In a battle of one-win teams, host Fairfield came back strong to soundly defeat York Tech 36-14 on Friday night. Both teams are building and showing improvement, but the Knights handled Tech up front to control the game.
Things did not look so good for Fairfield 12 seconds into the game. The Spartans’ Zach Driver took the opening kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown to give his team much early energy. The Knights stuffed the two-point conversion attempt, and then set up for their own drive.
Helped by an out-of-bounds kick and an offsides penalty, Fairfield got things going at its own 40. Quarterback Zach Myers hit Andrew Koons for first down yardage, then the Knights pounded the ball into the line eight plays in a row. The drive was highlighted by a conversion on 4th-and-1, then a 16-yard carry down to the 9-yard line by standout Peyton Stadler where he refused to be tackled. Stadler did the honors on the next play with a run to paydirt. Myers hit Dylan Hanvey for the two-point conversion, and the Knights had the lead and the momentum.
“Peyton is a leader with such a positive attitude,” said Fairfield coach Jason Thurston. “He’s directing traffic on both sides of the ball. He’s cramping up and saying, ‘Coach, I’m good, I’m good.’ We’re very lucky to have him.”
On the Spartans first actual possession, they moved the ball to the Fairfield 27-yard line. On consecutive plays defensive tackle Carr Baker dropped York Tech quarterback Jamar Johnson for a three-yard loss, a two-yard loss, and then he and Stadler laid out Driver. Another loss on fourth down forced a turnover on downs.
“Carr transferred here from Francis Scott Key in Maryland, and the kid is just fifth gear with everything he does,” Thurston said. “He goes full tilt. It’s been good having him around to spread that.”
Stadler carried the ball 16 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including a 20-yard pass completion from Myers midway through the second quarter. On that drive, Stadler carried the ball for 16, then 17 yards, then hauled in a perfect pass from Myers for the score. At the half, Fairfield led 15-6.
As the half ended, Stadler went down with leg cramps but came out like gangbusters in the second half, gaining 43 yards on a stalled drive to open the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Fairfield take control of the line of scrimmage and thus the ballgame. After Stadler recovered a Spartan fumble at midfield, the Knights marched 53 yards in six plays for a score. Myers floated a beautiful arc right into the waiting arms of Cody Valentine in the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing Tech possession, Fairfield had Johnson stopped for a loss, but while he was going down he had the presence of mind to toss the ball to Hunter Sommer who dashed past the mass of Knights to go 60 yards for the Spartans’ final score.
Fairfield came right back however, with three impressive consecutive carries by Valentine. He had a great run of 32 yards, then carried for 20 more to the 9-yard line before taking it in from there on the next play. Valentine ran for 99 yards on 12 carries for the night.
“Cody really stepped up tonight,” Thurston said. “We’ve been waiting for that. Sometimes he is a little hesitant when he runs the ball, but tonight he was full speed ahead, making decisive cuts and breaking tackles. It was so fun to see. And our line was tough. We tried to grind them down, so I think we did that in the fourth quarter.”
The Knight defense stacked York Tech up deep in their own territory with three minutes to go in the game, and then turned it over on downs at the Tech 34. Two minutes later, Stadler put the icing on the cake with a 12-yard dash to the end zone for the game’s final score.
Fairfield is now 2-4 and will likely end its year with a game against Littlestown next week.
York Tech 6 0 0 8 — 14
Fairfield 8 7 0 21 — 36
YT- Zach Driver 85 kickoff return (run failed) 11:48
F- Peyton Stadler 9 run (Dylan Hanvey pass from Stadler) 7:27
F- Stadler 20 pass from Myers (Jake Myers kick) 4:03
F- Cody Valentine 34 pass from Myers (Myers kick) 10:53
YT- Hunter Sommer 60 run (Chris Nieves run) 10:49
F- Valentine 9 run (Myers kick) 9:29
F- Stadler 12 run (Myers kick) :39
First Downs 9 15
Rushes-Yards 38-180 36-256
Passing 2-7-1 9-15-0
Passing Yards 8 109
Total Yards 188 365
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0
Punting 1-32.0 3-35.3
Penalties 6-50 8-91
Rushing: YT- Jamar Johnson 13-34, Sommer 5-77, JoJo Nieves 9-68, Driver 9-6, Chris Nieves 1-(-1), Team 1 (-4); F- Joel Miller 1-8, Stadler 16-143, Myers 4-3, Valentine 12-99, Tyler Wivell 2-4, Dominic Smitley 1-(-1).
Passing: YT- Johnson 2-7-8-1; F- Myers 8-14-87-0, Andrew Koons 1-1-22-0.
Receiving: YT- Driver 1-1, Ron Lake 1-7; F- Koons 3-15, Stadler 1-20, Nathan Roberts 2-37, Valentine 2-37.