Dragons turn to running game to beat Pointers

Published 7:24 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023

Fairland Dragons’ wide receiver Brycen Hunt (10) heads for the end zone after making this reception while South Point Pointers’ defensive back Brayden Hanshaw (12) gives chase. The Dragons won 35-13. (Josh Wilson Photography/Facebook)



SOUTH POINT — Instead of one if by land, two if by sea to warn against the British Invasion during the Revolutionary War, the Fairland Dragons usually prefer one if by pass and two if by run when they attempt to invade opposing defenses.

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The preferred choice for Fairland is the pass but the Dragons turned more to the running game on Friday as they beat the South Point Pointers 35-14 in a key battle for second place in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Dragons had to rely on the offensive line of center Dylan Stone, guards Will Callicoat and Garrett Cornwell and tackles Brandon Kirk and Ryan Dixon to jump start the running game and help the offense until the passing game got back into form.

“(South Point) did some things to take away the passing game,” said Fairland coach Mike Jackson.

“Linemen don’t get the recognition they deserve. We expect a lot out of them. We go so fast on offense and Kam ran hard, Quentin ran hard, Jack ran hard. People who tackle them don’t feel good the next day.”

Kam Kitts ran 17 times for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns, Quentin Cremeans 8 rushes for 38 yards, Jack Hayden 6 carries for 34 yards and quarterback Peyton Jackson had 9 carries for 40 yards as Fairland had 233 rushing yards.

Jackson was 9-of-15 passing for 146 yards and 2 scores with an interception as Fairland improved to 6-1 and 3-1 in the OVC.

South Point (4-3, 2-2) ran for 225 yards with Eli Wilburn running 25 Tims for 145 yards and a TD while Blaine Freeman had 17 attempts for 91 yards.

Backup quarterback Ethan Hunt was 5-of-9 for 65 yards and a touchdown. Hunt took over after the second play of the third quarter when starter Xathan Haney left with a shoulder injury.

South Point took a 6-0 lead on a 10-yard run by Wilburn with 4:22 left in the first quarter. The play capped a 52-yard8-play drive that followed a bizarre series of turnovers.

Brycen Hunt intercepted a pass deep in Fairland territory and returned it 31 yards only to be stripped of the ball and the Pointers recovered to set up their scoring drive.

But the Dragons answered in just 4 plays — all on the ground — as Kitts went one yard for the score. The short 26-yard drive was set up by Christian Collins’ 56-yard kickoff return.

Aeden Miller’s conversion kick put Fairland up 7-6 at the 3:14 mark.

Fairland began a drive at its own 40 and — after a 10-yard holding penalty — it spilled over into the second quarter and ended on a 21-yard pass to Hunt and it was 14-6 with 10:24 left in the half.

Another South Point punt resulted in a 70-yard, 9-play drive in which 8 of the plays came on the ground. Kitts went the final yard and it was 21-6 with 5:52 on the clock.

After Haney’s injury and another punt, Fairland went 82 yards in 7 plays with Jackson hitting Keegan Smith on a 25-yard scoring pass. Kitts ran for the conversion and it was 29-6 at the 7:04 mark.

South Point drew within 29-14 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hunt to Brayden Hanshaw on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hunt ran for the conversion.

Fairland appeared to be on another long scoring drive only to be top on fourth down at the Pointers’ 14.

But  on the Pointers’ second down play, Garrett Spence stripped the ball from the Pointers’ running back and Keegan Smith grabbed it at the 3-yard line and dove into the end zone for the score.

The conversion run failed and it was 35-14 with 9:10 to play and the outcome was virtually sealed.

Next Friday, Fairland will host Portsmouth and South Point travels to Chesapeake.

Fairland   7 14 8 6 = 35

South Point 6 0 0 8 = 14

First Quarter

SP — Eli Wilburn 10 run (kick failed) 4:22

Fa — Kam Kitts 1 run (Aeden Miller kick) 3:14

Second Quarter

Fa — Brycen Hunt 21 pass from Peyton Jackson (Aeden Miller kick) 10:24

Fa — Kam Kitts 1 run (Aeden Miller kick) 5:52

Third Quarter

Fa — Keegan Smith 25 pass from Peyton Jackson (Kam Kitts run) 7:04

Fourth Quarter

SP — Brayden Hanshaw 17 pass from Ethan Hunt (Ethan Hunt run) 11:54

Fa — Keegan Smith 3 fumble return (run failed) 9:10



First downs 14 15

Rushes-yards 40-233 56-225

Passing yards 146 69

Total yards 379 292

Cmp-Att-Int 9-15-1 6-13-1

Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-1

Penalties-yards 7-50 12-83

Punts-average 0-00.0 3-37.7


Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Fairland: Kam Kitts 17-121 2-TD, Quentin Cremeans 8-38, Peyton Jackson 9-40, Jack Hayden 6-34; South Point: Blaine Freeman 17-91, Gage Chapman 3-7, Eli Wilburn 25-145 TD, Xathan Haney 4-minus 12, Corey Otzenberger 2-3, Ethan Hunt 5-minus 11.

PASSING–Fairland: Peyton Jackson 9-15-1 146 2-TD; South Point: Xathan Haney 1-41- 4, Ethan Hunt 5-9-0 65 TD.

RECEIVING–Fairland: Brycen Hunt 5-99 TD, Christian Collins 1-10, Kam Kitts 1-5, Keegan Smith 2-32 TD; South Point: Brayden Hanshaw 4-61 TD, Eli Wilburn 2-8