By CAMDEN JOINER
The ‘Battle of 840’ trophy has found a new home, and it’s Fairview High School.
Last season, the Page High Patriots routed the Fairview High Yellowjackets 38-7 in the inaugural ‘Battle of 840’. This year’s game proved the difference a year can make.
After a game-tying field goal by Patriots’ kicker and Tennessee commit Brent Cimaglia, the final score boiled down to the last possession. Yellowjackets kicker Jeffrey Perez booted a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give Fairview a 13-10 victory.
“I wasn’t watching it,” Fairview sophomore quarterback Kam Harris-Lusk said. “I was down on the sideline praying that it’d go in. Everybody went crazy.”
Harris-Lusk said there was only one thing on his mind during the Yellowjackets’ final drive: “Don’t throw a pick.” He finished with 15-of-27 passes completed for 119 yards. He did not throw a pick.
After losing multiple offensive starters in the offseason, including quarterback Michael Magochy, Page struggled to drive the ball effectively.
“We’re so young right now in some key positions,” Patriots’ head coach Charles Rathbone said. “We’re gonna get better as the year goes on and we’re gonna have some growing pains, but eventually we’ll get to where we need to be.”
The Page Patriots finished the game with 109 rushing yards and quarterback Jacob Van Landingham tallied 172 yards passing. Will Pierce was Van Landingham’s favorite target, making six catches for 116 yards.
With the Patriots’ offense struggling, the turnover battle also played a key factor in their defeat. Page fumbled the ball three times, and it was recovered by the Yellowjackets twice. Fairview fumbled four times, but managed to recover all but one.
Another component in the Patriots’ eventual defeat was penalties. Page was penalized eight times for a total of 70 yards, while Fairview received only four penalties for 35 yards.
The final element to Fairview’s victory was time of possession. The Yellowjackets held the ball for over 28 minutes, while Page’s offense clocked in just under 17.
But like Page, Fairview also has some young players in important starting roles, including Harris-Lusk.
Both schools’ defensive units took full advantage of each team’s offensive inexperience. Most of the game was played between the 20-yard lines, featuring very little red zone opportunities.
The only touchdowns of the game were scored by Fairview’s Josh Ortiz and Page’s Derek Bittner.