Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
FREDERICK – Knowing the high school football landscape is changing from minute to minute in November, the Mead football team wasn’t messing around in its season finale on Friday night.
Despite entering the game sitting comfortably as the fourth playoff seed, according to the Class 3A playoff seeding index, the Mavericks made sure not to let Frederick play spoiler. For Mead, that meant a business-like 48-14 victory on a windy night at Frederick High School to cap an unusual and uniquely challenging regular season.
Now, the one-loss Mavericks can shift their focus towards the postseason while they sit and wait to find out how they will enter the postseason when CHSAA releases the playoff brackets on Sunday.
“For us, it’s less about the win and more about how we can get better each week as a team,” Mavericks junior Corby Tecu said. “We knew we had to come out tonight and win so we could get into that top eight and make it into the playoffs. I think we’ve done everything we possibly can as a group to finish out the season strong. We set out to get dirty and do whatever it takes, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Mead (5-1) led 21-0 before a shorthanded and young Frederick (1-5) squad scored with 4 minutes, 58 seconds left in the second quarter on a pass from quarterback Bryce Conover to Alex Sturn. The Mavericks led 28-7 at halftime with quarterback Gavin Garrettson throwing touchdown passes to Brayden Keys, Nathan Bailey and Tecu, the latter who also scored on a 13-yard run in the first quarter while venturing outside his comfort zone to play safety throughout the game.
Bailey, who also had an interception in the third quarter, ran in another pair of touchdowns in the second half. The Mavericks held the Warriors without more points until Conover’s second touchdown pass of the night found the hands of Cruz Zamudio with 9:28 left on the clock. Another late Mavericks score, this time via a 3-yard run by Eli Mackey, sealed the win.
“Normally, we don’t get too high on the wins or too low on the losses,” Mavericks head coach Jason Klatt said. “But for this group to battle through six games, it felt like an eternity this year. To do a really good job of wearing masks, social distancing and doing all the things we asked them to do, it’s significant. It’s because they love each other. Tonight was just a battle of trying to make it through.
“I think we’ve gotten better and you always want to be peaking at the right time. But with this season, it’s not about who’s peaking or who’s playing their best at the right time. It’s about who made it through. We’re happy that we’ve made it through.”
For Frederick, Friday’s loss stung and this unusual fall has been a tough pill to swallow for a team that has been increasingly successful in each of the past three winning seasons. But given how young this Warriors team is, head coach Travis Peeples said he couldn’t be more proud of how his group faced adversity in 2020 and is looking forward to 2021.
“I’ve been here for four years and this was probably the most difficult season we’ve had as far as our record, but it’s just as successful as the other three,” Peeples said. “We start 14 sophomores and bunch of freshmen so we’ve had a youth movement this year. Our kids are young but they’ve brought everything they had. Every game, you see a kid get run over but he gets right back up and he’s ready for the next play. I’m incredibly proud of how they’ve played and as a coaching staff, we can’t wait to see what they do. We’re going to be good the next couple years.”
Frederick will cap its 2020 season with a bowl-style seventh game against Summit next Thursday.