The Skyline Thunderbirds fell to 0-5 Friday night, dropping their game against Fairfield 32-6.
However, the game was much closer than the final score would indicate, and in some respects it might have been the best game the young T-Birds have put together so far this season.
In a contest some might have predicted to be a rout, based upon the teams’ scores against common opponents, the T-Birds were in the game almost all the way to the end.
Fairfield opened the game with a big gain on a play-action pass, but Dustin Weber switched momentum in the Thunderbirds’ favor by picking off another Fairfield pass attempt.
The teams then played on even terms in the middle of the field, trading punts until the 4:39 mark of the second quarter.
At that point, Brandon Baird ran the ball in for a Skyline TD, following a drive that had featured mostly his own rushes. Skyline had a 6-0 lead over the Falcons.
Fairfield’s Cannon Burns then had a run for the highlight reel, breaking a couple of tackles and keeping from hitting the ground by rolling on top of a Skyline defender. His effort gave the Falcons an 8-6 lead.
Fairfield would score again on a touchdown pass as time ran out in the first half, giving them a 16-6 lead.
Fairfield looked to be in control, driving the ball deep into T-Bird territory to start the second half. But Dustin Weber thwarted the drive with a fumble recovery on the 12 yard line.
A series of Weber runs, and pass catches by Brandon Baird and Sam Howell took the ball to the Fairfield 25. Daniel Hacker ran for ten to the 15 yard line, but then the Skyliners made the kind of mistake young teams do-they fumbled away the ball.
On the very next play, Wayne Schoenecker busted loose for a long TD run and Fairfield was up 24-6 with 2:52 remaining in the 3rd stanza.
Skyline kept fighting though. They drove the ball again, but again fumbled it away in the red zone. They held the Falcons and on their ensuing possession, Cole Patterson had a nice catch and run for big yardage. But eventually the drive sputtered and Fairfield took over the ball, grinding it down to the T-Birds 20. But Skyline’s defense held once again.
Skyline was moving the ball before their final drive ended in another interception. The Falcons tacked on a meaningless score with a 10 seconds left to make the score 32-6, but that score doesn’t reflect the realities of the game.
Skyline head coach Jon Novotny summed things up by saying, “I was pleased with our effort. Turnovers hurt us, and big plays hurt us, but the kids fought hard. They’re (Fairfield) big and strong, we had some match-up problems with them in certain areas. But our kids kept fighting and that was good to see.”
Page 2 of 2 - The T-Birds next travel to take on Kiowa County.
Skyline 0 6 0 0 6
Fairfield 0 16 8 8 32
Baird 20/81/1 TD
Team 6/18/74/2 int
Weber 4/8/49 1 int
Baird 1/6/ 20/1 int