Note: This sports recap appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 11 newspaper on Page B2.
OAK HILL — Last week against Chesapeake, Oak Hill couldn’t contain and control the edges.
While it did a better job doing so on Friday, it couldn’t stop Fairland’s big play ability.
Whether it was a trick play, deep pass or a special teams play, Fairland found the endzone repeatedly on its way to a 42-21 victory over the Oaks on Friday.
“Fairland is a really good football team with a nice amount of athleticism,” Oak Hill coach Paul Carver said. “We did a good job stopping the short stuff, but they made big chunk plays on third and fourth down that we couldn’t stop.”
After Fairland’s defense forced a punt on Oak Hill’s opening drive, its offense went to work.
Max Ward connected with Gavin Hunt on a 40-yard completion, Zander Schmidt called his own number three plays later and scored from four yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, Oak Hill’s Conor Dickens came up with a redzone interception that gave the Oaks the ball back on their own 8-yard line.
However, the Dragons made their own play and Michael Stitt intercepted the third down pass, taking it 13 yards for the house for the touchdown for a 14-0 game.
The Oaks had answer back in them though. Staying true to their running attack, it got them all the way to the Fairland 9-yard line.
They pulled a fast one and Isaac Morgan found a wide open Alec Morgan in the endzone for the touchdown pass, cutting the lead down to 14-7.
“Offensively our style is to run the ball and wear teams down physically,” Carver said. “It worked on that drive. But it has to be more than one drive we do that. We have guys going both offensively and defensively, and we have to keep our defense off the field to give them a chance to catch their breath.”
Yet Fairland had a little razzle-dazzle play up its sleeve. Typically when Schmidt was in the game, it meant a running play was imminent.
But they switched it up to run a flea flicker, which worked out to perfection as Schmidt found Hunt for the 23-yard touchdown to put the Dragons ahead 21-7 at halftime.
“We have to do a better job of recognizing and reacting to the situation a lot better moving forward,” Carver said. “After a play like that happens, you just have to keep punching back and stop feeling sorry for yourself because they aren’t going to.”
Stitt already made his presence felt with the pick six, but he was just getting started.
After Fairland sacked Oak Hill on fourth down to get the ball, Stitt later took a handoff, broke three tackles before cutting back inside and racing 20 yards to paydirt.
Later in the game, Hunt called his own number from under center and scored from 13 yards out for a 35-7 lead.
The Oaks got back on the board with a 10-yard touchdown run from Triston Diltz, only for Stitt to take the kickoff back 67 yards for a touchdown, his third score of the game.
Jacob Turner rounded out the final score with a 3-yard touchdown run with a minute left for the Oaks.
“We had some injuries and guys stepped up, even under these circumstances,” Carver said. “They made the most of their chances despite the deficit.”
Oak Hill is back in action at home Friday against Rock Hill.
“We have to start faster offensively, and play with more confidence,” Carver said. “Us and Rock Hill are very similar in terms of our style offensively so it should be a good one.”