MEAD — Mead’s football team headed over to its student section to sing the school fight song following a dramatic win over Frederick Friday night. Not long after that, coach Jason Klatt jumped into one of his players for a celebratory body bump.
Yes, the Mavericks are used to this winning thing.
It just doesn’t make it any less fun.
With a running attack not at full capacity, Brady Veltien was razor sharp with his arm in the second half, and Mead’s defense did enough to slow down savvy quarterback Jake Green after his hot start, helping the host Mavericks rally past the Warriors 27-20 to clinch the 3A Northern Metro League title with a perfect season in hand.
“I’m just so proud of our guys and coaches,” Klatt said. “We were short-handed tonight and kind of had our backs against the wall — and give them credit, they’re well coached and a good team, they’re good — and for our guys to hang in there and stay poised, it was awesome.”
Down 17-6 early in the second quarter, the Mavericks responded on both ends.
Veltien put Mead back in front on the opening drive of the third quarter, dropping a gorgeous pass down the middle of the field to Brayden Keys for a score on fourth-and-8. The senior led the winning drive to start the fourth, too, running in from four yards out.
“The coaches trusted me, and I trust my teammates,” Veltien said. “We do whatever it takes to better the team. … It’s just fun. It doesn’t matter if we throw it more or throw it less. Or run it more or run it less. Whatever we need that day to get the job done.”
The Warriors scored on their first three drives but only had a 41-yard field goal by Luke Dunker after that. On their final sequence, they had a potential game-tying touchdown called back with 6:09 remaining. Green rolled to his left before floating a pass to a wide-open Dominick Schleif standing on the right corner of the end zone. An illegal man downfield penalty cancelled it.
After a punt pinned Mead at its own 2, the Mavericks ran out the final 4:18.
“Those guys are a bunch of ballers over there,” Veltien said of his defense. “They’ll get the stop when we need it.”
A Dunker field goal, Green’s 40-yard scramble for a score and a rushing TD from Schleif in the first 12:59 of the game dented a defense that had allowed just over a touchdown per game in 2019.
Mead answered a 10-play, 53-yard opening drive from Frederick with an 80-yard drive of its own capped off by Devon Edwards’ 26-yard rushing touchdown. A 73-yard run from Porter Eastin led to another score that cut the deficit to 17-12 early in the second.
Frederick held for a while. It stalled out two favorable chances from Mead late in the half, sending the Mavericks backwards on fourth-and-goal from the 4. And stopped them again on their ensuing drive that started at the 27 because of a Trey Ward interception.
Mead eventually broke through, though.
“They got a lot of will and determination and resolve,” Klatt said. “That’s what happens. Once you start facing adversity, you see what you’re made of.”
For the second straight season the league title was decided by the Mead-Frederick finale. In the 2019 version, all but one team on either schedule were done in by multiple touchdowns coming into the night.
Frederick (9-1, 4-1), ranked seventh in the latest 3A RPI, outscored its first nine opponents 447-110 with Erie serving as the strongest test in a 21-20 Week 2 victory. Second-ranked Mead (10-0, 5-0) crushed its opposition 388-76.
So, with Friday’s implications as long as the backup in the parking lot, fans quickly spilled across the bleachers when the gates opened, while many settled for standing-room-only viewing along the chain-link fencing surrounding the field.
Pregame festivities featured a performance from cheerleaders of the Denver Broncos and players were joined at midfield by former Broncos receiver Mark Jackson for the coin toss.
It all embellished a scene that needed none.