BOULDER — The goal for the Fairview defense on Friday night was to make Douglas County’s Trey Smith invisible. For the most part, the Knights were successful in doing that.
But the rest of the Huskies were pretty salty, too, and it was in the best interest of the team to eliminate all the options. When it came to the red zone, the defense was perfect in their Class 5A second round game, and two huge goal-line stands helped FHS advance to the state quarterfinals with a 45-17 victory at Recht Field.
Fairview will host North Metro League rival Pomona in the quarterfinals next week. The Knights recorded a 33-30 win at Pomona on Oct. 18.
They earned the right to another game thanks to some big plays in all facets of the game. Anders Hill burned DCHS with both his arms and feet, accumulating 344 total yards and five TDs, and the defense produced two turnovers and a blocked field goal.
But the tale of the tape was a pair of defensive stands when the Huskies were looking to take a lead.
On each side of halftime, the Fairview defense stalled DC’s potential scoring chances, and it pushed the Knights to victory and the rematch against the Panthers.
“We just knew that running back’s one hell of a player, and as a team we knew we had to come together and kill their momentum, because there’s nothing worse when you’re knocking on the goal line and get stopped,” said Carlo Kemp, who was just one of several standouts in helping get the football back to the offense. “We did it two, three times tonight and it swayed the momentum back to us.”
“We went in all week knowing this was a big game, and we saw what they did to Cherry Creek,” added Bridger Dunn, a senior lineman. “We prepared to stop the run. Credit the whole defense for this one. We stepped up to the challenge.”
Up 21-17 just before halftime, the FHS defense made its first notable stop of the contest. The Huskies (7-4) had a short field after executing a squib kick and recovering the loose ball, and a 36-yard pass play from Rope Ruel to Smith — with Smith making an athletic diving play — to put the ball at the 1. A false start got the Huskies off on the wrong foot, and three tackles for loss later Wyatt Bryan found himself attempting a 31-yard field goal.
The attempt didn’t make it above the front lines, and Fairview (10-0) took over at its own 5 with 1:18 to go. Aided by a savvy 2-minute drill and an unsportsmanlike penalty on Douglas County, FHS got in position for a long field goal, and Jonathan Swartzwelter drilled a 48-yarder to make it 24-17.
Short memories allowed for the Huskies to get right back in position for a score to open the third, but once again the Fairview defense was up to the task.
A 74-yard run from Tyler Ketron had DC in business, but on a fourth-and-goal from the 6, Dunn wrapped up Ruel. Hill drove the Knights back down the field and found Steve D’Epagnier for a 5-yard score — the senior tight end’s second of the game — and the Knights were in control from there.
Just to make sure, Kemp had a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown, then stripped Smith on another fourth-quarter play.
The theme of the week was geared toward stopping Smith, and the Colorado State-bound senior had just 86 yards rushing on 10 carries.
“We knew that we might be a little suspect in pass defense, but we wanted to make sure and take the run away,” said coach Tom McCartney. “Our whole plan was to try to take the edge away from him and stop him. I think the defense had great fire, they wanted to do everything in their power to advance to the next round, and I’m really proud of them.”
“That’s where we won this game, getting the ball back to our offense and let them do some magic,” Kemp said. “That (interception) wasn’t all me; that’s the defensive line forcing him out of the pocket and our other coverage guys were on their man.”
Hill had four TDs through the air but did a lot of damage on the ground, rushing for 121 yards on 19 carries. He led off the scoring with a 10-yard TD run and took advantage of the middle of the field all night long.
Sam Martin had 78 yards and a TD, while Cameron Frazier accounted for 85 yards of offense. Jason Harvey also added 87 yards on the ground for FHS, which totaled 260 rushing yards and 223 passing yards.
“We’d rather have (Hill) running than throwing, you know,” Douglas County coach Jeff Ketron said. “We wanted to take the pass away as best we could … we forced them to run, but they have some pretty good athletes, too.
“We left 14 points off the scoreboard inside the 5 yard line, and you can’t do that against good teams.”
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FAIRVIEW 45, DOUGLAS COUNTY 17
At Recht Field
Douglas County (7-4) 10 7 0 0 — 17
Fairview (10-0) 14 10 14 7 — 45
F — Anders Hill 10 run (Jonathan Swartzwelter kick), 7:54.
DC — Trey Smith 21 pass from Rope Ruel (Wyatt Bryan kick), 7:16.
F — Cameron Frazier 42 pass from Hill (Swartzwelter kick), 4:40.
DC — Bryan field goal.
F — Steve D’Epagnier 16 pass from Hill (Swartzwelter kick), 4:42.
DC — Bryan 31 pass from Ruel (Bryan kick), 2:27.
F — Swartzwelter 48 field goal, :00.
F — D’Epagnier 5 pass from Hill (Swartzwelter kick), 5:10.
F — Sam Martin 42 pass from Hill (Swartzwelter kick), :21.
F — Carlo Kemp 61 interception return (Swartzwelter kick), 10:45.
RUSHING — Douglas County: Tyler Ketron 5-115, Trey Smith 10-86, JP Rubino 5-13, Rope Ruel 9-(minus-26); Fairview: Anders Hill 19-121, Jason Harvey 14-87, Daniel Hoskins 5-40, Cameron Frazier 2-8, Sam Martin 1-5, Owen Harris 1-11, Johnny Feauto 3-(minus-12).
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Douglas County: Ruel 7-14-1-143; Fairview: Hill 17-28-0-223.
RECEIVING — Douglas County: Smith 2-57, Ketron 1-25, Bryan 1-31, Zach Pastorius 3-30; Fairview: Martin 6-78, Frazier 5-77, Harris 3-29, D’Epagnier 3-29, Savoy Smith 1-15.