Fairview to play for state title
WESTWOOD, Ky. -- It was a historic night for the Fairview Eagles football team Friday, as a 40-6 romp over defending Class A champion Hazard has the Eagles playing for the first state title in school history.
Fairview (14-0), coached by former Marshall University offensive lineman Nathan McPeek, will play Mayfield (13-1) Friday, Nov. 30, at noon in Bowling Green, Ky., for the Class A crown. Mayfield advanced with a 35-14 win over Beechwood.
The Eagles dominated from start to finish, punishing the Hazard (9-4) defense with runs up the middle from fullback Chris Brewer, then going to jet sweeps from Elijah King and Devon Turner, who had wide open running lanes for big chunks of yards.
King finished with a game-high 182 yards and three touchdowns.
"Coach had a system and told us to believe in the system, and I think we did," King said. "We even had T-shirts on that said 'I believe.'"
On defense, Fairview took away the passing game from Hazard quarterback Evan Whitaker, who has passed for more than 2,500 yards on the season.
Whitaker wasn't under much pressure, but his receivers were getting hit hard every time they went up for the ball, and the vertical passing game became a non-factor.
"We did a good job of hitting, we're a physical ball club and that's what we do," McPeek said. "We try to get to the point to were we're the most physical team on the field and we did that tonight."
Fairview rushed for 449 yards and didn't attempt a pass.
The first break of the game actually went Hazard's way. On the opening kickoff, the Bulldogs sent a squib that bounced off an Eagles player, and Hazard recovered.
However, on an completed pass for a first down, Jordan Olinger was hit and fumbled, and the Eagles pounced on the ball.
From there, King would break off a 26-yard touchdown run.
Hazard had a chance to go into the half down only 20-6, but Chris Perkins blocked a punt in the waning seconds of the second quarter, and Tanner Dolen recovered the ball in the end zone to put the Eagles up 26-6.
Hazard never really threatened again, and Fairview continued its steady play of feeding the ball up the middle and then around the wings as the points mounted.
The stadium did get quiet at one point in the first half when Turner went down with an injury. He eventually returned to the game, but only got one carry in the second half.
"He got a little banged up, but he's all right," McPeek said. "I don't think he's going to want to miss the state championship game."
After the game, students tore down the goal post and players brought pieces of it to midfield, as all of Westwood was united in celebration of an achievement the community has never seen before. In fact, the Eagles had never made it to the semifinals before this season.
"We made history last week, and we did it again this week," King said. "Westwood is going crazy and I love it.
"Now we have to go to Bowling Green and prove we should be number one in the state and get it done."
HAZARD 0 6 0 0 -- 6
FAIRVIEW 14 12 6 12 -- 40
F -- King 26 run (Turner run).
F -- Turner 7 run (conversion failed).
F -- KIng 45 run (conversion failed).
H -- Arnett 14 run (kick failed).
F -- Dolen recovered blocked kick (conversion failed)
F -- King 25 run (conversion failed).
F -- Rutherford 29 run (conversion failed).
Total yards 205 449
First downs 11 19
Rushes-yards 28-161 57-449
Comp-Att-Int 8-24-2 0-0-0
Passing yards 44 0
Penalties-Yds 3-17 2-15
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-2
RUSHING -- HAZ: Arnett 9-55, Jones 9-56; Olinger, 7-20; Higgins, 2-3; Whitaker, 7-25; Bennett, 1-1. FAIR: King 13-182, Brewer 22-122; Turner, 11-57, Dolen, 4-21; Rutherford, 2-37, Wardle, 1-2; Sesher, 1-4; Smith, 2-21.
PASSING -- HAZ: Whitaker 8-24-2, 44 yards.
RECEIVING -- HAZ: Olinger 6-45; Hudson, 2-11; Jones, 1-minus 1.