On a night that saw Fayetteville crown Jessica Brown as its homecoming queen, the Pirates also saw victory snatched from their hands.
Meadow Bridge defeated Fayetteville by a score of 8-6 in a hard fought battle between two determined teams.
Meadow Bridge was led by the play of their everyman ball carrier, Jake Parker, who had 133 yards on 31 attempts, including the game-winning touchdown.
Fayetteville got on the board first, when senior quarterback Aaron Krise hammered it home from one yard out to put the pirates up over the No. 3-ranked Wildcats with 5:06 left in the second quarter.
The Pirates’ defense stymied much of what Meadow Bridge tried to do in the first half, holding the Wildcats to 95 yards and keeping them off the scoreboard.
However, head coach Larry McClintic’s Wildcats had other ideas. Late in the fourth quarter, Meadow Bridge called Parker’s number an impressive 13 straight times, driving down the field and eating up valuable clock time.
The tide began to turn with three minutes left in the third quarter as Fayetteville was threatening to put points on the board from the 10-yard line. It was fourth-and-inches as Krise ran the ball up the middle but was stood up, giving all the momentum to the Wildcats of Meadow Bridge.
With 8:02 left in the game, Parker bulldozed into the end zone from one yard out to tie the game 6-6. Meadow Bridge quarterback Cole Porter connected with wide receiver Shane Harless in the right corner of the end zone to convert the two points and give the Wildcats the lead 8-6 as time ticked down.
Later in the game, McClintic made a controversial decision to go for it on fourth-and-short on their side of the 50-yard line. Porter pitched left to Parker, but the pitch was fumbled, giving Fayetteville the ball with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Fayetteville quickly moved the ball down the field as junior Jacob Alton sprinted 30 yards giving the Pirates a good chance at taking the lead with less than two minutes to play.
After several attempts from running back Cameron Underwood to pick up the first down failed, Fayetteville was forced to fourth-and-10 from the 19-yard line.
With 1:49 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Fayetteville broke from a timeout and set up in their field goal formation. The ball was snapped, but Meadow Bridge managed to push its way through the offensive line and block the kick, successfully dashing Fayetteville’s hopes of pulling off the upset.
“I think we came in sluggish,” McClintic said after the game. “We got to reading the papers, we’re No. 3 in the state and it’s hard to keep focus. I told the kids we can’t relax. We warned them about Fayetteville; they gave us their best shot.”
Fayetteville (0-4) travels to take on cross-county rival Valley next week while Meadow Bridge (4-0) welcomes in Pendleton County.
Fayetteville 8, Meadow Bridge 6
FV (0-4) 0 6 0 0 — 6
MB (1-0) 0 0 0 8 — 8
FV: Aaron Krise 1 yard run for a touchdown. (PAT No Good)
MB: Jake Parker 1 yard run for a touchdown. (Pass Good)
RUSHING — FV: Cameron Underwood 7-15, Hunter Pullens 13-73, Jacob Alton 5-84. MB: Jake Parker 31-133.
PASSING — FV: Aaron Krise 2-4-0-23-0 . MB: Cole Porter 1-4-0-15-0.
RECEIVING — FV: Jacob Alton 1-13, Cameron Underwood 1-10. MB: Kaleb Farr 1-15.