In a game that started off as a scare, Fairview ended up looking like its finally in midseason form on Friday night.
After falling behind 7-0, Fairview put up 44 straight points on its way to defeating Paintsville 44-7 in the teams’ district opener at Fairview Stadium.
Eagles head coach Nathan McPeek said despite the quick deficit, he believes it was his team’s most complete effort.
“To be honest I thought that was our best performance of the season,” McPeek said. “Some people will think it’s a typical Paintsville team, but they are improved. I thought we played really well.”
The game didn’t start off well for Fairview after Paintsville took the opening kickoff 55 yards to the Fairview 30-yard line.
Three plays later, Paintsville found itself up 7-0 just 27 seconds into the game after quarterback Mark Fannin hit receiver Matt Miller in the end zone from seven yards out.
On the ensuing Fairview drive, Paintsville forced the Eagles into a three-and-out and the Tigers’ sideline was starting to think upset.
“I think our kids came out excited to play,” Paintsville coach Joe Chirico said. “They wanted this opportunity, and it was exciting to start the game.”
After the opening drive, Fairview’s defense cracked down, holding Paintsville scoreless for the rest of the game.
The Tigers couldn’t even sniff the end zone, as the Fairview defense didn’t allow Paintsville to move the ball into the red zone. The closest the Tigers got was the Fairview 43-yard line.
“After that first drive we said no more,” said Fairview junior Armonde Yetts. “No more touchdowns and no more yards. We did what we had to do.”
With the defense keeping the ball in check, the Fairview backfield contributed three 100-yard rushers.
Sophomore Tanner Dolen led the way with 121 yards on 10 carries. Freshman Kurtlen Brown had 121 yards and two touchdowns, while Yetts finished with 100 yards and three touchdowns.
And at some point in the game all three running backs broke off runs that totaled more than 30 yards.
“All three of those guys have different skill sets,” McPeek said. “And I thought our offensive line did an outstanding job tonight. (Paintsville) was lining up in different looks and we did a good job handling it.”
With the loss of junior running back/defensive back Isaiah King with a broken collarbone, the trio of Dolen, Yetts and Brown have more than picked up the slack.
Yetts admits there has been some competition about who will be the one getting in the end zone.
“We’re all looking to touch the end zone,” Yetts said with a laugh. “I’m happy we all got our yards tonight. Our line blocked well and I thought we did a good job with our cuts and making our reads as well.”
While the running backs had all the yards, it was quarterback Alex Roy who had the most impressive run.
On fourth-and-one with the game tied 7-7, the coaching staff called for a simple quarterback sneak. Roy ran five yards and found there was no defenders around him.
He then beat the Paintsville defense in a foot race to complete the 23-yard touchdown run — the longest of his career.
“It’s only designed to get a first down and it really surprised me when their defense was still moving around,” Roy said. “I just saw a hole and I took it. I had a lot of adrenaline going afterwards, but it felt good.”
The win is Fairview’s 28th straight regular season win and it sets up a huge district showdown with rival Raceland.
In what many in the area are calling the biggest game of the year, the Eagles aren’t overlooking the importance of the game with the Rams.
“It’s probably the biggest game on the eastern side of the state,” Roy said. “It’s going to be huge, and our team is ready for this whole week for them.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2658.