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Football: No. 5 Frederick ‘Ayres’ out No. 8 Eagle Valley

Senior RB tallies pair of touchdowns in blowout victory

Frederick High School's Lafai Purcell (No. ...
Matt Jonas/Staff Photographer
Frederick High School’s Lafai Purcell (No. 5) celebrates making an interception with teammate Teagun Boen (No. 9) in the game against Eagle Valley High School on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
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FREDERICK — There’s a certain excitement that comes with a football team’s first home game of the season. It’s even better when it’s homecoming night, with thousands of fans in the stands for the first time in two years.

On Friday night, Class 3A’s fifth-ranked Frederick brought the pain against No. 8 Eagle Valley in what should have been an exciting top-10 matchup. It was anything but, as the Warriors ran circles around the Devils in a 42-16 route.

More than anything, it was the Parker Ayres and Cruz Zamudio show as the Warriors burned the Devils at every turn. Senior running back Ayres and junior running back Zamudio scored two touchdowns apiece and collected 135 and 70 yards, respectively.

“They’re kind of the lion’s share runners,” head coach Travis Peeples said. “They’re our horses who we give the ball to and we got a really fast tailback, River Lakey, and we’ve got a quarterback that actually is a runner too, Bryce Conover. … We’re a running team. We’ve got four guys that touch the ball, kind of a tricky offense, a lot of counters and running around, so we’re lucky that we got four good ones and our O-line is particularly good.”

Conover threw two TDs with 84 total yards as Lakey added 104 yards, mostly on the run, including a 68-yard monster play. The run game has served as the crux of the Warriors’ route to success this season, as they’ve put up 194 points in just their first four games of the season.

That’s been quite the turnaround from last season when the Warriors found themselves on the receiving end of blowout performances while finishing with a 1-5 record. Now, in 2021, they’re 4-0 and showing no signs of stopping.

“Compared to last year — it was a tough season — so this means a whole lot,” Ayres said. “We weren’t able to be a team, so it was tough to play with each other because we didn’t have all summer to compete with each other.”

Ayres attributes their current success to extended time in the weight room this season as he made a point to pump the iron more outside of team-sanctioned workouts. His efforts are clearly paying off, as the senior is averaging just over 100 yards per game.

Offense wasn’t the only shining beacon for the Warriors.

Defense even got involved in driving up the score in the first half, when sophomore defensive lineman Kemarly Davy sacked Eagle Valley quarterback Will Geiman at the end of the first half. Geiman tried to pass before he went down, and senior defensive lineman Chris Baum was right there to make him pay for that decision.

Baum caught the ball on the 50-yard line and sprinted for paydirt to put Frederick up 28-0 heading into halftime.

“Last year against Mead, there was a sack fumble and I got chased from behind,” Baum said. “I made sure this year that I wasn’t getting caught. I don’t think I’ve ever run faster in my life. I’ve never been happier in my life. That was amazing.”

Frederick worked the score up to 42-0 with two minutes left in the third quarter before letting the starters rest. The Devils managed to creep back in at the end of the contest, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make a difference.

The Warriors will return to action next Friday in what should be an even easier matchup, as they head to winless Skyview. Just imagine what kinds of numbers they’ll be able to put up then.

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