Football: Frederick finds value in the process of rebuilding

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Frederick junior Michael Clementson and his teammates missed out on playoffs in 2017 despite a 6-4 record, but this year's team went 8-2 and established themselves in Class 3A.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Frederick football coach Travis Peeples directs Thursday's practice ahead of the team's first playoff game since 2013. Frederick will play Discovery Canyon on Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    The Frederick football team, like several others in the area, is cherishing working past sunset if it means the opportunity to play a playoff game.



FREDERICK — The winds of change have swept through the Frederick football program and the long-awaited breakthrough season has finally arrived.

For the players who grew up watching the high school team struggle and themselves battled through the hard times to raise the Warriors back to relevance, it’s about time. The tougher moments like last year when the Warriors were the last bubble team left out of the playoffs despite a six-win season that fueled them more than anything else.

The Warriors are a playoff team once again this fall. Just several days away from their first postseason appearance since 2013, it’s reaffirming to look into the past to measure the progression they’ve made that led to the next big step forward.

“It was hard last year,” junior lineman Michael Clementson said. “It was a great season and we all worked so hard. But it definitely made us realize what we could accomplish this year and made us work that much harder. We knew we had to do more this year to make sure that wasn’t the case again.”

After qualifying for the postseason in 2013, the Warriors went 1-9 in 2014. They didn’t win a single game in 2015 and then went 1-9 again in 2016. The Warriors turned things around quickly and broke the .500 barrier last fall in their first season with head coach Travis Peeples guiding the program.

“It’s exciting,” Clementson said. “We’ve been trying to do this for a long time and since the first day coach Peeples stepped in, our whole goal has been to make it to state. Now we’ll just keep taking it week to week and try to win as many games as we can. It’s great that we made it in this year but we got here by always trying to do better than we did the last time so that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

Having finished runners-up to Mead in the 3A Northern Metro League, the Warriors (8-2) will travel to District 20 in Colorado Springs to take on No. 7 Discovery Canyon (8-2) in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament at 1 p.m. on Saturday. They will face a solid defense and a run-heavy offense led by 1,000-yard junior rusher Marshall Pike.

Led by junior Brandon Hornby and his 734 regular-season rushing yards, the Warriors will counter with a multi-faceted ground attack that led to seven players totaling 100 or more rushing yards this season. The Warriors defense allowed an average of just 12.8 points per game this season, and has 42 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in 10 games.

With last season’s success came an increase in participation numbers and an air of optimism and excitement surrounding the program heading into 2018. Now the Warriors are going for their first playoff win since Frederick reached the 3A state semifinals in 2011.

“From start to finish, this team was focused,” Peeples said. “We’ve been preaching working hard and I don’t think our kids took their eyes off the prize. Our kids were really attentive to doing all the little things we needed to do. They did all those things and now we’re right there with the last sixteen teams still playing.”

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