FREDERICK — Smiles finally drowned out a season’s worth of frustration for the Frederick Warriors football team on Friday night. For Niwot, the pain continued.
In a battle of two winless squads, Frederick weathered an early Niwot score to cruise to a 41-10 victory behind a balanced rushing attack.
Five-foot-8, 175-pound senior spark plug Ben Vue rushed for 107 yards and a pair of scores to lead the way for Frederick (1-8, 1-5 3A Northern League), which has fallen on hard times this season after four straight trips to the Class 3A state playoffs.
“It’s been a really frustrating season but we came out with a win today, and we’re all happy about that,” Vue said. “We played with our hearts today.”
The Warriors reeled off 28 unanswered points, taking a 28-7 early in the third quarter and never looking back in their seniors’ final home game.
Frederick rushed for 272 yards on the night, with 10 different players carrying the ball. Niwot, meanwhile, could muster just 40 yards on the ground and struggled to find consistency in the passing game, particularly with starting quarterback Zach Kinnison exiting with a concussion early in the second quarter.
Anthony Taylor scored the first two touchdowns of the night for Frederick, and Jordan DeFalco added 48 yards and a score to help complement Vue.
“The offensive line did a great job, and everybody was just running hard,” said Frederick coach Thad Lear, whose squad finishes the season at Mead next week.
The Cougars (0-9, 0-6) opened the game looking like they would shake the offensive doldrums that had plagued them all season, driving 80 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead on an 11-yard pass from Kinnison to Justin Lee.
But Frederick’s defense stiffened from there, allowing Niwot just two more first downs the rest of the half and forcing four turnovers in the game.
After a three-and-out on its first drive, meanwhile, Frederick’s offense came to life with first-half touchdown drives of 58, 55 and 71 yards.
Niwot tacked on a 40-yard field goal by Noah Coxon in the third quarter, and Lance Hartsoch capped off Frederick’s scoring with a touchdown late.
The offensive onslaught was a nice change of pace for Frederick, which had been shut out three weeks in a row, including close losses to Erie and Berthoud.
“For the record we have, our kids have never stopped working for us, and I’m really happy for that,” Lear said.
Both teams suffered costly injuries in the first half. Frederick leading receiver Eric Worley got hurt playing defense on the last play of the first quarter. Three plays later, Kinnison was hit hard making a throw and never returned. Lee shifted from receiver to quarterback to fill Kinnison’s spot the rest of the night and completed six of 17 passes for 110 yards.
Receiver Aidan Tollefsen had the biggest night for Niwot, catching four passes for 117 yards.
The 10 points marked a season-high for Niwot.
“I think we were a better football team,” third-year Niwot coach Josh Brewer said. “Obviously with our turnovers and losing our (quarterback) we lost some of our momentum, and they ended up playing harder toward the end.”
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Frederick 41, Niwot 10
At Frederick HS
Niwot (0-9) 7 0 3 0 — 10
Frederick (1-8) 7 14 14 6 — 41
Niwot — Justin Lee 11 pass from Zach Kinnison (Noah Coxon kick); Frederick — Anthony Taylor 13 run (Dalton Nelson kick).
Frederick — Taylor 5 run (Nelson kick); Frederick — Ben Vue 1 run (Nelson kick).
Frederick — Vue 19 run (Nelson kick); Niwot — Coxon 40 field goal; Frederick — Jordan DeFalco 10 run (Nelson kick).
Frederick — Lance Hartsoch 4 run (kick failed).
RUSHING — Niwot: Montgomery 15-37, Kinnison 2-(-14), Lee 5-(-5), Holmes 2-22; Frederick: Vue 23-107, DeFalco 6-48, Kelley 5-31, Taylor 5-20, Mancha 4-19, Olson 1-29, Folsom 4-12, Robb 2-2, Hartsoch 2-6, Rives 1-(-2).
PASSING — Niwot: Lee 6-17-1-110, Kinnison 5-10-0-68. Frederick: Mancha 4-7-0-71.
RECEIVING — Niwot: Tollefson 4-117, Olsner 3-44, Lee 2-15, Mitelhaus 2-2; Frederick: Worley 1-26, Kelley 1-20, Taylor 1-19, Olson 1-6.