Fundamentals, fundamentals and, well, some more fundamentals.
Everything Fairview football coach Nathan McPeek said after Friday night’s 32-17 win over East Carter reverted back to one thing, fundamentals. Or, to be more precise, the lack of them.
Despite the winning result, McPeek was not pleased with the way his team did the simple things.
“It’s my fault. We have to get better at the fundamentals of the game: blocking and tackling and coordinating,” he said. “I thought we would be a lot sharper after the first game, but we weren’t and we started out slow again.”
After grabbing an 8-0 lead in the second quarter on Devon Turner’s 2-yard scoring run, Fairview’s offense went stagnet — and East Carter’s special teams cranked things up a notch.
The Raiders Zack Cathey took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to paydirt, outracing the Eagle defenders up the sideline.
As Fairview’s normally dominant ground attack sputtered, East Carter was able to move the ball down the field, courtesy of some big plays through the air.
Late in the second quarter, quarterback Donovan Roe found Jordan Ratcliff streaking down the middle of the field for a 31-yard gain that put the Raiders inside the Fairview 15. Cade Stidham took things over from there, scoring three plays later on a 1-yard plunge. Three plays later, Stidham would plunge that gave East Carter the lead with 37 seconds remianing before halftime.
That’s when Fairview’s slow start and stagnet offense became a thing of the past.
The Eagles (2-0) needed just six plays to cover 78 yards, scoring as time expired on a beautiful 28-yard touchdown grab by Isaiah King. Two catches, totaling 50 yards, by Logan Thovson helped set up the late score.
“Isaiah had a great catch there late that really kind of got us started,” McPeek said.
East Carter (0-2) coach Zack Moore wanted his defense to be conservative in that situation, but maybe not that much.
“We can play off of guys to make sure everything stays in front,” he said. “But we dont ever want to play that loose in coverage.”
In the second half, it was back to the ground for Fairview, although in a slightly different formation. After failing to score on its opening possession of the half, McPeek opted to go with an empty backfield, with freshman Tanner Dolen playing “quarterback.”
It didn’t take long to pay dividends. After handing off on the first play, Dolen decided to keep the ball himself and weaved his way to the end zone.
“They were compressing us in our normal sets, so we decided to spread them out a bit,” McPeek said. “How good did (Dolen) play? Just a freshman and he played awesome not only offensively but defensively.”
McPeek also thought that the offensive line picked up their play after halftime.
“We didn’t move people off the ball, especially in the first half,” he said. “We just stood around and hoped that the play would work. We have to will the play to work.”
McPeek said East Carter was more physical up front early, which was a big reason for the Raiders early success.
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, East Carter linebacker/tight end Cole Boggs has the body to play physical and he did so on both sides of the ball. On offense he had four receptions for 52 yards.
“Coach Shearer isn’t going to like to hear this, but he could have been a Division I player if he would have played four years of football,” Moore said. “But I’m sure glad that he is out here now, and we have to find ways to get him more involved.”
Fundamentals, fundamentals and, well, some more fundamentals.
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