By Steve Keenan
Fayetteville made the short trip from the other side of the big bridge and secured a badly-needed victory.
The Pirates, who had lost 12 straight games since posting a first-round playoff win over Van in November 2011, got out of the chute quickly and administered a 52-6 beatdown of Fayette County rival Midland Trail Friday.
Following an incomplete pass on its first play, Fayetteville unleashed back Tasheem Saunders for a 65-yard scoring sprint down the Pirate sideline on the next play to set the tone for the romp. The dominant Pirates crossed the goal line three more times in the opening quarter — TD runs of 3 and 1 yard by Cameron Underwood and a 10-yard scoring burst from Austin Simmons — to lead 28-0 after one period.
The cushion ballooned to 46-0 at halftime, with the final score of the half coming on a 45-yard pass from Will Fenton to Troy Farrell following a Pirate timeout with :04 left.
Simmons’ third score of the evening — a 23-yarder with :30 remaining in the third frame — stretched the lead to 52-0 before the Patriots got on the board on a 1-yard run by Austin Burdette with 3:41 left in the contest.
“We finally got a win,” said Fayetteville coach Frank Spangler, whose team suffered a lopsided loss to defending state champ Wahama last week after going winless in 2012. “I’m tickled to death for these kids.
“They really worked hard for this moment.”
“They played well and we played poorly,” said Midland Trail coach Joe Dean. “How much it was them making us play poorly, I don’t know.”
The Pirate offense turned in a standout effort, as three running backs surpassed the 100-yard rushing plateau. Jake Alton, who scored on an 11-yard run in the second period, finished with eight carries for 154 yards. His effort included a 77-yard gallop that set up one of the scores by Simmons. Saunders collected 149 yards and a score on eight attempts, and Simmons closed the evening with 11 carries for 126 yards and three scores.
“We had good rotation from our backs, and our offensive line came off the ball and blocked real well,” said Spangler. “We executed real well.
“I’m real proud of them.”
Spangler added that assistant coaches David Moneypenny, Dan Poland and Jeremy Richmond “did a great job of getting the players focused.”
“All week in practice, the kids were anxious. They were focused coming over here, and they were really focused this week in practice.
“I knew we were going to eventually win. We’re getting better every day. We’ve just got to continue to work hard.”
Christian McGuire led the Midland Trail offense with 45 yards on 11 carries.
Kyle Keeney had 18 tackles and an interception for the Patriot defense. Ryan Wilson recovered a Pirate fumble.
James Criss had a fumble recovery for the Pirate defense.
Fayetteville (1-1) entertains Richwood Friday.
Midland Trail (0-2) hosts Meadow Bridge the same night.
Fayetteville 52, Midland Trail 6
Fayetteville (1-1) 28 18 6 0 — 52
Midland Trail (0-2) 0 0 0 6 — 6
F: Tasheem Saunders 65 run (run failed), 6-0, 11:34
F: Cameron Underwood 3 run (pass failed), 12-0, 9:46
F: Underwood 1 run (Jake Alton pass from Will Fenton), 20-0, 6:31
F: Austin Simmons 10 run (Caleb Bailes run), 28-0, 1:21
F: Alton 11 run (pass failed), 34-0, 9:48
F: Simmons 2 run (run failed), 40-0
F: Troy Farrell 45 pass from Fenton (pass failed), 46-0, :00
F: Simmons 23 run (run failed), 52-0, :30
MT: Austin Burdette 1 run (pass failed), 52-6, 3:41
RUSHING — F: Saunders 8-149-1, Simmons 11-126-3, Underwood 9-42-2, Alton 8-154-1, Bailes 1-3, Fenton 1-6, Davy Gilliam 4-19, Richard Bennett 1-6, Farrell 2-10, Dooley 1-4, Dalton Dempsey 1-15. MT: Ryan Wilson 12-32, Burdette 5-16-1, Christian McGuire 11-45, Collin Carte 2-22, Glen Neal 5-(minus-30), Aaron Walker 2-3.
PASSING — F: Fenton 3-5-1-75-1. MT: Neal 4-9-0-21-0.
RECEIVING — F: Farrell 1-45-1, Alton 1-21, James Criss 1-9. MT: Austin Burdette 1-2, Alex Burdette 2-8, Wilson 1-11.
TURNOVERS — F: Criss (fum. rec.). MT: Wilson (fum. rec.), Kyle Keeney (int.).