• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Mead's running backs group get in a drill during Thursday's practice ahead of the Mavericks' Class 3A quarterfinal matchup against No. 1 seed Palisade on Saturday. The game matches a pair of run-heavy offenses looking to make it past another round.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Mead head coach Jason Klatt addresses his football team on Thursday as the Mavericks prepare for Palisade in the Class 3A quarterfinals on Saturday.



Mead’s football team will break up its 270-some-mile trip to Palisade on Friday with some lunch in Glenwood Canyon, then will practice at an “unknown location far, far deep into the mountains where nobody knows where it’s at,” quipped Mead coach Jason Klatt.

Might as well get in what you can. Things might move rather quickly once Saturday rolls around.

In an age where high school football is played mostly through the air and games often span the time it will take you to cook a 14-pound turkey for Thanksgiving, No. 9 Mead and No. 1 Palisade have stuck to the game’s old roots — running the ball, playing tough defense and owning the clock.

The two team’s similar and backdated styles will clash Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stocker Stadium with a spot in the Class 3A semifinals on the line.

Don’t be late, warned Klatt.

“If you spend too long at the coffee shop in late morning, you’re going to miss the game,” Klatt said. “The clock is going to be running. They love to run the football and they have an awesome attack. …Very similar styles of football and it should be fun.”

Palisade (11-0) comes in with the top running attack in 3A as it is averaging 332.9 yards on the ground per game. Mead (8-3) is third at 312.5 yards.

Neither team has thrown 10 completions in a game this season. Palisade has only 27 on the year while Mead had just 38. To put that in context, Fairview quarterback Aidan Atkinson had 30 or more completions in four games this season.

For the throwback Mavericks, it’s not about being flashy.

It’s about winning.

“They see that it works,” Klatt said. “There’s a winning formula for playing the game of football. It’s playing hard-nosed defense and playing good special teams and running the football. And all those things kind of lend to good football.

“We enjoy that kind of football around here, but more so than anything we just enjoy trying to be great and the process of trying to be great.”

Mead pulled off the lone upset in the first round of the 3A bracket in the 8-vs.-9 matchup. The Mavericks beat No. 8 Evergreen 56-13 — this coming after losing to the Cougars in the third week of the season 8-7.

Klatt’s group will be the higher seed the rest of the way. Of course, the Mavericks know rankings don’t always mean much. They fell to No. 8 Longmont as the 1 seed in the quarterfinals a year ago.

“We know (Palisade) is the 1 seed but we don’t get caught up in all of that,” senior linebacker and placekicker Taylor Kamigaki said. “We don’t really get caught up in all the online stuff — MaxPreps and all that.”

Mead will be looking for its seventh straight win since starting the year 2-3. During its six-game winning streak, the Mavericks have outscored their opponents 270-51. In that same span, Palisade has beaten teams 273-41.

Brent W. New: bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com and @brentwnew