LITTLETON — For a sophomore running back in a Class 5A top-10 showdown, Arapahoe’s Trajan Frasier showed an alarming amount of restraint Friday night.
Until he simply had to break loose.
Frasier’s three-touchdown night with scores from 8, 12 and 74 yards sparked Arapahoe early and often on Friday as the No. 7 Warriors utilized their breakthrough back in a 34-27 win over No. 2 Regis Jesuit at LPS Stadium.
“Starting off hot with that first touchdown really got us started, and then me, personally, I adjusted my patience for this game,” Frasier said. “I waited a little more, things opened up and I scored three touchdowns.”
Regis (2-1) wasted little time on their opening drive, going 65 yards on six plays, as junior quarterback Peyton Lindell lofted a beauty of a pass into the waiting arms of Jojo Hernandez for a 40-yard strike as Regis took a 7-0 lead.
After that, Arapahoe (3-0) got to work. The Warriors responded on their first possession of the game as well and got into good field position after a strong kickoff return. Six plays later, Carter Kaminski caught a pass over the middle and barreled into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:24 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors’ defense, which had limited opponents to 16 points through the opening two games, recovered and forced numerous three-and-outs on the night.
It was the momentum the Warriors needed to spark an offense that had already posted 59 points through two weeks. While three-star recruit Eckhardt had top billing, it was the sophomore, Frasier, who stole the show.
“It’s not easy to step out onto a varsity field with a bunch of guys that are almost full grown men, but I think a year of maturity helped,” Arapahoe head coach Tyler Brayton said about the difference between his freshman season and this year. “His work ethic is second to none.”
In Arapahoe’s third drive of the game, which extended into the second quarter, Frasier nabbed his first score of the night on a 12-yard run up the middle to give Arapahoe its first lead of the game, 14-7, with 9:05 left in the half.
Frasier then got a chance to turn on the jets. Midway through the second quarter, he bounced off a Raider defender and got to the outside, where he sprinted down the far sideline and scored. It was a 74-yard score and the longest touchdown from scrimmage so far on the season for Arapahoe and made it 21-7.
“I disappeared into the line of scrimmage, and then, all of a sudden to my left, there was the opening,” Frasier said.
In the second half, the Regis defense came to play as they forced a trio of turnovers to open the third quarter. First, it forced a pair of fumbles on Arapahoe’s opening two possessions of the quarter, and eventually came up with an interception, after the Raiders lucked out by not giving up a 64-yard Frasier score, which was chalked off due to holding.
“I told the guys that when you play really good football teams, there’s a smaller margin for error, and we weren’t able to improve on it from last week,” Brayton said. “The penalties, extra possessions with turnovers, taking scores off of the board and all that. It’s going to hurt our chances to be successful in that game, so that’s an area we need to clean up moving forward, and hopefully we can get that done between now and next week.”
The Raiders found the end zone twice to tie it up, first on a 48-yard Hail Mary pass on 4th-and-8 to Albert Medina, and then, Hernandez juked a pair of Warrior defenders to tie it at 21-all with two seconds left in the quarter.
Arapahoe was cutting with its offense in the final frame, as Frasier scored a third touchdown from eight yards out to give the Warriors the lead for good. Facing a 3rd-and-5, Andrew Smart caught a pass for a first down and then took it 54 yards to the house to ice the game. Regis added a score late, but Eckhardt secured the onside kick and the win.
Arapahoe will host undefeated No. 5 Columbine (3-0) next Friday, while the Raiders will have a trip to No. 6 Ralston Valley.