Frederick quarterback Bryce Conover summed up the feelings of many of the Warriors' faithful after FHS walloped Pueblo County 42-7 in the first round of the state 3A playoffs Nov. 12 in Frederick.
Cody Lanier accounted for the Hornet's points late in the game.
"I think we just out hit them," said Conover, who threw a short scoring pass to Alex Sturn to account for one of the Warriors' scores. "Our physicality and speed was amazing. We executed every single play. It was an amazing display of effort and hard work."
Frederick turned those advantages into points, largely because of the legs of Parker Ayres. He scored three touchdowns in the first half. Cruz Zamudio added a score, and FHS recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to start the second-half scoring.
"We played two games .. the Mead game and this game," said FHS coach Travis Peeples. "Coaches don't like to use the word 'perfect.' But we played extremely well. There were some things we could do better. I would grade them out at an 'A' for effort and an 'A' for execution. We'll try to get to that A-plus."
Conover noticed a few of the correctable issues.
"We had a few dumb personal fouls and other flags thrown on us. But other than that we played exactly how I thought we would," Conover said.
"Our defense pitched a shutout," Peeples said. "We're a super-physical team. You can tell we lifted weights. It was a full football effort from all three phases. That's what makes it special."
Seventeen seniors were on the roster for the first-round playoff game.
"We're strong on both sides of the ball," Peeples said. "We're strong at linebacker, strong at DB (defensive back). The physicality at the point of attack is something to be proud of. We pride ourselves on being tough. We've got the toughest o-line in the state."
Peeples was able to play a lot of his bench once the game got lopsided.
"We got our young kids in," he said. "We brought up five or six freshmen. They got an opportunity to play, and they all have smiles on their faces. Getting experience for our younger kids is a tremendous asset for 2023, 2024 and 2025."
In 2019, the Warriors advanced to the state 3A semifinals. A year ago, the Warriors finished the COVID-shortened season with a 1-5 record. This year, FHS is 9-1 and will visit Fort Morgan in the second round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.
The Mustangs shut out Green Mountain 14-0 in the opening round Nov. 13.
"We go to them," Peeples said. "It's going to be a fistfight. It's just what we want."
"This season is going exactly how we expected," Conover said. " Our goal every year is F-12, which stands for playing in the 12th month when the state championship is held. So every year we strive to win state, and we’re well on our way."