The biggest game of the year so far will take place Friday at Fair Grove when the Eagles will host their biggest rival, the Strafford Indians. Both teams are 5-0 and undefeated in Mid-Lake Conference play.
The contest is probably for the league championship although the Indians still have to travel to Skyline the following week. It’s Fair Grove’s last conference game, however, so if the Eagles win, they’re in. The winner also will no doubt get the top seed in the district tournament following the regular season.
“Strafford has a big senior class with a lot of three-year starters,” Fair Grove Coach Bill Voorhis said. “Everything is on the line Friday night.”
In the meantime, Fair Grove took care of business again Friday night, Sept. 21. The Eagles recorded their fourth shutout in five games, beating the Stockton Tigers 42-0 at Stockton’s Price Stadium.
The Eagles (5-0, 3-0 Mid-Lakes Conference) got on the board at 6:42 of the first quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rhett Hill to Cole Gilpin. The extra-point pass was intercepted by Stockton.
The Tigers had their best chance to score on the ensuing drive. Freshman quarterback Layne Colvin connected with senior Jacob Greenlee for a 62-yard pass to the Fair Grove 18-yard line. A couple of negative plays set up a third-and-22 situation at the 30 as the Eagle defense rallied. Colvin then threw a lateral pass in the right flat, but there were no teammates in the area. Eagle junior Bryce Thornton scooped up the loose ball and scampered 65 yards for a touchdown. Junior Hale Beckley ran in the 2-point play for a 14-0 lead.
From there, senior Elijah Young took control for the Eagles, scoring three touchdowns on runs of 25 and 11 yards and a 70-yard reception from Hill. The 11-yard score was set up by a 74-yard return of the second-half kickoff by senior Cayden Stacye.
Young finished with 103 rushing yards on seven attempts and two TDs, and he caught two passes for 78 yards and one TD. Josh Thompson also scored on a 50-yard punt return.
Hill was six-of-nine passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns and rushed five times for 44 yards. Beckley added 24 yards on five carries. Altogether, Fair Grove amassed 380 yards of offense, 303 of those coming in the first half as the latter two quarters were played in turbo-clock.
“We try to spread the ball around,” Eagles coach Bill Voorhis said. “There’s only one football to go around, but the guys are pretty unselfish and happy for their teammates when they do well. It’s a good thing.”
The lone bright spot for Stockton (0-5, 0-3) was the passing of Colvin to Greenlee. Colvin was 9-of-19 for 173 yards, with Greenlee grabbing six balls for 146 yards.
Voorhis also gave Stockton a lot of credit for controlling the ball late in the second quarter and in the third quarter.
“We didn’t get the ball much,” he said, noting that Stockton played better than it had the previous couple of games.
The one sore spot from a Fair Grove perspective was in penalties. The Eagles were flagged eight times for 80 yards compared to Stockton’s five flags for 34 yards.
“We can’t keep putting ourselves behind the eight-ball, especially on the offensive side,” Voorhis said.