Fayette County Class A football teams Midland Trail and Meadow Bridge initiated their 2019 campaigns in positive fashion last week. Midland Trail hung on to register a 26-24 defeat of visiting Class AA Independence, while Meadow Bridge overcame a slow start to wallop single-A foe Van 40-6.
In the Midland Trail-Indy contest, Trail’s Colton Yoder rambled for 223 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries to highlight the evening. The senior’s scoring bursts covered 1, 7, 62 and 21 yards. Yoder, too, supplied the game’s only successful conversion, which proved to be the difference in Trail’s win in the Patriot Bowl.
“That’s a really good night,” Midland Trail head coach Frank Isaacs said of Yoder’s output. “I’ve said all along he’s going to have to carry the load.”
Independence got a 63-yard TD pass from Phil Spurlock to Atticus Goodson, and Goodson also reached the end zone on a 15-yard run. Cody Fleenor scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards.
“Our offensive line played well, but defensively we didn’t play very well,” Isaacs said. “We didn’t adjust well on the fly enough, but that’s youth.”
Nevertheless, it was a big win for his team. “Independence is going to win some football games,” said Isaacs. “They (his team) still had some doubts in their minds (entering the game).
“When they came off the field victorious, they had a little more belief in their eyes.”
Of this week’s foe in Hico, Oak Hill, Isaacs said, “Oak Hill got beat pretty good (41-7 setback to Nicholas County), but they were in the game until halftime.” While having a different offensive identity than last year’s senior-blessed squad, Isaacs said, “They look big up front, and it looks like they’ve got some skill guys outside. And the quarterback (Cade Maynor) is young, but he looks like he can fling the ball.”
Midland Trail won last year’s meeting, 26-20.
Independence seeks to rebound at PikeView Friday.
Meanwhile, Meadow Bridge will eye second-week foe Clay-Battelle Friday on the heels of its dismantling of visiting Van last week at Frank Arritt Stadium.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot in the first half,” said Meadow Bridge head coach Dwayne Reichard. “Every time we’d do something right, we’d get a penalty or make a mistake.” The outlook improved “once we eliminated some of the mistakes.”
Also, Reichard said, “Getting our quarterback (Dustin Adkins) mixed into our running game in the second half helped.”
Adkins, a sophomore making his first start under center, ran nine times for 132 yards and two touchdowns to guide the Meadow Bridge offense. He also was 5 of 10 through the air for 69 yards, including a 35-yard scoring strike to Ayden Redden (two recepts, 46 yards). Nick White (13 carries, 56 yards) and Seaton Mullins (3-38) each added a rushing TD, and Kyle Hinken contributed four PAT kicks.
The Wildcat defense improved as the game progressed, Reichard noted. A “bend but not break” effort kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone in the opening half (and up until the game’s final minute), but “it seemed like Van controlled the ball the better part of the first half.” The defense got better, and “our kick coverage was pretty good. We played with a short field all of the second half, and finally our offense got clicking.”
Meadow Bridge’s first score came when lineman Levi Lester recovered a fumble that occurred at the end of a long Adkins run and took it across the goal line.
Hunter Claypool came up big for the Meadow Bridge defense, racking up 16 total tackles and recovering two fumbles. Logan Hatfield had seven stops, including a pair of sacks, Landon James-Mullins had six tackles, and Lester, Nick White, Darrelle Burdette and Gavin Dunbar recovered fumbles.
For Van, David Stewart rushed for 84 yards and had 59 receiving yards, and Brady Green collected 81 yards, including a score, on the ground. Hunter McMicken had 11 tackles, and Kalen Booth picked off a pass.
Looking ahead to a long road trip to play Clay-Battelle at 7 p.m. Friday, Reichard is confident his team can be competitive.
“They look to be a fairly solid football team,” he said of Clay-Battelle. “Against Gilmer (34-21 first-week loss to the Titans), they made some mistakes that cost them.”
Reichard said Clay-Battelle has a competent passing attack. “They throw the ball, but they didn’t throw it much against Gilmer.”
He feels his team has the capabilities to improve to 2-0 by getting by the Cee Bees.
“We told the kids if we have a good week of practice and eliminate the mistakes we made against Van and travel well and keep focused, it’s a ball game we ought to win,” Reichard said.
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