Football rewind: Erie’s Blake Barnett, others go off in Week 1

Notes from around the area as teams get going this shortened fall season

Mead High School's Nathan Bailey runs ...
Daily Camera file photo
Mead’s Nathan Bailey ran for 111 of his team’s 321 total rushing yards in a win over Thompson Valley on Friday.

The Erie Tigers certainly kicked off the 2020 football season with a bang, posting a 52-12 home victory over Greeley Central in the season opener on Friday night.

More than just an explosive opener, the win may also have been a glimpse into the future of Erie football for years to come.

In the Week 1 triumph, freshman quarterback Blake Barnett accounted for 256 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. While it’s exceedingly rare to see a freshman starting at quarterback, a debut like that is something else entirely.

“We knew he was a talented kid coming in,” Erie head coach Chad Cooper said. “Still, we didn’t make a final decision until a week before the game. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback by just how good he was against Greeley Central. Especially for a freshman to come in week one and command the offense like that, he delivered the ball and he’s a dual-threat guy that makes things really hard on the defense.”

In his first varsity game, Barnett completed 4 of 6 pass attempts for 135 yards and threw a trio of touchdown passes to three different receivers. He also carried the ball six times for 121 yards, including a 34-yard scoring run on the first carry of his prep career. He did it all without turning the ball over once.

Leading up to this unprecedented and uncertain 2020 campaign, Cooper said there was a three-man competition for the starting quarterback spot. The result was Barnett starting in Week 1 and junior Alex Austin, who has been the backup for the past two years, moving to play various positions on both offense and defense. Sophomore Evan Rearick, a 6-foot-4 pocket passer with a big arm, will remain at quarterback and serve as the team’s primary backup.

“We didn’t really have a lot of practices and we were limited by COVID and everything,” Cooper said. “It was a difficult decision but I really felt good about Blake and his intangibles. If push came to shove, I’d have no problem starting either of our other guys. So, we’re definitely blessed here at Erie to have some solid talent and depth at quarterback.”

Lacrue’s debut paces Broomfield victory

Barnett wasn’t the only young quarterback in the area who shined in his quarterbacking debut.

Leading the Broomfield Eagles to a 27-20 win over Monarch on Friday night, sophomore quarterback Cole Lacrue came off the bench and accounted for all four of his team’s touchdowns. Lacrue was 5-for-7 on pass attempts, racking up 121 yards and two scoring passes to junior receiver Josh Dunn. He also ran the ball 15 times for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Though Lacrue will likely continue to split time with junior quarterback Bode Hogan, who went 6-for-10 with 45 passing yards on Friday, his first crack at varsity football left an impression on head coach Blair Hubbard.

“Through our limited preseason, we definitely saw his athletic ability and his ability to throw the ball,” Hubbard said. “What impressed me the most was beyond being responsible for our four touchdowns. It was his ability to run the offense in his limited time in the program. He was able to correct some mistakes on the fly and he kept his head whenever things weren’t going well, which is pretty impressive for a sophomore.”

Mead takes over as 3A’s top-ranked squad

It didn’t take the Mead football team long to make a statement.

In their season opener, the Mavericks pummeled Thompson Valley, 49-6, and woke up Monday morning to find they had jumped from preseason No. 2 to No. 1 in the poll. In the game, 11 different Mavericks carried the ball and combined to rush for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Nathan Bailey finished with a team-high 111 yards and junior Evan Morris found the end zone twice.

Tate carries the load for Legacy in opener

To say that Braelon Tate pulled his weight in Week 1 would be an understatement.

In a 13-10 win over Overland, the versatile junior carried the ball an incredible 37 times for 176 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 48 yards. On top of accounting for 224 of his team’s 296 yards of total offense, Tate led the team with seven tackles on defense.

Fairview’s O’Brien is Colorado’s early passing leader

What a surprise: Fairview football has one of the state’s top passers.

Accounting for all of his team’s points in a 19-0 win over Poudre, senior Liam O’Brien went 32-for-45 throwing the ball to put up 350 yards and three touchdowns. His passing yardage total is currently the most on any quarterback in Colorado after Week 1.

Junior receiver Grant Page caught nine passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Liam Huber caught six passes for 66 yards and the Knights’ other score.

Meredith runs wild for Prospect Ridge in Week 1

Senior quarterback Dylan Meredith couldn’t be contained throughout the Miners’ 51-8 win over The Pinnacle on Thursday. By the game’s end, he had rushed for 194 yards, which was fifth most in the state Week 1.

Meredith ran in three touchdowns and also completed 4 of 5 pass attempts with a pair of touchdowns.