FAIRBORN — There wasn’t a playoff berth on the line for Friday’s Oct. 27 game at Memorial Stadium. No division titles were at stake.
But that didn’t stop the annual Fairborn-Xenia football rivalry from becoming heated from the very start.
Before the game had even started, Xenia got the tensions upped another notch when they ran out onto the field and planted their Xenia ‘X’ flag into the midfield grass on Fairborn’s block-F logo.
Maybe they shouldn’t have done that.
Fairborn (4-6, 3-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South division, good for second place) rallied in the second half to a 20-14 win on a cold, wet and soggy night.
Playing for a good bit of the second half without quarterback Wesley Watts, who had limped off on the Skyhawks’ next-to-last possession of the first half after making a handoff to K.J. Redmon, Fairborn’s ground game churned for big yardage.
It was Redmon who took plenty of direct snap handoffs while Watts was getting his left knee taped up on the sideline. Redmon finished the contest with a game-high 213 yards rushing on 36 carries, for two scores. Fairborn attempted three passes all night, with one of those in Watts’ absence being intercepted.
The Skyhawks went ahead for good on their first possession of the second half.
With Redmon taking all the shotgun direct snaps from the QB position, Fairborn slogged 56 yards on seven plays, with Redmon capping the drive with a 13-yard score. Trevor Smith ran in the two-point conversion to give the Skyhawks a 14-7 lead.
Fairborn’s defense scored the next touchdown. Brandon Becraft recovered his second fumble of the night, this time running the ball back 10 yards for a score. A two-point running attempt failed, but the Skyhawks now had a 20-7 lead with just over four minutes left to play in the third quarter.
A pair of Sincere Wells runs — one burst for 45 yards and the next for 14 — set up a first-and-goal situation for the Buccaneers. Wells then rumbled in for the 1-yard TD run. Hayden Falvey’s second extra point of the night was good and Xenia was back in the contest, trailing by six points, 20-14.
Wells finished the night with a team-best 171 yards gained on 24 carries, with two TDs.
Xenia (2-8, 2-2 GWOC South) recovered a fumble on its own 4-yard line and had a last-gasp chance to try to score the go-ahead points, but the Bucs fumbled on a trick play and Fairborn recovered the ball to end Xenia’s chances with 54.7 ticks left on the game clock.
The two teams battled to a 7-6 Xenia halftime lead.
Fairborn’s Becraft recovered a Xenia fumble on the Skyhawks’ 44-yard line, and Fairborn marched the other 56 yards on seven plays for the first score of the game. Redmon ended the drive with a 4-yard dive into the end zone for the scoretry .
Fairborn attempted a two-point conversion but the pass fell incomplete.
It wasn’t until late in the first half that Xenia got the lead.
The Buccaneers got posssession of the ball at their own 29-yard line with 5:42 left in the half. With the aid of a Sincere Wells 37-yard run, the Bucs marched 14 plays to the score, a Wells run in through the right side of the Skyhawks line. Falvey booted the go-ahead extra point to put Xenia out in front, 7-6.
Both teams featured 100-yard backs in the opening half of the contest. Xenia’s Wells ran for 128 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown; Fairborn’s Redmon had 100-yards gained in the half on 13 carries.
Score By Quarters
Xenia 0 7 0 7 — 14
Fairborn 6 0 14 0 — 20
F — K.J. Redmon 4 run (pass failed)
X — Sincere Wells 9 run (Hayden Falvey kick)
F — Redmon 13 run (Trevor Smith run)
F — Brandon Becraft 10 fumble return (run failed)
X — Wells 1 run (Falvey kick)
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.