Skip to content
  • From left: Holy Family's Michael Zeman, Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    From left: Holy Family's Michael Zeman, Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard and the Eagles' Ryan Mazzola pose at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium Wednesday. Zeman is the Offensive Player of the Year, Hubbard is Coach of the Year and Mazzola is the Defensive Player of the Year.

  • Broomfield's Blair Hubbard is the 2016 Coach of the...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Blair Hubbard is the 2016 Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to the 4A state championship game in his first year with the team.

  • Holy Family's Michael Zeman is the Offensive Player of...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Holy Family's Michael Zeman is the Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for a state-best 2,185 yards.

  • Broomfield's Ryan Mazzola is the Defensive Player of the...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Ryan Mazzola is the Defensive Player of the Year for 2016 after anchoring a defense that helped the Eagles reach the 4A state title game.



BROOMFIELD — It’s funny the way a mind tends to wander when you are stuck in traffic.

It was the predicament Blair Hubbard was in when he was on his way to his second interview with the Broomfield brass earlier this year.

Ironically enough, he was in bumper-to-bumper traffic right in front of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

So what did he do? He pulled out his phone and snapped a picture.

“I looked over at the stadium and thought how cool it would be to some day take a Broomfield team to play in that awesome venue,” he recalled.

It wasn’t soon after that, Hubbard was hired and the next item on his agenda was winning over an Eagles football team that was eager to prove that the previous year was something they wanted/needed to forget.

In his first meeting with his new team — at a local donut shop, by the way — Hubbard talked about culture and that championship mindset with an in-depth power-point presentation that concluded with … wait for it … that picture of Mile High Stadium.

It obviously registered.

One year after Broomfield slogged through a mediocre 5-5 season, the combination of Hubbard and an exceptional core of seniors that provided quality leadership guided the Eagles to Mile High, where they eventually lost to Pine Creek in the Class 4A title game.

“There was a good foundation already in place here, but the thing I have done everywhere that I have coached is connect with the teachers, with the staff and with the administration and let them know that I’m here to partner with them,” said Hubbard, who is the Coach of the Year. “Because they are student-athletes, students first, and we want to make sure that they are good examples in the classroom and in the hallways, on the weekends an obviously on and off the field.”

Said Broomfield senior Ryan Mazzola, the Defensive Player of the Year: “This senior group always kind of knew (we had the potential to make a run). We believed in ourselves and we just had to get that negativity out of there and as soon as coach Hub came in and we really talked about goal-setting and he came in with this overwhelming confidence that pushed us and made us believe from Day 1 that we could do something special.”

Mazzola, who was also a 1,000-yard receiver, was dynamic on both sides of the ball but seemed like most to embrace the “Dark Side” mantra of the defense that ultimately defined Broomfield.

He was second on the team in tackles, never afraid to step up from his defensive back spot and play the run. Opposing quarterbacks always seemed to know where he was too, throwing to the opposite side of the field, because he was a ball-hawk.

Maybe his signature play of the season came in the final home playoff game against Windsor, when his interception at midfield sealed the victory.

“Getting up from that was kind of surreal,” he remembered. “We had finally made it and it was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”

The Offensive Player of the Year honors stay in Broomfield and go to Holy Family running back Michael Zeman.

He was the only Colorado player on an 11-man football team to eclipse the 2,000 yard rushing mark, finishing with a state best 2,185 yards an average of 182 per game — and 23 touchdowns.

And, yes he appreciates the irony of a Tigers running back winning this award. The annually pass-happy Holy Family attack of recent years balanced itself out and Zeman, who finished with over 3,700 yards for his prep career, was the beneficiary this season.

“Whatever way we can get a win, I’m happy with. Through the air or on the ground, but coach (Mike Gabriel) really wanted to even the playing field and get closer to the 50-50 run/pass ratio.

“With (quarterback) Stone (Samaras) in, we didn’t know exactly what he was going to be able to do, but we had confidence with his passing ability and ability to call plays and read runs.”

Zeman, who has yet to make a college decision, was held under 100 yards just twice this season (against Fort Morgan and in the quarterfinals against Pueblo East) and went over 200 yards five times and had a career best 306 in 51-6 rout of Berthoud.

“I built a really special bond with my offensive line and that definitely helped,” said Zeman, who helped the Tigers end a playoff losing skid with a first-round victory over Rifle. “I played with two of them for all four years and the other three were all close friends and that really helped.”

Jon Yunt: or