LONGMONT — Cautious optimism is the mood around the football locker room at Mead High School.
In their first two games of the 2013 season, their fourth as a varsity program, the Mavericks have beaten a pair of 2A opponents by a combined score of 94-6.
Sitting comfortably at 2-0 in early September, the Mavericks know their twin blowouts over 2A opponents won’t count for much midway through their 3A Tri-Valley schedule. But if the lopsided fashion in which they defeated those 2A teams is an accurate indicator, the Mavericks appear to be better prepared for the upcoming 3A gauntlet in their second year under head coach Jason Klatt.
“I think more so than anything, the kids are starting to understand the system better,” Klatt said. “Not only just the system, they know the expectations that we have for them for how we expect them to work, how we expect them to go to class and all the things that make a big deal in the end. We think those are the little details that need to be emphasized.”
Klatt said the Mavericks haven’t arrived yet. But the offense looks good so far.
Griffin Nelson, the Mavericks’ lefty senior quarterback, has completed 20 of 26 passes for 371 yards and nine touchdowns, and has thrown just one interception. Mavericks rushers have combined for 512 yards on the ground and have fumbled just once.
In their season opener, the Mavericks trounced 2A Valley 47-0 after building a 40-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The defense also appears stout under Klatt’s father and longtime Pomona High School head coach Gary Klatt.
In Game 2, the Mavericks’ defense held St. Mary’s to 58 rushing yards on 21 attempts and the only touchdown against them so far for a 47-6 win. They allowed just 17 passing yards.
However, nothing will come so easy against fourth-ranked Holy Family on Friday.
“We’re happy about the wins, they’re great confidence boosters,” said senior center Patrick Hall, this week’s captain. “But we all realize they’re both 2A schools that aren’t a great challenge. We’re about to face a really good 3A school so we need to work hard this week and stay focused. Our coaches do a great job of keeping us focused on the week ahead of us. We’re done with last week.”
After Holy Family, the Mavericks face Erie’s tough double-wing attack and non-conference Skyview, a 14-12 win on last year’s schedule. Next they face Berthoud, which the Mavericks beat 34-27 last season, and Northridge before taking on a local rival Skyline.
The road gets tougher still against top-ranked Silver Creek, the defending 3A champion, and ninth-ranked Roosevelt, which handed them a 58-34 loss in last year’s finale.
The Mavericks clearly widened the gap between them and Valley, which they beat just 30-21 is last season’s opener. They actually lost 21-20 to St. Mary’s in Game 2 last year. Holy Family defeated the Mavericks 42-20 in 2012.
Win or lose, that is a gap they hope to narrow in 2013.
“Don’t count us out,” senior defensive end and wideout John Brady said. “We have a lot of chemistry, hard work ethic, and good conditioning. We’re starting to click and we all play our hardest to help the team.”
The Mavericks, who went 1-4 in the Tri-Valley League last season, now are 5-7 in Klatt’s tenure as head coach.
They’re well on their way, but the Mavericks are still developing a winning culture at Mead High School. At the end of the season, Klatt said, the Mavericks’ goal is to simply reach their potential, whatever that may be.
“We don’t watch scoreboards and so that last two games we have just been playing and competing,” Klatt said. “We’re playing fast and physical. Whatever the score is at the end of the game, that’s what it’s going to be. It’s a wait-and-see situation right now.
“What we’re really concerned with is how we’re doing things every day and the process it takes to get you to that level. We’re going to play the toughest 3A schedule in the state, there’s no doubt about it. We have to keep on getting better every day.”
Follow Brad on Twitter: twitter.com/BradCochi