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Dragons rally to top Tolsia

GLENHAYES, W.Va. — Forget looks. It’s what’s inside that counts.

The Fairland Dragons’ 20-18 win over the Tolsia Rebels Saturday night may not have been pretty, but it was the inner beauty of the team’s desire to win that was the difference.

“It was ugly at times, but we did what we had to do to win. I’m pleased with the way the kids played,” said Fairland coach Dave Carroll.

Fairland (1-2) jumped out to a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game when Tanner Sowards ran 17 yards to cap a 3-play, 50-yard drive. The conversion pass failed.

Tolsia came back to tie the game on a 25-yard pass from Jacob Copley to Morgan Williamson with 6:36 on the clock. The kick failed and it was 6-6.

The Dragons regained the lead when Sowards intercepted a pass and set up a 14-yard run by Chad Fisher with 2:42 to go in the quarter and it was 12-6.

Fisher had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown only to be nullified by a penalty.

Neither team scored in the second quarter but Tolsia (1-2) tied the game with 4:56 left in the third quarter on a 5-yard run by Copley. On the pivotal extra point, Fairland’s Aaron Adkins blocked the kick and the game remained tied.

The Rebels took their first lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run by Virgil Salmons. This time the conversion failed as the Dragons’ Adam Lee made the tackle short of the goal line.

“I can’t say enough about what Adam means to this defense,” said Dragons’ defensive coordinator Jeff Gorby. “Aaron Adkins played his tail off. We had some kids grow up tonight.”

Fairland’s Sam Nelson came up with a big play as he returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Tolsia 30-yard line.

“We put in a new kick return this week and it set up the winning touchdown drive,” said Carroll.

Sowards did the bulk of the work until Fisher carried the final 4 yards for the tying touchdown with 7:07 to play. Sowards ran for the conversion and Fairland had a 20-18 lead.

“I told Tanner we were going to ride him and we did. He carried every time but the one Fisher scored on. He had a great game,” said Carroll.

Sowards finished with 117 yards on 13 carries as Fairland ran for 172 as a team. Fisher added 47 yards on 15 attempts and was 2-of-5 passing for 26 yards.

Copley ran for 84 yards and Ryan Salmons 52 as Tolsia finished with 176 yards on the ground and 221 overall.

On the down side, the Dragons lost tailback Eric Riley for the season with a broken collarbone.

Fairland 12 0 0 8 = 20

Tolsia 6 0 6 6 = 18

First Quarter

Fa — Tanner Sowards 17 run (pass failed) 10:50

To — Morgan Williamson 25 pass from Jacob Copley (kick failed) 6:36

Fa — Chad Fisher 14 run (kick failed) 2:42

Third Quarter

To — Jacob Copley 5 run (kick blocked) 4:56

Fourth Quarter

To — Virgil Salmons 5 run (run failed) 11:55

Fa — Chad Fisher 4 run (Tanner Sowards run) 7:07

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Fa Tol

First downs 12 14

Rushes-yards 31-172 55-176

Passing yards 26 45

Total yards 198 221

Cmp-Att-Int 2-5-0 4-12-3

Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0

Penalties-yards 3-20 4-30

Punts-average 1-20.0 0-00.0

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Fairland: Tanner Sowards 13-117, Chad Fisher 15-47, Evan Maddox 3-8. Tolsia: Jacob Copley 25-84, Ryan Salmons 18-52, Cody Duvall 8-32, Terry Davis 2-2, Virgil Salmons 2-6.

PASSING—Fairland: Chad Fisher 25-0 26; Tolsia: 4-12-3 45.

RECEIVING—Fairland: Tanner Sowards 1-11, Jonathon Holbrook 1-15; Tolsia: Morgan Williams 1-25, Terry Davis 1-9, Cody Duvall 1-6, Ryan Salmons 1-5.