By John Bombatch
NEW CARLISLE — To look at the two team’s total yardage, it looks as if host New Carlisle Tecumseh and the visiting Fairborn Skyhawks were in quite an even tussle.
Then you look at the Spitzer Stadium scoreboard and realize that wasn’t the case at all.
Tecumseh limited Fairborn’s top scoring combination of quarterback Wesley Watts-to-wide receiver Gracen Barnhart, picked off three Skyhawks passes, blocked a punt and took advantage of a botched snap to claim a convincing 38-13 home win.
“I don’t have the books in front of me, but I know we had snaps over the head that led to scores,” Fairborn coach Chris Roark said. “This is a game of emotion. I thought we were capturing the momentum (Friday night), but both teams have to come back and play. The bottom line is this: We have good players who need to learn how to play good on every play.”
The Skyhawks had 288 total yards in the contest, while Tecumseh had 297.
And in the third quarter, Fairborn (0-1) had pulled to within 17-13 of the hosts when Watts connected with Barnhart for the tandem’s second touchdown pass of the season — this one from 18 yards out.
But Tecumseh outscored the Skyhawks 21-6 the rest of the way.
The Watts-to-Barnhart combo scored Fairborn’s lone score of Friday’s first half as well. In all, Watts threw for 205 yards and three TD scores to Barnhart on 9-for-26 passing, and Barnhart snared five catches for 127 yards, but the three interceptions and a punt block led to 17 of the Arrows’ 24 second-half points.
Tecumseh’s rushing game racked up 240 yards in all on 55 carries. Kenyon Watson gained 146 yards and scored twice. Teammate Jayden McFarland also scored twice, and quarterback Will Sowder also had a rushing TD.
Arrows coach Chris Cory credited assistant coach Chad Hale with his team’s special teams play as a difference.
“We had a blocked punt today, and we capitalized on a bad snap yesterday. We work really hard on our special teams. We understand that it’s a three-step process. It’s not just offense and defense. It’s offense, defense and special teams,” Hale said. “Today, our defense locked in and got three picks. That’s saying something, because Fairborn’s quarterback is a really talented player. He’s got a strong arm and he’s got good receivers.”
Roark remained positive, despite the Skyhawks’ first-game miscues.
“I love our kids’ attitudes. They worked hard to the very end,” he said. “To this point, they’ve not showed me anything different than that. I’m very proud of their attitude and their effort. We’ve just gotta get more consistent.”
Score by Quarters
Fairborn 0 7 6 6 — 13
Tecumseh 7 7 3 21 — 38
T: Jayden McFarland 4 run (James Gray kick)
T: McFarland 13 run (Gray kick)
F: Gracen Barnhart 72 pass from Wesley Watts (Damien Mentzer kick)
T: Gray 27 field goal
F: Barnhart 18 pass from Watts (Kick wide right)
T: Will Sowder 1 run (Gray kick)
T: Kenyon Watson 61 run (Gray kick)
T: Watson 4 run (Gray kick)
F: Barnhart 12 pass from Watts (Pass failed)
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.