FREDERICK – The Aug. 26 gridiron matchup at Frederick High School turned into an instant classic between two class 3A powerhouses.
With less than 12 seconds left in the contest, No. 6 Holy Family had to come up with some magic to top No. 8 Frederick. On fourth down and with less than a yard from the end zone, junior quarterback Rylan Cooney rolled out of the pocket and found Jaxon Grable open in the end zone to help the Tigers squeak by the Golden Eagles 27-26.
“We fought and never gave up,” Cooney said. “It is a big team win. We made a few mistakes at the beginning of the game, but the defense kept us in it and we found a way to get the win.”
The victory spoiled Matt Loyd’s first game as the Golden Eagles’ head coach. Loyd replaced Travis Peeples, who left Frederick to coach Wellington’s newly reinstated football team in the offseason.
Loyd, who spent 22 seasons as the head coach at Ralston Valley, saw the game as a learning experience for his team.
“We made mistakes, as most teams do in the first week,” the coach said. “I just want them to learn from this game, and we will.”
Neither team played a perfect game. Holy Family had four turnovers in the contest and was hampered by penalties, while Frederick turned the ball over on downs four times in the contest, including not being able to capitalize on Tristan Dean’s fumble recovery at Holy Family’s 11-yard-line.
“It was not a pretty game,” Tigers’ coach Mike Gabriel said. “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect, I thought (Holy Family) would get down after the mistakes. But they didn’t, and I am proud of them.”
What worked for the Tigers was their fast-paced offense that scored in a hurry when it got going. Holy Family got on board first in the second quarter when Chase McNaughton raced 17 yards into the end zone to give the Tigers a 6-0 advantage.
Not to be outdone, the Golden Eagles responded a little more than a minute later when quarterback Gavin Ishmael found wide receiver Kooper Anderson for a 47-yard touchdown pass. With a successful two-point conversion, Frederick led 8-6 at halftime.
Both offenses got rolling in the second half. Holy Family scored out of the gate with a Dominic Gabriel 14-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 12-8 advantage. But once again, Frederick responded right back. Senior River Lakey broke loose on the right side for a 40-yard score to give the Golden Eagles a 14-12 lead.
Holy Family added a touchdown pass from Cooney to Anderson Osburn. With a successful 2-point conversion the Tigers held a six-point lead late in the third. But Frederick went to senior running back Cruz Zamudio down the stretch, and he answered the challenge. Zamudio carved up chunks of yards and made defenders miss to score the final two touchdowns for the Golden Eagles and give his team a 26-20 advantage with a little bit more than eight minutes left in the game.
Holy Family will have its home opener against Broomfield Friday, Sept. 2, while Frederick will look to pick up its first win on the road at Monarch High School.
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