Rooney: McCartney’s gutsy call not culled from experience

It wasn’t the wisdom of experience that prompted Fairview football coach Tom McCartney to lay all his team’s chips on the table with a conference crown on the line.

In fact, McCartney was bucking the lessons learned from personal history when the Knights decided to go for two points at the end of a wild win against Legacy last week.

To recap: Fairview got the last laugh in a back-and-forth affair at Legacy by driving 82 yards in 43 seconds, pulling within 49-48 of the Lightning on a Johnny Feauto-to-Jason Harvey touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining.

With the Front Range League title on the line, in addition to seeding considerations for the 5A state tournament, McCartney immediately raised two fingers, signalling for his team go for the two-pointer and the win. This week the veteran Fairview coach recalled two instances during his 22 season-tenure when he opted to go for two instead of taking the safe play with a conventional PAT.

One occurred back in 1996, when a botched snap on a two-point play doomed the Knights to a 14-13 loss against rival Boulder. It happened again in 2008, when a failed conversion left Fairview on the short end of a 35-34 decision against Rocky Mountain.

But it worked last week, as a Feauto pass to Steve D’Epagnier clinched a second consecutive undefeated regular season for the Knights.

“Yeah, actually we had been 0 for 2 in those scenarios,” McCartney said. “(Legacy) wound up taking a timeout and so I had a chance to go into our huddle. There was no hesitation, no discussion. Our leaders wanted to win right now.”

McCartney can now say he’s 1 for 3 on game-ending two-point conversions. No doubt the Knights hope to win with a little more cushion when they host Castle View Friday night in the first round of the state tournament.

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