CLEAR SPRING —Clear Spring survived a test from Fairfield on Monday, holding off a final drive for a 19-14 victory.
With six minutes remaining, Fairfield (0-1) drove from its 11 into Clear Spring’s red zone.
The drive opened with a 41-yard completion from Knights quarterback Mason Flickenger to reciever Evan Wolfe, his only catch of the game, to get to the Clear Spring 48. The reception gave Fairfield the momentum to move to the Blazers 5, led by 46 yards rushing by running back Thomas Bollinger.
However the Blazers’ defense held its ground as Flickenger’s fourth-down pass intended for Nicholas Mort fell incomplete.
“We’ve got some senior leadership on that defense and they got everybody fired up to make that stand,” said Clear Spring coach Craig Bathgate. “That’s the advantage of having a bunch of seniors on your team.”
Clear Spring (1-0) opened the scoring on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Jacob Brant in the first quarter.
Fairfield came back to take a one-point lead when a busted play turned into a 55-yard scoring run by Flickenger. Flickenger then hit Mort in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion and the 8-7 lead.
The Blazers scored in the waning seconds of the first period on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brant to Ryan Aaron to take a 13-8 lead. Aaron led Clear Spring in receiving with 4 catches for 54 yards, including a 19-yard, one-handed circus grab in front of the Blazers’ sideline.
“That catch he made was ridiculous,” said Bathgate. “Aaron has such good hands. All we got to do is get the ball around him and he’ll pull it in.”
Despite Aaron’s theatrics, Monday’s contest was all about the ground game.
Flickenger put Fairfield up a point in the second quarter with a 3-yard quarterback keeper.
Damien Poet countered with a 9-yard scoring sweep to put Clear Spring ahead for good.
“We’ve got a real nice compliment of backs that run the ball hard and find the open lanes,” Bathgate said. “We’ve got three or four guys that can run it.”
Jesse Gentry led the Blazers with 92 yards rushing, followed by Poet’s 30. Clear Spring’s defense allowed Bollinger rushed for 86 yards and Mort gained 30 for Fairfield.
“We had some pursuit mistakes. We weren’t filling in the cutback lanes and they got a lot of yards off of that,” said Bathgate. “That’s something we’ll be working on in practice this week.”