DENVER — It was a fitting end to an otherwise forgettable game.
As the final seconds ticked away in Fairview’s 56-16 loss against Valor Christian in the 5A title game, the Knights used their timeouts to make sure they went down fighting.
The result was a 16-yard touchdown pass from Anders Hill to all-everything wide receiver Sam Martin on the final play of the game — a two-point conversion pass to Cameron Frazier notwithstanding.
That final touch put the finishing touches on Martin’s prolific career. He ended his senior season with 111 receptions for 1,848 yards. Both marks established new state records.
“Four years ago when I saw this team as incoming freshmen, and I saw what they could do, we wanted to be ready for them,” Fairview coach Tom McCartney said. “So we made sure we were implementing an offense that was going to take care of their talents. To see what Sam has been doing his whole career … he was a varsity starter as a sophomore, and he’s been tremendous. He loves to play and he loves to compete. It’s been fun to watch and we’re really proud of him.”
Martin will leave a lasting legacy on the state’s career marks for receivers as well. His final totals include 224 receptions (second all-time) and 35 receiving TDs (tied for sixth).
Amazingly, it turned out Martin’s final reception didn’t just add window dressing to the lopsided final score. It also increased his career total to 3,819 receiving yards, moving Martin into a tie for second all-time. Martin is just one of four players in Colorado history to eclipse 3,000 receiving yards in his career.
Martin wasn’t the only Knights player to leave an impact in the state archives.
Although it was far from his most efficient game of the season, thanks in large part to the menacing Valor Christian pass rush, Knights quarterback Anders Hill finished with 208 passing yards and a touchdown pass, padding totals to his prolific season.
Hill’s senior campaign ended with a total of 3,867 yards, and on Saturday he passed former Silver Creek quarterback Andre Apodaca (3,849) for the third-best single-season mark in state history. Hill also finished with 36 touchdown passes, climbing into a tie for 10th on the all-time single-season list.
“I love this team so much and it has been a real honor to play with everyone that’s on it,” Hill said. “Definitely all of us wish we had gotten the win, but it still was a great season.”
While Martin’s record-setting season has been well documented, the Knights’ auxiliary receivers also put up numbers that are nothing to scoff at.
Cameron Frazier needed 73 yards Saturday to surpass the 1,000-yard plateau, but was held to 36 on four receptions. He’ll settle for the still-glitzy stat line of 71 receptions for 963 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Owen Harris ended the season with 42 catches for 459 yards, numbers that would lead many teams but were a distant third for the pass-heavy Knights.
“They just had athletes all over the field,” Harris said. “I know Eric Lee Jr. did a great job on Sam and their D-ends did a great job of getting pressure. They just made it a really hard time for us trying to get the ball off quick, so that really threw us off our game.
ENDING IN END ZONE
No matter what Daniel Hoskins does the rest of his life, no one can take away that he scored a touchdown on an NFL field.
The fullback put Fairview on the board with a one-yard run in the first half, which helped carve Valor Christian’s lead to 21-8. Despite Fairview’s lopsided loss, the achievement is one that only an infinitesimal percentage of the population can claim.
“It’s definitely a great memory and I’m going to remember that for a long time,” Hoskins said.
IT’S JOURNEY THAT COUNTS
It might take a few days for the pain to subside, but ultimately, the Fairview players will remember 2013 as a banner season. The Knights won their first 12 games, earned the No. 1 seed, played in the state championship game and set many records along the way.
“It’s a great life experience and it will teach me to be a better leader,” Hoskins said. “I wouldn’t trade any of these times with my brothers for the world.”
The Knights piled up 556 points — an average of 42.8 per game — and established many benchmarks in the passing game.
“It’s definitely a season to be celebrated,” Fairview offensive and defensive lineman Connor Spencer said. “It’s definitely a special thing to make it to the state championship game undefeated.”
Added Harris: “It was one hell of a season; 110 days of the journey were amazing. The last one just didn’t go our way.”
Staff writer Paul Willis contributed to this report
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