Fairview drops opener in heartbreaking fashion

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Josh McBrayer

HIGDON – In a rain drenched opening weekend start to the 2016 high school football season, the Fairview Aggies dropped a heartbreaker the North Sand Mountain Bison, 15-14 in a game that went down to the wire.

“We just gave up way too many plays in my opinion,” said Fairview head coach George Redding on the reason behind the tough loss. “So many times we had them third and long, fourth and long and gave up big plays.”

Fairview gave up seven plays that went more than 10 yards including back-to-back passes of 45 yards and 33 yards on the game winning drive by North Sand Mountain.

The Bison only converted 3 of 13 third down tries but were a staggering 4 for 7 on fourth down attempts.

The game looked as if it was going to be a shootout as both teams scored on their opening possessions. Fairview got the year started off right going 66 yards in nine plays culminating in a 16-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Reagan Ashley to fellow senior Noah Garnett for the first Aggie points of the year and the only offensive touchdown they would have on the night.

North Sand Mountain quickly answered back with a huge kick-off return to set themselves up at the Fairview 23-yard line for their first possession of the game. In just two plays, the Bison crossed the goal line on the strength of a 16-yard blast up the middle by Jake Marlborough. After the PAT the score was knotted at 7-7 just four and a half minutes into the contest, but that would be all of the scoring until late into the fourth quarter.

With eight minutes on the clock, and after a brilliant Fairview punt, North Sand Mountain found themselves deep in their own territory at the 11-yard line. Looking to get something going for his team, quarterback Hunter Hill dropped back in the pocket and eyed his receiver but he didn’t count on the quickness of Sambo Woods. As Hill let the ball fly, Woods jumped the route at the 20, intercepting the ball and racing down the sideline for the pick six to put the Aggies back in front, 14-7, with 7:40 left to play. Forcing a three and out on North Sand Mountain’s next possession gave Fairview a chance to put the game away. The Aggies marched down the field and chewed up the clock, but on a fourth and goal from their own six they attempted a field goal that would sail wide left and give the Bison the ball on the 20 with just over two minutes to play.

Hill’s first two passes of the drive fell incomplete and the third netted just four yards, but on fourth and four, he found Zach Boston for 45 yards and a first down into Aggie territory. He took to the air again in the next play, this time finding Pierce Porter for 33 yards for a first and goal from the Fairview eight. From here it was Zac William who did the work on back-to-back rushes to find the goal line and bring North Sand Mountain to within one with a big PAT looming. Instead of kicking the extra point and playing for overtime, the Bison elected to go for two and it payed off as Williams was able to get in on second and third effort to put the Bison up 15-14 with 32.4 seconds left to play.

Not a team to give up, Fairview played hard to the final whistle, but the last pass of the game fell incomplete in the end zone, and Fairview suffered the loss 15-14. The Aggies will host East Lawrence next week at a site to be determined.

 

OFFENSIVE STATS

QB Regan Ashley

12 for 17

84 yards

touchdown

 

WR Sambo Woods

6 catches

36 yards

 

WR Noah Garnett

1 catch

16 yards

touchdown

 

DEFENSIVE STATS

DB Sambo Woods

tackle for loss

interception

touchdown

 

DB Regan Ashley

tackle for loss

 

LB Garett Dunn

tackle for loss

half sack

 

LB Eric Taylor

half sack

 

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