Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer
BOULDER — A mismatch of offensive styles likened to peculiar results in Friday night’s Fairview-Grand Junction Central game.
A scene not often seen at Christian Recht Field, defense reigned king. The Knights were just stingier. Their opponent four hours from the west, less potent.
Zach Lewis scored the game’s first touchdown on a short run with 6:14 remaining and the Knights capped off their third shutout since the start of last fall in a 17-0 win.
“It was strange and there were some things hurting us,” Fairview coach Tom McCartney said. “So, it’s nice that our defense had the kind of resolve to not let them in that end zone.”
Freshman quarterback Bekkem Kritza had eight straight completions as part of the long-awaited TD march for Fairview (2-1) as Lewis added a strong fourth-and-1 run inside the 15 to keep it alive.
The breakthrough drive of 6:07 came after the Warriors erased 11:39 off the clock in the third quarter on a 19-play drive that didn’t result in points.
Using all runs on it, Central (1-2) converted two fourth downs, mushing all the way to the Fairview 15 before the Knights stopped it on fourth-and-4.
Ben Anderson followed with an interception around the Knights’ 20 on the Warriors’ second drive of the second half. Lewis provided the pressure on a hurried throw.
Ryder Villarreal then picked them off in the final minute to seal things.
“We just hit low today, we were stopping them and we were moving our feet and pushing them back,” said Lewis, who added his second rushing TD of the game with 1:05 left. “That was a good thing that we stepped up and did that, especially since our offense wasn’t clicking in the first half.”
It was the first time since September of 2017 that the Knights didn’t record a passing TD in a game.
Fairview’s offense trotted through some early mistakes and penalties — the kind that comes along with a roster littered with youth. A touchdown pass whistled through a receiver’s hands on the Knights’ opening drive. A 74-yard catch-and-run by Grant Page was erased via pass interference on the next.
There were sparks. A third-and-22 hookup from the freshman quarterback to another promising freshman in Jordan Rechel went for 42 yards. Kritza, avoiding a rusher on another third down, found Anderson on the move for 35 yards. But those too were dampened prematurely, one by downs, the other by interception.
Throughout it, though, Fairview’s defense never relented. Central’s first drive was aided by a roughing the punter penalty. It moved to the Knights’ 37 before fizzling on Devin Hickey’s fourth-down incompletion.
The next time, they reached Fairview’s 45 before punting.
“This gives us a lot of confidence, honestly,” Lewis said. “This defense is young, a young D-line, a young everybody pretty much. Especially after this game, holding them out, it’s great confidence-wise.”
Kritza opened his third career game with two quick completions, including a 43-yard streak to Page that put the Knights at the 6. Page corralled the freshman’s next throw on what appeared to be a one-handed TD reception. But it was ruled out of bounds and the Knights eventually settled for a 24-yard field goal from the school’s soccer standout, Jake Milanski.
Kritza went 28-of-40 for 337 yards. Page had 12 receptions for 136 yards. Anderson had seven for 106.
Fairview is on the road next week at Prairie View. Central is home against crosstown rival Grand Junction.