Football: 3A No. 2 Mead rallies to beat No. 9 Erie

Mavericks score 27 unanswered point to win battle of top 10 teams in Class 3A

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Erie High School quarterback Gavin Mendoza throws a pass during a CHSAA football game against Mead on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Nathan Bailey runs the ball for big yardage during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Erie High School's Dylan Hall celebrates a big play on defense during a CHSAA football game against Mead on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Jake Wachter runs the ball during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Nick Murphy kicks an extra point during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Erie High School's Grayson Schenbeck celebrates a long reception for a touchdown during a CHSAA football game against Mead on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School quarterback Brady Veltien throws a pass during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Erie High School's Jonah Vanlandingham runs the ball during a CHSAA football game against Mead on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Nathan Bailey runs the ball during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School quarterback Brady Veltien calls a play at the line of scrimmage during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Erie High School quarterback Gavin Mendoza runs the ball during a CHSAA football game against Mead on Thursday in Erie.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Jake Wachter runs the ball during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

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ERIE – What better a way to cap the first half of the football season before conference play starts than with a local matchup between two locals teams ranked in the top 10 of Class 3A?

That’s what the fans were treated to when No. 9-ranked Erie hosted No. 2-ranked Mead at Tigers Stadium on Thursday night. The game began as a hard-fought defensive battle but ended with Mead scoring 27 unanswered points to head home with a 34-13 victory.

Though they are no longer conference opponents, the teams’ history together in the old Tri-Valley League gave Thursday’s game an air of familiarity that added a little extra juice.

Mead High School quarterback Brady Veltien ...
Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer
Mead High School quarterback Brady Veltien throws a pass during a CHSAA football game against Erie on Thursday in Erie.

“It was a great game,” Mead senior Jake Wachter said. “They’re a good team and they played hard. There was a while there where this was our league championship game so it was great to have our final nonleague game be a crosstown rivalry. It’s always good to beat Erie.”

The Erie Tigers (2-3) won last season’s meeting between the two northern Colorado rivals, 41-24, but Mead (5-0) has beaten Erie in six of the past seven meetings. Their return to the winning side of the series also kept the Mavericks unbeaten and heading into their league schedule as the No. 1 team in the 3A RPI standings.

The contest was tied 7-7 at halftime, despite both teams putting together long drives in the first half between seven combined possessions. Mead, paced by an 84-yard scamper by junior running back Nathan Bailey, totaled 155 yards of offense before the midway break. Erie had 114 yards.

Wachter scoring the first of his four rushing touchdowns just before halftime reinvigorated the Mavericks offense. He scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter while the Mavericks defense, which had four sacks in the game, held Erie to 13 yards of total offense in the frame. Early in the fourth quarter, Mead blocked an Erie punt and Corby Tecu returned it to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown by Brayden Keys that completed Mead’s run of 27 unanswered points.

“Nathan’s a dog and our linemen are great,” Wachter said. “They get it going for us. And our coaching staff did a great job of seeing what was happening and calling plays that got us back on track. We believe in them and we’re all bought into them so when we’re all working together, all Nathan and I have to do is get up field.”

Wachter and Bailey combined to rush for over 240 yards.

Erie running back Mason Veve entered Thursday’s game with 467 rushing yards on 64 carries, was averaging 116.8 yards and had gone over 100 in three of the Tigers’ first four games. Against the Mavericks, he rushed for 83 yards and threw one of Erie’s two touchdowns on a 34-yard pass to Grayson Schenbeck in the fourth quarter. Schenbeck scored both of Erie’s touchdowns, also hauling in a deep pass from quarterback Gavin Mendoza in the first quarter.

Mead will begin Northern Metro League play on the road at Skyview next Friday. Erie, whose three losses have come against top-eight teams in the 3A RPI standings, will host Northridge that same day to begin its North Valley League schedule.

“We haven’t played our most important games of the season yet,” Veve said. “We’re going to come back, grind and win our league. No matter what if you make it to the playoffs, you have a chance. So that’s our goal.”