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For the second week in a row, the Fayette Falcons were on the losing end of a lopsided score against a Lewis & Clark Conference rival. This time, it was against Marceline at home, with the final …
For the second week in a row, the Fayette Falcons were on the losing end of a lopsided score against a Lewis & Clark Conference rival. This time, it was against Marceline at home, with the final score 42-6.
The Falcons were shutout 49-0 the previous week against a fifth-ranked Westran team that dominated in size. But against Marceline on Friday, Fayette coach Kole Hinton said it came down to focus and fundamentals.
“First and foremost, it’s fundamentals,” he said. “We have to choose to be better and make a concerted effort to be more focused. Focus on the little things, the fundamentals that can at least give us the opportunity to compete.”
That lack of focus was evident from the start of the game. The Falcons were flagged for delay of game on their first play from scrimmage. The drive was short-lived anyway, as a pass from quarterback Kaleb Friebe was picked off. Marceline then ran for a 65-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ first offense play.
“We’re not taking care of the ball,” Hinton said. “We run with the ball way too loosely. We don’t tuck the ball in and value the football. On defense, we over-pursue sometimes when we need to slow down. We under-pursue when we need to speed up. We look awful at tackling.”
The young Falcons quickly found themselves in a hole as the veteran Tigers scored seemingly at will. By the end of the first quarter, Marceline led 21-0.
The Falcons threatened on their first drive of the second quarter. While rotating between Friebe, a junior, and freshman Ledgyr Conrow at quarterback, Fayette converted on fourth down twice while moving the ball deep into Marceline territory.
But the Falcons eventually came up short and turned the ball over on down just 17 yards short of the goal line.
The Tigers wasted no time and increased their lead to 28-0 on their next drive, taking a four-touchdown advantage into halftime.
Fayette couldn’t turn it around in the second half, either, allowing Marceline to run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
Fayette was also without one of its key targets in the passing game. Sophomore wide receiver Payton Oeth suffered a neck injury in the first half and was sidelined for the third and fourth quarters.
“I think they just played more physically than us,” Hinton said. “We’re still undersized, and we’re going to be the rest of the year. But they weren’t nearly as oversized as Westran was. The problem is we just don’t play with proper technique. We don’t fire off the ball up front. We aren’t consistent in our blocking schemes.”
After giving up the opening touchdown, the Falcons gave the ball right back to Marceline on their first offensive play of the second half when junior Micah Estes fumbled. Marceline recovered the ball and ran it in for a touchdown.
The Tigers’ point-after attempt was blocked by Fayette junior Jacob Wood. It is the second time this season the lineman has blocked a kick.
With a second-straight shutout looming, the Falcons were finally able to put together a scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Carter Vroman, Fayette’s leading rusher, broke lose for 19 yards before being brought down on the 7-yard line. On the next play, he finished the drive with a seven-yard run to the endzone that put Fayette on the board. The two-point conversion attempt failed, holding Fayette to six points.
“We’re just trying to get better,” Hinton said. “It’s a 10-week process. We’re building to our championship standards. We’re not going to get there in a week or a half. We’re slowly building to it. We just have to play better and do what we’ve been coached to do. It’s as simple as that. There is no magic formula.”
The Falcons sported a two-quarterback scheme Friday night, rotating between Friebe and Conrow. Hinton said that quarterback rotation has been the plan all along; it just took a few games to implement. “It gives us a few more weapons out on the edge. When we can’t run the ball effectively well, we have to be able to turn around and pass. It’s been the plan the whole time, to rotate in.”
Friebe finished 2-for-8 for 29 yards and an interception. Conrow completed four of seven passing attempts for 20 yards and an interception.
Estes led the team in receptions with two for 21 yards, including an 18-yarder in the second half. Friebe had two grabs for five yards. Vroman made one catch for 16 yards. Sophomore Tommy Elliott and De’andre Kioh each had one catch for four and three yards, respectively.
Fayette’s ground game didn’t fare much better. Estes led the way with nine carries for 48 yards. Friebe carried the ball four times for 44 yards, including a 26-yard run. Vroman ran six times for 37 yards and a touchdown. Conrow scrambled once for a two-yard gain.
The Falcons will try to regroup before playing the second in a three-game homestand on Friday against Maysville. The 1-3 Wolverines are coming off a 32-24 loss to Gallatin last week.
On October 6, Fayette returns to L&C action with a home game against Salisbury. The 2-3 Panthers scored a come-from-behind win against Harrisburg, 36-32, on Friday.
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