Entering last Friday night’s football game down six offensive starters against a Clopton/Elsberry team that was averaging 36 points per game, Van-Far/Community R-VI head football coach Blake Logan knew he needed a creative game plan to help his team pull out a home victory.
The Indians coach gave lineman Anthony Fairchild an eligible number and made him the featured running back in a power offense with a goal of controlling the game clock.
His team executed the plan to perfection as they won the time of possession battle, 39:53, to Clopton/Elsberry’s 9:07 and cruised to a 28-12 victory.
Fairchild had 38 carries for 179 yards rushing, with 100 of them coming in the first half alone. He also had one touchdown on the ground. He caught one pass for a 10-yard touchdown late in the game.
“…The game plan was to keep them off the field and keep our defense off of the field,” Logan said. “…(Anthony) was an absolute workhorse Friday night, wearing down their defense by punishing tacklers.”
After their first drive of the game stalled on offense, the Indians’ defense came up with the first big play of the game when Jamie Householder recovered a fumble and returned it to the Indian-Hawks’ 15-yard line. Two plays later, Fairchild scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. His two-point run failed, keeping the lead at 6-0.
On the next series, the Indians’ defense forced a second turnover when Parker Wallace intercepted a pass at around the Indian-Hawks’ 35-yard line and returned it 10 yards.
Fairchild converted a fourth down with a one yard gain to keep the drive moving.
After Wallace completed a 10-yard pass to Householder to convert a third-and-long, Jacob Garner eventually scored on a one yard touchdown run. The conversion failed, keeping the score at 12-0.
Clopton/Elsberry’s offense began to gain some momentum on the last play of the first quarter after completing a 20-yard pass.
On the first play of the second quarter, their quarterback scored on a 36-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion run failed, trimming the Indians’ lead to 14-6.
It appeared the Van-Far/Community R-VI’s offense was going to respond on their next possession as Fairchild picked up a gain of 17 yards and 15 yards on back-to-back plays.
Unfortunately, their drive stalled on the Indian-Hawks’ 29-yard line.
Three plays later, Clopton/Elsberry’s quarterback scored on a 64-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion run failed, keeping the Indians in front, 14-12.
The Indians put together a drive of more than 50 yards right before halftime only to stall on the one yard line when Wallace was tackled on his attempt to plunge the ball into the endzone.
Van-Far/Community R-VI had 14 yards passing and 147 on the ground for 161 total yards of offense in the first half. The Indian-Hawks had 35 yards passing and 112 yards on the ground for 147 total yards in the first half.
Clopton/Elsberry turned the ball over for the third time early in the second half but the Indians were forced to punt the ball on fourth down.
The Indian-Hawks started their drive on their own 31 before their quarterback was tackled for no gain to stall on the Indians’ 19.
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s offense then took over the game by running the ball down the throat of Clopton/Elsberry.
They started the drive on their 19-yard line and ran the ball on 17 straight plays.
On the 18th play of the drive, Fairchild took the ball, pitched it to Wallace who completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt McDowell.
Fairchild’s two-point run pushed the lead to 22-12.
The Indians’ defense then forced the Indian-Hawks to turn the ball over on downs after Adam Hombs broke up a fourth down pass.
With 6:16 left in the game, the Indians started their next drive near midfield and went back to work on the ground.
They ran six straight rushing plays before Wallace connected with McDowell for a 17-yard passing play.
After three more rushes, Wallace found Fairchild for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 52.5 seconds left in the game. The failed two-point conversion kept the lead at 28-12.
Wallace then picked up his second interception of the game on the next play to seal the victory.
Wallace had four solo tackles and two interceptions to lead the defense. Fairchild and Garner each had five solo tackles. Eric Hombs had a forced fumble while both Devin Fleming and Householder had one fumble recovery.
“Parker Wallace had a very solid game on the defensive side of the ball with two interceptions and five solo tackles,” Logan said. “Anthony Fairchild and Jacob Garner led the team with five tackles and both did a pretty good job stopping the QB Power, which is their bread and butter. Also, Caden Wilburn held their leading receiver to one catch for one yard. I was extremely pleased with his effort and performance and liking the way he is growing as a player.”
The Indians finished the game offensively with 59 yards passing and 261 on the ground for 320 total yards of offense.
Wallace completed 5-of-6 passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
Garner had 21 carries for 83 yards and one touchdown. McDowell had two catches for 35 yards and one touchdown.
Householder added two catches for 14 yards and two carries for nine yards.
Van-Far/Community R-VI is currently the No. 4 seed in districts and will take on the team right behind them in North Callaway at home this Friday night, which is also the Indians’ Senior Night.
“The way it looks is the winner of this game will have home field advantage the following week in districts,” Logan said. “They are a fairly young team as well; (a team) who is battling the injury bug like we are. I am familiar with their coaching staff as their head coach Kevin O’Neal was an assistant coach during my playing days at Westminster College. They run a power spread look and like to pass the ball but we will need to stop the run in order to have success.”