Fairland A Team wins state football championship
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Fairland drove farther than any team to play for a middle school football state championship and the Dragons brought home the trophy.
The Dragons A team squad won the Ohio Athletic Committee age 12-under Division III state title last week in Sandusky, Ohio. Fairland, which traveled five hours to the event on the shore of Lake Erie, defeated Rossford 36-7 and Ontario 18-14 before beating Perry 24-0 in the finals.
“The kids worked hard all year,” Dragons head coach Chad Graham said. “It was a great accomplishment and a great experience for them to win a state championship. This is a special group of kids.”
Graham has coached 13 years in the Fairland Youth Football League and guided this group of fifth-and sixth-graders since they were 7 years old. His son, C.J., wrestled in OAC events, so when Fairland received an invitation to play in the state football playoffs, Graham jumped at the opportunity.
“This is their 10th year for doing it in football, but the OAC has done state wrestling tournament for 30 years so I knew the quality of their events,” Graham said. “They do things top notch in the way they take care of the kids.”
The opening victory over Rossford gave the Dragons confidence. Fairland then held off Ontario, scoring 18 points on a team that gave up just 39 for the season. The Dragons stopped the Warriors on fourth down on the final play to secure the triumph.
Fairland put the championship game away early, as Kameron Kitts returned an interception for a touchdown, then after the Dragons forced a punt, Kitts ran for a TD.
“He helped us a lot,” Graham said of Kitts. “He’s a special athlete and a special kid.”
Fairland took the event seriously. Not only did the team travel the farthest, it brought more fans than any other squad and was the only team with cheerleaders.
The Dragons finished 13-0. Graham credited his players and assistant coaches Michael Kitts, Aaron Murray, Eric Woolum and Greg Callicoat.
“They work well as a team,” Graham said. “They play other sports, but work hard in the off-season, too. They love football and it’s a good group of kids who like each other.”
Along with C.J. Graham and Kameron Kitts, players included Eli Pine, Keegean Smith, Brandon Kirk, Harley Porter, Quentin Cremeans, Wyatt Callicoat, Jack Hayden, Timothy Webb, Davin Murray, Cooper Charles, Steven Perego, Will Callicoat, Jeffery Rowe, Dylan Stone, Brody Seals, Brayden Wiley, Ethan Stewart and Wesley Patrick.