat of the day.
“I thought we scored twice,” Balman said of King’s run and his own sneak.
Windsor, which had penetrated deep into Frederick territory five times in the first half only to be turned back by the gutsy Warrior defense, wasted no time in capitalizing. Three plays after the missed field goal, quarterback Joe Sanger hit Aaron Schmidt for a 77-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0.
The Warriors — who finished the day with three turnovers, 101 yards in penalties and just 118 yards of offense — never got past past their own 31 again as Windsor put the game away with fourth quarter touchdowns by Schmidt and Jordan Porterfield. But the Warriors couldn’t help but wonder what if had they taken the lead when they had their shot.
“If we go in there, things maybe are different,” Lear said. “It was big. And then we gave up the one deep pass.
“We had it. We were down there, scored, but moved a little bit. It’s my fault. I went silent count and should have just gone on one and we’d have been fine.”
Despite enjoying a decided field position advantage in the first half, the Wizards had just 117 yards themselves at intermission. But the big pass play to Schmidt and an 81-yard scoring run by Porterfield were enough.
“We knew we had the capability to make some big plays and that’s what we did,” Schmidt said.
Porterfield finished with 126 yards on 14 carries to lead Windsor. Rivera led the Warriors with 56 yards rushing on eight carries and the one catch for 34 yards.
“We had a great season and fought every game all year, linebacker Jacob Vargas said. “We came out this game and fought really hard. I thought for sure we were going to come out with the win, but too many mistakes added up.”
Windsor 19, Frederick 0
At Dudley Field
Frederick (9-4) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Windsor (12-1) 0 0 7 12 — 19
Windsor — Aaron Schmidt 77 pass from Joe Sanger (Neal Elens kick).
Windsor — Jordan Porterfield 81 run (pass failed).
Windsor — Schmidt 11 run (kick failed).
First downs 3 15
Rushes-yards 32-78 61-306
Passing yards 40 83
Comp-Att-Int 2-16-2 2-6-0
Punts-Avg. 8-49 4-32
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 10-101 5-55
RUSHING — Frederick: Rivera 8-56, Balman 11-15, Miller 6-4, King 1-4, Hall 4-3, Sleeth 2-(-4); Windsor: Porterfield 14-126, Sanger 22-64, Hooley 6-46, Dressor 10-46, Schmidt 9-24.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Frederick: Balman 2-16-2-40; Windsor: Sanger 2-6-0-83.
RECEIVING — Frederick: Rivera 1-34, Hall 1-6; Windsor: Schmidt 1-77, Wiemers 1-6.