Eagles soar past Tigers in bi-district round

Photo by Tammy Langford
Captains during the final game of the 2018 season included Bryan Mitchell, Demontre Hill, Josh Davis and Preston Binder.

The Wills Point Tigers were dealt a tough draw to open the 2018 playoffs last week, traveling to Palestine Nov. 15 to take on a talented Fairfield Eagles squad that finished the regular season with an 8-2 record overall including a runner-up finish in District 8-4A.

A sluggish, turnover-filled effort would be Wills Point's undoing in the contest as Fairfield effectively put the game out of reach in the second quarter before coasting to a 56-19 win.

The Eagles set the pace against Wills Point early, marching 68 yards on seven plays to score the game's first points during the opening stages of the first quarter. Senior quarterback Chad Rushin capped the opening drive with a 33-yard strike to Kameron Ransom, and Fairfield successfully converted on the ensuing two-point attempt to make the score 8-0 after two minutes of play.

The Tigers appeared to be well positioned on their first drive, returning Fairfield's kickoff to the 45-yard line. After picking up seven yards on their first three plays from scrimmage, Wills Point was stopped on a fourth down atttempt to return possession to the Eagles.

Fairfield proceeded to push the ball deep into Tiger territory, getting the ball to the two-yard line before Klayton Spencer registered an interception to return the ball back to Wills Point.

The Tigers would run just one play before Fairfield returned the favor with an interception of their own to seize momentum once again. One play later, Rushin completed his second long strike of the night as he connected with Blake Posey for a 40-yard touchdown. Kameron Ransom converted the two-point conversion attempt to make the score 16-0 in favor of Fairfield.

Wills Point continued to struggle offensively on their next possession, losing a yard on three plays before being forced to punt the ball back to the Eagles prior to the close of the opening quarter.

Fairfield continued to shine offensively, scoring in just three plays to up their lead. The Eagles got began their march towards the end zone with a 13-yard run from Jashaughn Hatcher and a 15-yard facemask penalty.

Kameron Ransom capped the drive with a 35-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 22-0 with 1:50 in the opening frame. Wills Point stuffed the Eagle two-point conversion attempt to limit the damage.

The Tigers picked up a first down on their next drive, due in large part to a 25-yard run by Demontre Hill, before stalling out again for another turnover on downs. Seven plays later Fairfield would score again, this time on a 63-yard pass from Chad Rushin to Kameron Ransom. With the successful two-point run by Dequann McWilliams, the Eagles led 30-0 with 8:28 left to play in the half.

Fairfield kept its foot on the gas pedal following the score, recovering an onside kick to take control of the ball on the Tiger 43-yard line. Just three plays later Rushin found KaDarius Walker for a 17-yard touchdown and a 36-0 lead. The two-point conversion attempt would be stoppe.

Wills Point’s next drive started with several promising plays, including a 36-yard completion from Demontre Hill to Jaquez Thompson and a 10 yard run by Hill to reach the Eagle 17-yard line. Fairfield would again wrest the momentum away form the Tigers, however, as Blake Posey stepped in front of an errant pass for an interception. Runs of 3 and 68 yards by Jashaughn Hatcher flipped the field back towards Fairfield's favor and Jar-Mychael Hudson scored from five yards out to add another first half tally for the Eagles. Fairfield misfired on its two-point conversion attempt to keep the lead at 42-0 with 4:42 left before the half.

Wills Point founds its way deep into Fairfield territory again on its next possession only to see another turnover derail any possible momentum. Wills Point got headed towards the Eagles’ end of the field on runs by Klayton Spencer and Demontre Hill before converting on a fourth down play with an 11-yard completion from Hill to Josh Etheridge. Set up deep in Fairfield territory, Wills Point fumbled the ball which was recovered and returned 70 yards by the Eagles defense for a touchdown with just 19 seconds left before halftime.

Fairfield carried a 48-0 lead into the half, adding another score off a turnover on the first play of the third quarter. With the two-point conversion the Eagles led 56-0 just 17 seconds into the final half.

The score would remain unchanged heading into the fourth until the Tigers finally broke through on the scoreboard courtesy of touchdowns by Savion Kellum, Justin Perez and Klayton Spencer.

The loss against Fairfield drops Wills Point to 5-5 overall on the season. Other matchups involving District 7-4A teams included Rusk scoring late to push past Robinson 26-19, Connally dominating Bullard 57-31 and state-ranked Lorena routing Brownsboro 55-7.

With their win over the Tigers, Fairfield advanced to the Area round for a game against perennial East Texas power Gilmer.