A league football championship at Frederick seemed far-fetched just two years ago. The Warriors finished the year 1-9, including a nine-game losing streak to end the year. Overall, Frederick had gone 2-28 over three seasons. Then Travis Peeples took over as head coach. In his first year as the coach of the Warriors the team went 6-4, finishing with their first winning season since 2013. This year has been even more remarkable as the team has gone 7-1 through its first eight games. The only loss came to Class 3A No. 1 Erie back on Sept. 7. Since then, Frederick has scored an average of 50 points per game and surrendered a total of 42 in that span. The Warriors climbed to No. 7 in this week's football rankings and currently sit at No. 10 in the RPI. The playoffs appear to be on the horizon and as a result, Peeples has been selected as this week's Broncos High School Coach of the Week. The Broncos coach of the week is selected in partnership with the Broncos and CHSCA.
Years as head coach: 4 (23-12)
Years at Frederick: 2 (13-5, 7-1 this season)
Previous stops: Running back coach Miami Killian (Fla.) (1995); Pine Ridge High School (Fla.) (1996-2005); Interim head coach Pine Ridge High School (Fla.) (2001); Defensive coordinator Greeley West (2013); Defensive Coordinator Greeley West (2014); Head coach Aurora Central (2015); Offensive coordinator Cheyenne South High School (Wyo.) 2016; Head coach Frederick (2017-present).
Q: At what point did you know that you wanted to be a high school football coach?
Peeples: Growing up, both of my parents were physical education teachers. My dad went to the University of Miami on a track scholarship and he was actually on the coaching staff in 1968. I knew from a young age watching my dad coach football and watching him be a high school P.E. teacher that it was the path I wanted to take.
Q: The turnaround for these last two seasons has been remarkable, what has been the primary reason for it?
Peeples: Coming in as a head coach at a school, I set the highest goals possible. Our goal is to be the last man standing and the best team in the state. We set a plan for the kids to work really hard and we challenge them along the way. For 12 months out of the year, we challenge them to work hard, play other sports, lift weights, do great in school and we hold them accountable throughout the whole process. I think the turnaround is a combo of setting high goals, challenging kids to be their best, you work really hard, you reward good work and you build great relationships with kids and the community.
Q: Coming into a program that hasn't seen a lot of recent success, how difficult is it to get kids to buy into your vision, at least at first?
Peeples: It wasn't that difficult. Kids have been hard working in Frederick for a long time. They had a great work ethic when I stepped in, they had a great knowledge of football and we just pointed them in a direction and said let's get going. Like I said, we challenged them to work 12 months out of the year and get stronger, bigger and faster. We had a great base when we came in and the kids have bought into what we've sold and worked really hard and I'm really proud of our success.
Q: Did the energy feel different this year after having success last season?
Peeples: Yeah. We've talked about being coach-motivated or player-motivated. Coach leadership and player leadership. Where we are now, we show up to practice and coach, but all the energy and all the excitement comes from the players and all the accountability comes from the players. I think that's the highest level of a program when you have player accountability with each other and you have player excitement and the coaches come in and just coach. Coming into this year, our expectations are to be really good for a long time. So I think we have turned the table in that our kids expect to be good and compete every week to win.
Q: With the playoffs seemingly in sight, do you feel the need to approach those games any differently than what you've done this year?
Peeples: Every game we approach, we leave no stone unturned as coaches and players. We do everything necessary to make sure we're prepared. We're not locked into the playoffs yet, so this game this week is a playoff game for us. We talk about performing to our highest ability and going out and being ready to go. That's what we've done every week and the kids have met the challenge. I've coached for a while and I can tell you that the practices we've had here at Frederick High School have been some of the best practices and the most focused kids I've had in my career. I'm privileged to be a part of that kind of program.
Q: Is there a point when you get to take a step back and appreciate how much fun these kids are having this season?
Peeples: This is a tight community from the teachers, to the community, to the parents of my kids. It's really been a family atmosphere. Sure we're celebrating success and we're happy and we celebrate on Friday nights and Saturdays after big wins. But then we get back to work on Monday and it's business. Frederick is a great place to be. It's kind of a dream spot for me to be here on the front range in a beautiful community where people are passionate. That's what we have here. It's exciting to be here and it's an exciting feel that we have with the football program and actually all our sports are kind of on the rise right now.
Story by Dan Mohmann/CHSAANow
Photo Credit: Steve Oathout