FREDERICK — For 16 years under head coach Thad Lear, the Frederick High School football has long been known as a hard-nosed defensive group and for a long time that reputation has been built on size and toughness on the defensive front line.
The Warriors’ classic look could be getting a makeover in 2014.
Without their usual complement of size and strength, Frederick defenders like 6-foot-2, 170-pound defensive back Eric Worley will have to pick up the slack with speed and a little bit of creative aggression.
“I feel like teams are going to look down on us because we lost a lot of guys,” Worley said. “They shouldn’t. We lost some size and some great players but this year we’re more of a speed team. Just because we’re not as big as we have been doesn’t mean we’re not as tough.”
After the 2013 season, the Warriors graduated BoCoPreps.com All-Region defensive linemen Joe Lopez and Austin King. Together, the pair totaled over 500 pounds of defensive stopping power. Quarterback Michael Broz and tailback Xavier Lindburg also graduated.
Despite the addition of senior transfer Austin Torrey, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman from New Mexico, last year’s exodus has left the Warriors undersized at the point of attack.
“It’s just a game-by-game thing trying to make it to playoffs,” Worley said. “I’ve been looking at our schedule and it seems pretty tough, to be totally honest. But that’s fine. We didn’t expect it to be easy.”
The Warriors, who have reached the postseason in each of the past four seasons, went 6-4 last season and lost 47-13 to Roosevelt in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. With Niwot joining the 3A Northern League from 4A, Roosevelt joining after reaching the 3A quarterfinals in 2013, and league favorite Holy Family returning, it won’t be easy for Frederick to repeat last season’s 4-1 conference record.
In the mind of senior center Trystin Montano (5-10, 220), the Warriors’ key to getting back to the state playoffs will likely be making a concerted effort to back each other up and play as a team.
“We’re looking really good as a unit,” Montano said. “We could have a great team but we’re going to have to stay together and pick each other up. I would say our biggest goal is to make it to the playoffs and try to get to that state championship game. We know we could lose a couple here and there but we’re a tough group and we’ll be ready to come back the next week, work hard and bounce back.”
Even before they begin their Northern League gauntlet, Frederick will open the season on the road against a playoff team in Conifer on Aug. 30. They will face another playoff team in Lutheran on Sept. 5.
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