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Tough-luck Dragons fall to Senators, 19-13

WEST PORTSMOUTH — Give the Fairland Dragons an “A” for effort. Give them a shamrock and hope their luck will change.

The Dragons were victimized by numerous injuries and bad breaks as they lost the season opener 19-13 Friday night.

But through all their problems, Fairland head coach Brent Wilcoxon said his team refused to quit.

“It was a gutsy performance. We had so many banged up kids and so many things go against us, it was a tribute to have a shot to win,” Wilcoxon said.

Two key injuries were to fullbacks and linebackers Jordan Kersey and Blayne Cornwell.

“We had a bunch a little injuries. We didn’t have Kersey the second half and we didn’t have Cornwell after the first quarter. They play the same position, so we had guys who weren’t sure what to do,” said Wilcox on.

“A lot of the guys who were out were on special teams. We have backups, but we were down to the three and four guy.”

Besides those problems, the Dragons had a couple of possible touchdowns called back.

Fairland returned a fumble for a touchdown on the third play of the game only to be nullified by a penalty.

The Dragons also threw an apparent 30-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the half to Michael Lamb, but the score was waved off when an official away from the play ruled the ball hit the ground.

West took a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Mark Murphy. Ethan Morgan booted the extra point.

Murphy, who finished with 116 yards on 13 carries, bolted 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and it was 13-0.

But Fairland answered with a 19-yard scoring run by Matt Bloomfield to trail 13-6.

With several players missed from the punt return team due to injuries, Travis Journey took advantage of the situation to run back a punt 48 yards and it was 19-6.

Cole Hatfield hit Chad Fisher with a 14-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter and Don Ntonolo’s conversion kick cut the deficit to 19-13.

Hatfield finished 18 of 31 for 200 yards but was intercepted three times.

The Dragons had just 63 yards rushing while West racked up 229.

The win marked the successful debut of Merril Triplett Jr. as the Senators head coach.

Fairland0067=13

Ports. West7066=19

First Quarter

PW - Mark Murphy 5 run (Ethan Morgan kick)

Third Quarter

PW - Murphy 66 run (kick failed)

Fa - Matt Bloomfield 19 run (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

PW - Travis Journey 48 punt return (kick failed)

Fa - Chad Fisher 14 pass from Cole Hatfield (Don Ntonolo kick)

—————

FaPW

First downs1516

Rushes-yards26-6343-229

Passing yards20059

Total yards263268

Cmp-Att-Int18-31-34-9-1

Fumbles-lost1-02-1

Penalties-yards11-8512-75

Individual Leaders

RUSHING-Fairland: Jordan Kersey 7-26, Matt Bloomfield 5-25, Cole Hatfield 9-10, Blayne Cornwell 2-7, Tyler Duty 3-minus 5. Portsmouth West: Matt Murphy 13-116, Dale Swords 15-86, Ethan Morgan 9-18, Travis Journey 2-8, Alfie Bricker 3-3, Drew Piatt 1-minus 2.

PASSING-Fairland: Cole Hatfield 18-31-3 200. Portsmouth West: Alfie Bricker 4-9-1 59

RECEIVING-Fairland: Chad Fisher 7-69, Michael Lamb 5-66, Matt Bloomfield 4-65, Jordan Kersey 1-2, Tyler Duty 1-minus 2. Portsmouth West: Dale Swords 1-19, Travis Journey 2-14, Drew Piatt 1-13.