HIGHLANDS RANCH — When dreaming up schemes to stop Fairview’s high-powered offensive attack, ThunderRidge developed a simple enough plan: Keep the ball away from Sam Martin.
The state’s leading wideout, who owns the Colorado single-season record for receiving yards, came into the semifinal contest with 92 receptions and 1,604 yards on the year. He’d also connected with quarterback Anders Hill for 15 touchdowns and caused defensive coordinators fits throughout the course of the Knights’ undefeated run.
And while the Grizzlies succeeded in their game plan by blanketing Martin throughout the afternoon, holding him to five catches for 89 yards, they didn’t account for what the speedy Cameron Frazier would do when left isolated against a lesser defensive back.
Hill took advantage of Frazier’s quickness early and often, finding the senior 10 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns in Fairview’s 38-28 win. The duo hooked up seven times for 132 yards in the first half alone, creating a nightmare for ThunderRidge that led to audible pleas from the Grizzlies’ coaches box for anyone to slow the wideout down.
“Whenever they double, or even triple-coverage (Martin), I know that all the other wide receivers are going to have a lot of grass, and our coaches do a great job of putting us in situations to succeed,” Frazier said. “Anders does the rest, and I just have to catch it and run.”
While the Knights did find a ton of success in throwing Frazier’s way, that doesn’t mean they found the task of moving against the Grizzlies easy. The Fairview offensive line struggled mightily to protect Hill in the first 24 minutes of play, leading to five sacks and several more knockdowns.
FHS also found little productivity in the ground game, with the Knights’ backs rushing for just 16 yards in the opening half. This meant Hill was in dire need of Frazier shaking his man, and fast.
“(Frazier) was great, especially on the quick routes so I can get the ball out and not take the hit,” Hill said. “But he’s just an amazing player and has a knack finding the open grass. It’s great to have him on the team.”
Frazier’s big day, which also included a rushing score to put the Knights ahead a touchdown in the first quarter, increases his season totals to 67 receptions and 929 yards receiving. And though his performance in the semis will no doubt draw the attention of the Valor Christian coaching staff heading into next week’s championship game, it’s likely that the Knights’ opponents will still key on his teammate.
So don’t be surprised if Hill again defers to Frazier often against the Eagles, putting a 1,000 yard-season well within the receiver’s sure-handed grasp. Facing a squad that averages better than 46 points per game, the Knights will need every weapon they have if they hope to cap their magical run with a ring.
“We’ll watch (Valor’s) film,” Frazier said. “They’re obviously a really great team and we respect them. But we’ll have a hard week of practice and see what happens.
“This is what every single senior dreams about and I couldn’t ask for it any other way. This group of guys are really awesome and special, and they don’t come around very often.”
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