FREDERICK — Top-ranked Lutheran’s high-powered passing attack proved too much to handle Friday night for a Frederick football team whose own offense is struggling to get rolling.
The Lions, No. 1 in Class 3A, jumped out to a 24-0 lead early and cruised to a 52-7 victory in front of a sizeable crowd for Frederick’s home opener.
Lutheran quarterback James Willis threw for 302 yards, including 247 in the first half, plus three touchdowns. The 1-2 receiving punch of Joshua Clausen and Alex Nemmers did most of the damage, beating the Warriors secondary deep on multiple occasions. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Clausen caught eight passes for 145 yards and two scores, while the 6-2 Nemmers added 112 yards and a TD on four catches in addition to a rushing score and an interception returned for a touchdown.
“We had defenders back right there, and those kids made plays,” Frederick coach Thad Lear said of Lutheran’s big receivers.
The loss continued a rough start to the season for Frederick, which opened with a 31-0 loss at Conifer last week. Unfortunately for the Warriors (0-2), things don’t get much easier, with a road trip to Pueblo Central next week followed by matchups with No. 3 Holy Family and No. 9 Roosevelt sandwiched around a game against Northridge.
“At this point, we just talk about let’s get better,” said Lear, who’s guided the Warriors to the playoffs the last four years in a row. “The score doesn’t indicate it but I thought our kids put up a lot more of a fight than they did last week. They never quit.”
Lutheran’s offense barely gave Frederick a chance in the first quarter. Frederick ran just four offensive plays to Lutheran’s 28 as the Lions capitalized on scoring drives of 11 and 15 plays. It looked like the Warriors might get out of the frame trailing just 10-0 nonetheless.
But a fumbled exchange between the quarterback and tailback on the first play of Frederick’s second drive set up a two-play scoring drive by Lutheran. Willis’s 1-yard strike to Clausen on the last play of the quarter made it 17-0.
Frederick finally mounted an eight-play, 67-yard drive for its first score of the season midway through the second quarter. Gio Lopez rumbled up the middle for 12 yards to close the gap to 24-7.
But Lutheran answered with another two-play drive, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Willis to Nemmers to make it 31-7 at the half. Another long, clock-eating scoring drive to start the third quarter made it 38-7.
Lutheran’s 490-yard night on offense came despite star tailback Jamil Bond not playing in the second half due to a “twinge” in his foot that coach Blair Hubbard said wasn’t serious.
“With the score like that we didn’t want to take a chance of making it worse,” Hubbard said.
Frederick, meanwhile, was held below 200 yards offensively for the second week in a row. The Warriors could muster just 139, 109 of which came on the ground. Anthony Taylor led the way with 40 yards on seven carries, while Lopez had 24 yards and the score.
“We’ve just got to keep working,” Lear said. “We’ve got to build on the positives.”
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Lutheran 52, Frederick 7
At Frederick HS
Lutheran (2-0) 17 14 7 14 — 52
Frederick (0-2) 0 7 0 0 — 7
Lutheran — Stas Kjergaard 22 field goal. Lutheran — Jamil Bond 10 run (Kjergaard kick). Lutheran — Joshua Clausen 1 pass from James Willis (Kjergaard kick).
Lutheran — Clausen 39 pass from Willis (Kjergaard kick). Frederick — Gio Lopez 12 run (Dalton Nelson kick). Luthern — Alex Nemmers 26 pass from Willis (Kjergaard kick).
Lutheran — Nathan Holdridge 2 run (Kjergaard kick).
Lutheran — Nemmers 1 run (Kjergaard kick). Lutheran — Nemmers 75 interception return (Kjergaard kick).
RUSHING — Lutheran: Bond 13-63, Nemmers 10-49, Holdridge 10-47, Williamson 5-29. Frederick: Taylor 7-40, Lopez 3-24, Kelley 4-15, J. DeFalco 4-15, B. DeFalco 2-14, Worley 1-1, Lamb 2-0.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Lutheran: Willis 14-24-0 302. Frederick: Lamb 6-16-2 30.
RECEIVING — Lutheran: Clausen 8-145, Nemmers 4-112, Bond 2-45. Frederick: Worley 2-22, DeFalco 2-7, Taylor 2-(-1).