Fairland soars to easy, season-opening victory at Tolsia
GLENHAYES, W.Va. — The Fairland Dragons (1-0) made the windy trip south on U.S. 52 from Rome Township, Ohio, to Glen Hayes, West Virginia, worthwhile as they spoiled Tolsia’s (0-1) home opener in a 42-0 rout of Rebels the opening night of high school football.
Fairland quarterback Joel Lambiotte connected with fellow senior Reilly Sowards for a 62-yard touchdown strike just 10 seconds into the contest, and from that point on, it was all Fairland. Lambiotte finished 11 for 16 for 251 yards and six touchdowns, four of them in the first half.
Tolsia had little offensive rhythm. Its best chance at a score came on its second drive of the game, when a botched snap on fourth down turned into a footrace down the middle of the field. Quarterback Peyton Watts picked up the bad snap and ran 80 yards, only to be caught from behind by the Dragons’ Gavin Hunt prior to reaching the goal line. Hunt forced a fumble and prevented the touchdown.
Fairland head coach Melvin Cunningham said that play set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We didn’t quit,” Cunningham said of his team. “Hunt, a sophomore, was able to run a senior quarterback down and force a fumble out of the back of the end zone after a bad snap. And that’s the culture we’re around every day. It could’ve been a different game at 7-7 then.”
The offense wasn’t quite as potent for the Rebels as it was for the Dragons. Tolsia crossed into Fairland territory just three times on six first-half drives, amassing just 92 yards of total offense compared to Fairland’s 181.
Fairland led the Rebels 28-0 at the half.
The Dragons locked down defensively in the second half, forcing turnovers on each of the first three drives while the Fairland offense extended the lead to 42 by the end of the third quarter.
Lambiotte had a field day in the pocket, playing from a comfort zone provided by the offensive line. He said the game went exactly as planned.
“It was all done studying the pregame film. We knew what we were getting into and they lined up exactly how we thought they were going to,” Lambiotte said. “I had no stress in the pocket whatsoever. I owe (the line) a steak now or something because they did a great job.”
For the Rebels, it was a night to forget. After giving up nearly 300 yards of total offense, Tolsia was outsized, outmatched and outplayed in nearly every statistical category.
“We just have to keep playing,” Rebel head coach Eric Crum said. “We knew Fairland had a good team coming in and we are very young in key positions, and they struggled in those roles tonight.”
Tolsia (0-1) will play its first road game of the season next week when it heads to Buffalo. Fairland plays its home opener against Athens.
FAIRLAND 14 14 14 0 — 42
TOLSIA 0 0 00 — 0
F - Sowards 68 pass from Lambiotte (Bruce kick)
F - Ramey 29 pass from Lambiotte (Bruce kick)
F - Soward 48 pass from Loambiotte (Bruce kick)
F - Stitt 33 pass from Lambiotte (Bruce kick)
F - Sowards 8 pass from Lambiotte (Bruce kick)
F - West 47 pass from Lambiotte (Bruce kick)
Total yards 296 180
First downs 7 11
Rushes-yds 13-45 49-182
Comp-Att-Int 16-11-1 1-1-0
Passing yards 251 minus-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-4
RUSHING — F: Lambiotte 3-16, Stitt 5-8; T: Watts 13-114, Crum 17-61, Copley 6-33.
PASSING — F: Lambiotte 11-16-1, 251 yards; T: Copley 1-1-0, minus-2 yards.
RECEIVING — F: Sowards 5-124.