Dragons torch Chesapeake
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Scoring on nearly every drive makes up for a great number of mistakes.
Fairland (4-3 overall, 2-0 Ohio Valley Conference) proved that Friday night with a 58-20 victory over Chesapeake (1-6, 1-1) on Homecoming at Jim Mayo Stadium.
The Dragons led just 22-20 at halftime after accumulating 85 yards in penalties and giving up 143 rushing yards to the disciplined Panthers, who weren't penalized and committed no turnovers in the first half.
The Dragons turned a close game into a rout of their arch-rivals in the first 1:55 of the third quarter. Evan Maddox's 3-yard touchdown run capped a three-play, 59-yard drive to begin the third quarter. Derik Willis's 26-yard return of an interception for a touchdown on Chesapeake's second play of the third quarter gave Fairland a 36-20 lead.
Chesapeake came back strong, with an eight-play drive to the Fairland 34, but senior linebacker Kyle Sowards made the first of his two interceptions to kill the threat. The Dragons needed just 21 seconds to score on an 8-yard run by Nathan Campbell to make it 44-20 and take the steam out of the upset-minded Panthers. Sowards later returned another pick 50 yards to set the score.
While Fairland's prolific spread offense racked up 428 yards, a defensive adjustment was the key to the 36-0 second half.Fairland plugged 6-foot-3, 290-pound junior tackle Matt McComas into its defensive front, stuffing Chesapeake's rushing attack.
"Matt McComas deserves a game ball," Fairland coach Cullen Homolka said. " He's a big boy. Our guys were able to make adjustments."
McComas was emotional after the game. He has battled an ankle injury since April and started the season slowly. His dad said this victory was huge for his.
"That ankle has really bothered him," said Todd McComas. "When he got in their tonight, he did a great job. The game changed. I'm proud of him."
Chesapeake's plan to run the ball, eat clock and keep Fairland off the field worked well in the first half. The Panthers finished the game with 261 rushing yards on 48 attempts, led by 124 yards on 20 carries by Chad Meadows. The second half, however, saw Chesapeake's starters break just one run of more than 10 yards, a 12-yard gain by Maccoy Brown.
Fairland, who entertains OVC power Coal Grove on Friday, scored on six of eight possessions to go with a pair of interception returns for scores. Quarterback Chance short was 15-for-17 for 220 yards and one touchdown.
"I'm proud of our kids," Homolka said. "They always play hard and they never quit. I tip my hat to Chesapeake, too. They were very physical. Everybody else has spread us out and thrown it. They ran at us and it took us two quarters to figure it out."
Chesapeake plays host to league rival South Point on Friday.