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Dragons return to victory

PEDRO — Election night came early for the Fairland Dragons, and they enjoyed many happy returns.

The Dragons used a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns and two long touchdown plays to outscore the Rock Hill Redmen 48-25 Friday in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both teams.

“We just got bodies on people and (the return men) hit the seams,” said Fairland coach Roger Snyder. “When Matt (Bloomfield) and Aaron (Ward) get free you’re not going to catch them.”

It marked the first win for the Dragons who lost four heartbreakers to start the season before being idle last week.

Rock Hill took an 8-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Corey Bamer and a two-point conversion run by Steve Lewis.

But the Dragons used a 96-yard kickoff return by Bloomfield and Blayne Cornwell’s conversion run to tie the game.

“We came out, got a turnover and scored, and then they return a kickoff. But for the most part we were able to respond to adversity. We’re getting better,” said Redmen coach Todd Knipp.

The Redmen (0-6) regained the lead with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Will McCollister to Mitchell Davenport. Cody Massie’s kick had the Redmen up 15-8

But Cornwell broke loose on a 66-yard scoring jaunt and the game was tied at 15-15.

Ward caught a 5-yard TD pass from Cole Hatfield but the conversion kick was blocked.

Rock Hill took a 22-21 lead with a 12-yard scoring pass from McCollister to Davenport.

But as quickly as Rock Hill got the lead, it evaporated as Ward ran back the kickoff 80 yards and it was 27-22.

“We relaxed a little bit on the kickoffs and their kids made some big plays,” said Redmen coach Todd Knipp.

The Redmen cut the deficit to 27-25 on a 30-yard field goal by Cody Massie.

“We gave up a couple of big plays and lost our momentum. We couldn’t get anything going offensively the second half,” said Knipp.

The momentum swung starting with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Hatfield to Ward.

Chad Fisher then returned an interception 40 yards to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Blayne Cornwell.

Tyler Thackston recovered a Rock Hill fumble at the 4-yard line and the Dragons took it from there on a 2-yard run by Matt Bloomfield. Nate Burcham tacked on his fifth conversion kick of the game and the lead was 48-25.

“Rock Hill came out ready to lay and they made plays. We balanced them out and then we made some adjustments and in the second half we just played better defensively,” said Snyder.

The Redmen were missing running back and cornerback Josh Malone with an injury.

Fairland 15 12 21 0 = 48

Rock Hill 15 10 0 0 = 25

First Quarter

RH – Corey Bamer 5 run (Steve Lewis run)

Fa – Matt Bloomfield 96 kickoff return (Blayne Cornwell run)

RH – Mitchell Davenport 7 pass from Will McCollister (Cody Massie kick)

Fa – Blayne Cornwell 66 run (Nate Burcham kick)

Second Quarter

Fa – Aaron Ward 5 pass from Cole Hatfield (kick blocked)

RH – Mitchell Davenport 12 pass from Will McCollister (Massie kick)

Fa – Aaron Ward 80 kickoff return (run failed)

RH – Cody Massie 30 field goal

Third Quarter

Fa – Aaron Ward 64 pass from Cole Hatfield (Nate Burcham kick)

Fa – Blayne Cornwell 4 run (Nate Burcham kick)

Fa – Matt Bloomfield 2 run (Nate Burcham kick)

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Fa RH

First downs 18 14

Rushes-yards 37-187 29-28

Passing yards 180 202

Total yards 367 230

Cmp-Att-Int 7-14-0 16-32-1

Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-2

Penalties-yards 6-42 4-23

Punts-average xx xx

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Fairland: Blayne Cornwell 10-114, Matt Bloomfield 11-22, Cole Hatfield 6-22, Chad Fisher 4-13, Terry Duty 4-12, Eric Riley 2-4. Rock Hill: Corey Bamer 12-29, Coty Davis 3-15, Steve Lewis 3-9, Mitchell Davenport 1-1, Brian Cooper 1-1, C.J. Justice 1-minus 2, Will McCollister 8-minus 25.

PASSING–Fairland: Cole Hatfield 7-14-0 180. Rock Hill: Will McCollister 16-32-1 202.

RECEIVING–Fairland: Aaron Ward 3-111, Chad Fisher 2-47, Matt Bloomfield 2-22. Rock Hill: Mitchell Davenport 8-105, C.J. Justice 4-61, Jake Brown 3-26, Coty Davis 1-10.