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Football: Atkinson breaks state TD record in home win against Poudre

Senior QB throws eight touchdown passes in one half of football

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Grant Page (No. 23) celebrates after being tackled into the end zone by Poudre High School's Eric Balderrama (No. 2) at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Henry Blackburn (No. 2) shakes a tackle from Poudre High School's Caleb Schmutzer (No. 14) and Brady Kintzley (No. 25) at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Grant Page (No. 23) makes a catch while tackled by Poudre High School's Eric Balderrama (No. 2) at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Aidan Atkinson (No. 10) throws the ball in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Grant Page (No. 23) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Jalen Page (No. 85) in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Henry Blackburn (No. 2) makes a catch for a touchdown in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Dillon Tarves (No. 24) runs the ball in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Grant Page (No. 23) catches the ball and runs in for a touchdown against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School and Poudre High School team captains watch the coin toss before the game at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Henry Blackburn (No. 2) kicks a field goal in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Grant Page (No. 23) runs the ball in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Dillon Tarves (No. 24) goes head over heels after a tackle by Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Aidan Atkinson (No. 10) throws the ball in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Brayden Wood (No. 6) hands the ball off to a referee after losing his helmet during a play against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

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BOULDER – The anticipation of witnessing something special was the only thing that could bring the Fairview crowd out into the bleachers at Recht Field on a frigid Thursday night.

Senior quarterback Aidan Atkinson and the Fairview football team gave the home faithful what they wanted, and much more.

During a 56-28 conference win over Poudre, Atkinson smashed a pair of all-time Colorado prep records by slinging eight scores in just one half of football. The Northwestern University-bound senior is now Colorado’s sole record-holder with an incredible 120 career touchdown passes, and also holds the record for most touchdown passes in a single half.

Fairview High School's Aidan Atkinson (No. ...
Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Fairview High School’s Aidan Atkinson (No. 10) throws the ball in the game against Poudre High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

“It’s cool because it’s the result of a lot of hard work that a lot of guys have put in,” Atkinson said. “It’s been a process from two and three years ago all the way up until today, and the number of guys that have helped make those records possible is in the hundreds. Even though it’s based on personal statistics, I see it more as a team record than anything else.

“Football is the ultimate team sport and it’s a great reflection of the teams we’ve had over the years and the hard work all the guys have put in.”

Atkinson entered Thursday’s game just one touchdown behind Arickaree’s Dave Garcia, who threw 113 touchdown passes in his prep career from 1983-86. He tied the previous all-time mark with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Henry Blackburn on the Knights’ first drive and then broke it one offensive play later when he hit Grant Page with a 65-yard bomb.

Atkinson also holds Colorado’s all-time records for passing touchdowns (55) in a season and passing yards (425) in a half, as well as the state’s 11-man records for passing yards (687) and passing touchdowns (nine) in a game.

Five of Atkinson’s eight touchdown passes found Blackburn’s sure hands, and the two-way senior standout finished the game with six catches for 196 yards and also intercepted a pass on defense. Colorado’s record for touchdown receptions in a single game is six and Blackburn has caught five touchdowns in each of the Knights past two games. He has 17 touchdown receptions in his last 14 quarters played after missing the first five games of the season.

“We were just clicking on all cylinders,” Blackburn said. “I’m going to credit that to the boys up front. If they don’t block, then we can’t make it happen as receivers. So I give all the credit to them for doing an amazing job, and of course Aidan who was amazing breaking those records.”

The Fairview offense averaged 450 yards per game through the first eight games, and scored 56 points Thursday while running just 25 plays in the first half. The Knights led 56-14 at halftime and the 40-point running clock began with the opening whistle of the third quarter.

In total, Atkinson threw five touchdown passes to Blackburn, two to Grant Page — a sophomore who has emerged as one of the state’s leading receivers this season — and one to senior Jalen Page. Atkinson entered Thursday’s game 499 yards short of the all-time record for career passing yards, set at 10,565 yards by Bear Creek’s Justin Holland from 1997-2000.

Unofficially, Atkinson completed 15 of 18 pass attempts for roughly 390 yards and is now within striking distance of that mark with one regular-season game to play.

The Knights’ regular-season finale will be on the road next Thursday against Rocky Mountain in Fort Collins. The contest between the Knights (8-1, 4-0) and Lobos (5-3, 3-0) will essentially be a Front Range League championship game between two conference rivals who remain unbeaten in league play.

“It’s going to be a really big game and we’re excited for it,” Fairview senior Landon Colvin said. “We’ve got some really good competition for the league championship so this is going to be a good preparation week for us. We’ve still got to take it game-by-game and week-by-week, and keep getting better so we can finish out the regular season and roll into the playoffs.”