ARVADA -- It took a 27-yard field goal by Fairview senior Jonathan Swartzwelter as time expired Friday to keep the Knights as the lone undefeated football team left in Class 5A.
Fairview players and students stormed the field at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada after Swartzwelter’s kick gave the Knights a 33-30 victory over Pomona. The win clinched the 5A North Metro League title for Fairview.
“League title is awesome,” Fairview senior Cameron Frazier said. “Pomona and Ralston Valley has owned this league since it started. For us to beat them is great. They are two great teams that are going to both make runs in the playoffs.”
The North Metro League was formed in 2010. Ralston Valley, who Fairview defeated 43-18 earlier this season, won the conference title in 2010 and 2012. Pomona claimed the league title in 2011 while advancing into the 5A state semifinals that year.
“The fact that (Fairview) is celebrating that much shows how good our program is. That is a complement to our kids,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said. “Now, we don’t want to be losing anymore of these dang things. We’ve got to find a way to win these close games.”
No. 2 Fairview (7-0, 4-0 in league) was looking at having to go overtime against No. 8 Pomona (6-2, 3-1) when the Panthers stormed back in the fourth quarter with 14 unanswered points to tie the conference game at 30 with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Fairview senior quarterback Anders Hill engineered a last-minute drive where he was 5-for-5 through the air for 55 yards. The Knights were able to milk the clock down to the final seconds before Swartzwelter, who missed a 43-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter, was able to kick the game winner.
Fairview sophomore Carlo Kemp had a strong game on the defensive side for the Knights, including a fumble recovery in the third quarter that helped set up Fairview’s final touchdown. He also realized the historic importance of the win.
“Pomona is one heck of a team. I don’t know if we’ve ever beaten them,” Kemp said. “We battled another good team, another 5A powerhouse. It means a lot that we held strong and came through.”
Fairview’s offense kept its string alive of scoring at least 30 points in every game this season. Hill finished 19 of 27 passing for 252 yards and a touchdown through the air. While he got plenty of pressure from Pomona’s defensive line, Hill was only sacked once, as he was able to escape using his feet.
Frazier had a monster first half for the Knights. He started the game with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass and ran for another score before halftime.
The second-half fumble at the goal line by Frazier nearly spoiled his night, but he was confident he could redeem himself on the final drive. Frazier made the first two catches on the game-winning drive. He finished with seven receptions for 112 yards.
“I knew if we got the ball back we would score when it mattered,” Frazier said.
Pomona was led by running back Chris Marquez. The senior went over the 1,500-yard mark on the ground for the season. He had 31 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Marquez now had 16 rushing touchdowns on the season.
An 11-yard rushing touchdown by Marquez and 9-yard touchdown catch by senior Chris Benefiel from junior quarterback Justin Roberts in the fourth quarter brought the Panthers back.
“We executed in the fourth quarter, but you can’t have turnovers,” said Marquez, who fumble near midfield in the third quarter. “We dug too deep of a hole.”
Roberts was solid through the air completing 8 of 9 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Benefiel caught both touchdowns. His 67-yard scoring grab in the second quarter was remarkable catch. Fairview defenders Johnny Feauto and Swartzwelter both tipped the ball before Benefiel was able to gain control and sprint into the end zone.
Madden admitted his team didn’t have the intensity it had the previous week in a 42-30 victory against Ralston Valley. Rallying from a 14-point deficit is something positive he took from the loss.
“It made us have to go to another level,” Madden said.
Pomona wraps up its regular season against Arvada West at 7 p.m. next Friday at the NAAC.
Fairview will attempt to finish its regular season undefeated when it squares off against rival Boulder at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Recht Field.