Dragons come up short in D6 regional championship
BEVERLY — The Fairland Dragons playoff run and state title hopes were snatched Saturday night at the hands of Fort Frye at Cadet Stadium in a one-sided matchup.
Fort Frye will advance as the Region 23 champions to play in the state semifinals where they will face Springfield for a chance to go to the state championship.
The Cadets jumped out early on the Dragons after they set the tone early with a quick forced punt on their first defensive series, then scored in three plays after three straight carries by Brain Adkins for 51 yards and the score.
The next several possessions were similar as Fort Frye took a commanding 20-0 first quarter lead with another 3-yard touchdown by Adkins and a 47-yard touchdown by Owen Brown.
Fairland struggled upfront as their defensive line could not manage to set the edge, but give the Cadets credit as they were strong and fundamental in their approach.
Fairland Coach Melvin Cunningham gave praise and learned from their postseason experience in the loss.
“First of all, I have to say how proud I am of this team, but we lost to a great football team and you have to tip your hat to Fort Frye and their coaching staff,” said Cunningham.
“But this has been a great process for us. We achieved things that we haven’t achieved and it also showed us things that we need to improve and it starts in the weight room.”
The Dragons were unable to get a ground game established on offense as well, but did move it through the air as Max Ward finished with 195 passing yards on 13 of 25 attempts.
Ward threw Fairland’s only touchdown of the game to Gavin Hunt in the second quarter and Emma Marshall kicked the point after kick.
Hunt finished the game with five catches for 120 yards.
Fort Frye didn’t slow down at all in the first half as they ran jet sweep after jet sweep around each edge with a counter off tackle to mix it up.
Their mix of running backs made it difficult to stop as their top three rushers each averaged over 8 yards per carry.
Maeson Long led the Cadets in rushing with 10 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cadets added three more scores before the half and took control of the game with a score of 41-7.
Long scored his first touchdown from 15 yards out, Ian Hicks threw a touchdown pass to Adkins for 52 yards, and Long scored again from 4 yards out for the last score in the half.
Adkins scored the game’s last touchdown in the middle of the third quarter from 7 yards away and put the Dragons away 47-7.
Fairland was 0-4 in the playoffs beginning this postseason, but are now 3-5 after victories over Rock Hill, Nelsonville-York, and Coal Grove.
“If I had to sum up these seniors, I would say resilient after what they have been through and what this program was when they started to what they were able to accomplish this season. I’m so proud of those guys and I hate that this season has to end,” Cunningham closed with on his graduating seniors.
Fairland 0 7 0 0 = 7
Fort Frye 21 20 6 0 = 47
FF – Brian Adkins 2 un (Zaiden Huck kick) 8:32
FF – Brian Adkins 5 run (kick failed) 4:56
FF – Owen Brown 48 run (Ian Ellis run) 2:51
FF – Maeson Long 14 run (run failed) 8:09
Fa – Gavin Hunt 69 pass from Max Ward (Emma Marshall kick) 7:52
FF – Brian Adkins 52 pass from Ian Ellis (pass failed) 7:37
FF – Maeson Long 6 run (Maeson Long run) 4:20
FF – Brian Adkins 7 run (run failed) 6:12
First downs 11 17
Rushes-yards 19-63 37-344
Passing yards 226 98
Total yards 289 442
Cmp-Att-Int 16-30-3 3-4-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 1-1 1-1
Punts-average 3-33.0 0-00.0
RUSHING —Fairland: Max Ward 6-20, J.D. Brumfield 9-16, Gavin Hunt 2-19, Tevin Taylor 1-7, Zander Schmidt 1-1; Fort Frye: Brian Adkins 12-111, Maeson Long 11-124, Collin Welsh 5-35, Ian Ellis 1-3, Owen Brown 3-59, Jonathon Garvin 2-7, Ethan Duskey 1-5, Austin Powell-1-2, Stone Dixon 1-minus 2.
PASSING — Fairland: Max Ward 13-25-2 194 TD, Peyton Jackson 3-5-1 32; Fort Frye: Ian Ellis 3-4-1 98.
RECEIVING — Fairland: Gavin Hunt 5-120 TD, Zander Schmidt 2-7, Tevin Taylor 1-6, Steeler Leep 5-59, J.D. Brumfield 1-4, Brycen Hunt 2-30; Fort Frye: Brian Adkins 1-52 TD, Owen Brown 1-33, Jaymison Baker 1-13.
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