BOULDER — Self-inflicted wounds haunted the Fairview Knights for most of their Class 5A playoff game against Castle View on Friday night.
And while the 41-21 final score in favor of the now 10-0 Knights might forgive a lot, they’ll have a little bit to focus on for next week within themselves.
Fairview scored 21 points in the fourth quarter at Recht Field to put the game away against the Sabercats (4-6), and Johnny Feauto threw for 395 yards in the win. Tim Ryan had three total touchdowns, and James Cortese had an early interception return for a score that highlighted the night.
There were more than just a couple miscues, though.
“We did not play the cleanest game, but we have a group of seniors who love to lead, and they did tonight,” said junior Carlo Kemp, part of a defensive unit that kept Castle View from taking full advantage of 11 penalties and three Fairview turnovers. “At halftime, we had a talk and just knew we had to play our style of football, fast-paced and clean.
“As you move on, better teams are going to capitalize off those mistakes. Turnovers turn to points and penalties turn into punts. We really have to focus on getting cleaner this week.”
The Fairview defense on this evening was the best unit on the field for the Knights. The Sabercats had 274 total yards buoyed by a late 51-yard score with the game out of reach, and Fairview also had two interceptions and three sacks.
However, with all the flags thrown against them throughout the game and a couple of interceptions from Feauto along with a fumble in the first half, Fairview led just 17-13 at one point early in the second half.
The good news was none of those turnovers led directly to Castle View points, and FHS did not commit a miscue with the football in the second half. That played a big role in them moving on to face Overland, who beat Denver East 45-21.
“It’s really happened to us all year, where we get ourselves in something and whatever the adversity is, we huddle up and find ways to stop hurting ourselves,” said coach Tom McCartney. “I thought the defense did really well.
“The defense scored points for us, got us in good field position and just played big. To get Luke Miller back was good for us, and I thought he made some plays. We tried to challenge them up front.”
After Erik Taylor’s 4-yard run with 6 minutes, 43 seconds to go in the third quarter did get Castle View within four points. Fairview, however, responded with its patented offensive attack, as they rallied for 296 yards of offense in the second half.
Raul Magno made a 37-yard field goal — his second of the night — to extend the host’s lead to 20-13 in the third. After another Castle View punt, Fairview put together a 10-play drive that spilled over into the fourth quarter. Kemp bounced out for a 20-yard gain on a fourth-and-inches play from close to midfield, and consecutive runs of 14 and 19 yards from Jason Harvey made it 27-13 with 11:28 left.
That drive ate up a good chunk of the clock, something the Knights were able to do the rest of the game.
“Carlo looked like he was stopped (short), and somehow bounced it out for 20-something yards,” McCartney said. “Harvey, he just put it in another gear.”
The Sabercats drove past midfield on their next possession but came up short on a long fourth down play, and Fairview added to the lead with two short Ryan TD runs to seal the contest.
“We did a nice job of overcoming some things tonight,” Kemp said.
It was a good finish to what was a pretty slow start. The Knights went into the locker room leading 17-7, mostly because the FHS defense was on-point. Taylor’s 82-yard touchdown run with 7:27 left in the second quarter was the only blemish, and Cortese’s interception and touchdown came early in the first quarter to make it 14-0. TJ Kebede and Kemp combined for a pair of sacks on Sabercats quarterback Chris Linnin.
Feauto also threw some strikes when Fairview needed it, and his receivers made some fantastic catches, too. David McWilliams had 104 yards on four catches, Ryan had 97 yards, Connor May 78 yards and Steve D’Epagnier tallied 75.
Castle View had just three first downs in the first 24 minutes. The Sabercats responded with their best drive to start the third quarter, but they did not have much to offer after that.
“We always study the film and find ways to get better and clean things up, make better decisions,” McCartney said. “I’m just proud that we keep finding a way to fight through adversity.”
FAIRVIEW 41, CASTLE VIEW 21
At Recht Field
Castle View (4-6) 0 7 6 8 — 21
Fairview (10-0) 14 3 3 21 — 41
Fairview — Tim Ryan 41 pass from Johnny Feauto (kick failed). Fairview — James Cortese 42 interception return (Connor May pass from Feauto).
Fairview — Raul Magno 39 field goal. Castle View — Erik Taylor 82 run (Parker Strahler kick).
Castle View — Taylor 4 run (kick failed). Fairview — Magno 37 field goal.
Fairview — Jason Harvey 19 run (Magno kick). Fairview — Ryan 1 run (Magno kick). Fairview — Ryan 3 run (Magno kick); Castle View — Strahler 51 run (Strahler run).
RUSHING — Castle View: Erik Taylor 17-124, Parker Strahler 1-51, Collin McKee 4-3, Charles Sims 1-(minus-2), Chris Linnin 4-(minus-5). Fairview: Jason Harvey 17-85, Carlo Kemp 3-31, Tim Ryan 3-8, Johnny Feauto 8-(minus-2).
PASSING — Castle View: Linnin 12-24-2-84, Trent Rohman 1-2-0-19. Fairview: Johnny Feauto 26-37-2-395, Thomas Creese 0-2-0-0, Connor May 0-1-0-0
RECEIVING — Castle View: Charles Sims 5-46, Strahler 4-31, Phil Dalke 2-12, Ryan Hardin 1-5, Blake Wesshecker 1-9. Fairview: David McWilliams 4-104, Ryan 7-97, May 7-78, Steve D’Epagnier 4-75, Harvey 4-41.