Knights advance to second round in thrilling finish
When Michael McVenes hurdled into the endzone with nine seconds on the clock, he not only capped the Knights' most impressive drive of the season, but he also sealed the win for Fairview, 28-24 over Regis Jesuit.
The Knights, seeded 17th, came into the game as slight underdogs, as 16-seed Regis carried home-field advantage, and was able to practice in an indoor facility when snow came through Colorado in the middle of the week.
The Raiders got off to an early lead, as a McVenes pass found Mitchell Jones of Regis, who returned the interception for a touchdown. Fairview returned the favor, as two-way star and goal line running back Jack Madden pounded the ball in from one yard out to knot the game at seven.
The Knights held Regis to only three points in the second quarter, and Cam Frazier gave Fairview the lead, with a 22-yard reception from McVenes. The Raiders looked to be threatening right before the half, but two straight Fairview sacks ensured the Knights would go into the locker room with a 14-10 lead.
The Knights had a promising drive stall to begin the third quarter, and Regis capitalized, regaining the lead with a Jordan Jungers touchdown, setting the stage for a climactic finish in the final 12 minutes.
With 8:06 left in the game, Madden punched through the Regis line and into the endzone to give Fairview a fleeting 21-17 lead. Regis used a strong running game to take the lead, 24-21 and drain the clock down to two minutes remaining.
In need of at least a field goal with their season on the line, the Knights embarked on their final drive of the game. Frazier returned a line-drive kickoff to the Fairview 23. Having used a timeout on the previous Regis possession, the Knights were down to two timeouts. McVenes moved the Knights into Regis territory with completions to Sam Martin and Frazier.
With second down and three yards to go at the Raider 32, McVenes rolled out and succumbed to the Regis pressure for a 15-yard sack. The following play, the Knights appeared to have the first down, but a personal foul on Fairview negated the gain. In a stroke of fortune, Regis also committed a penalty on the play, giving the Knights a first down, with the ball at the Regis 47.
With time running low on the Knights' season, McVenes scrambled for a first down, then hit Martin for another Fairview first down at the Regis 25-yard line. McVenes added another 12-yard scramble to give the Knights a first down at the Regis 13.
After a seven yard rush and a near interception, Fairview faced third down and three from the Regis seven with 15 seconds showing on the clock. McVenes dropped back to pass, but found a hole in the Raider defense, running the ball down the middle and into the endzone, giving Fairview the lead for good.
The game officially ended when Madden tackled a Regis receiver after a short gain.
Fairview returns home next weekend to play Columbine in the second round of the state playoffs. The Rebels are the top seed in the state.