Story and Photos by WES SPARKMON
With 20 seconds left in regulation, fullback David McNeil gave Fairview coach Chris Hughes a cherished birthday present with a 1-yard plunge to give the Yellowjackets a 42-38 victory over Cheatham County. The win keeps the Jackets undefeated on the season.
“They weren’t stopping us; we were stopping ourselves,” said Hughes. “Lot of emotions, but a lot of disappointment that it took that at the end to finish a game I felt like we should’ve dominated.”
With a capacity homecoming crowd, the Yellowjackets started the scoring early.
Midway through the first quarter, senior Hunter Caldwell opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown plunge.
Cheatham County quickly responded with their option attack ripping off a 50-yard touchdown run, but a missed PAT set the score after the first quarter at 7-6. A long Fairview drive would again end with a rushing touchdown, this time by senior Jake Beathard.
After the Cubs added a touchdown pass to close the margin once again, Fairview responded with a late drive that finished with quarterback Kam Harris-Lusk completing a touchdown pass to Beathard and send the teams into the locker room with Fairview holding the 21-12 advantage.
On their first drive of the second half, Fairview went back to the ground game. After Caldwell and Beathard both had big runs to move the Yellowjackets into the red zone, Harris-Lusk called his own number from 11 yards out for the touchdown.
After another Cheatham County response, Khristian Harris-Lusk set up the Fairview offense inside the Cubs’ 10-yard line. Two plays later, Beathard scored once again to make it 35-24 Jackets.
The plucky Cubs responded yet again to close the margin. Fairview looked to be marching for another response, but Cheatham County forced a fumble on its own 1-yard line. The turnover would lead to another Cub touchdown and their first successful two-point conversion to close the margin to a mere three points.
On their next drive, Kam Harris-Lusk was picked off for the first time on the season. The play-action pass by the Cubs gave them their first lead of the night, 38-35. The end of the first half repeated itself in the second half, as the Jackets drove into the red zone. With 20 seconds left, David McNeil put the Jackets back on top for good. On the final play of the game, Khristian Harris-Lusk intercepted Landon Barnes to seal the Fairview victory.
“Our defense has got to get better,” Hughes stated. “We’ve got to be more physical, and our offense has to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We’ve got to bounce back and get better at the little things.”
The win keeps Fairview undefeated and on top of Region 6-3A. The Yellowjackets will head on the road next week to regional rival Sycamore, which sits at 4-3, 1-2 in 6-3A.