The Fairview football team had the game set up for a storybook ending on homecoming, but the clock couldn't run out quickly enough on Friday night.
The Knights had kept Horizon from any long scoring drives for the first 47 minutes of the game, but the Hawks took the ball 77 yards and notched the decisive touchdown with 37.1 seconds left in a 14-10 Horizon victory at Recht Field.
After a 12-yard pass to David Smyth got the Hawks down to the 2-yard line, quarterback Brent Albrandt took it in from there. And though Fairview responded by quickly moving the ball to the Horizon 23-yard line, a Michael McVenes pass missed the mark in the end zone as time expired.
"It's tough on the emotions, close games like that," said FHS senior Max Newey, who recovered a fumble and had a sack on Friday. "The bounces could have gone our way but they didn't. We had done a good job the whole game (defensively), but we just didn't stick to our assignments and had a little breakdown there and they got the better of us on that drive."
It was the second consecutive down-to-the-wire loss for the Knights, who fell to 2-2 on the season. It was the first home defeat for Fairview, which plays six of its nine regular-season games at Recht Field this season.
FHS won the battle of the turnovers 5-1, but a Fairview fumble led to a blocked punt that set up the first score of the game, a 10-yard-Horizon touchdown pass in the third quarter.
But an opponent's TD seemed to finally breathe some life into the Knights' offense, which scored 10 points in less than two minutes in the third quarter, with the second score being set up by Newey's fumble recovery.
Fairview held that 10-7 lead for most of the fourth period, but Horizon took over the ball with 4:25 left and kept its chances alive, most notably by Chad David rushing for a first down on fourth-and-2 with 2:59 remaining.
"It seemed like we had them stopped a few times, but they made some plays," said FHS coach Tom McCartney. "As coach you don't want the game to get to that point. You want to feel like you took advantage of some opportunities. For whatever reason tonight we couldn't do it. We couldn't get that extra score, or get that distance."
Indeed, Fairview's offense sputtered much of the night, managing just 198 total yards and nine first downs. Running back Ben Meyer carried for 98 yards to lead the Knights on that side of the ball.
But the defense kept FHS' hopes alive with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Colin Brown picked off two passes and Jack Madden had an interception and a fumble recovery, in addition to Newey's key plays.
"The way things were going, I had my doubts because (Fairview is) a hell of a football team," said Horizon coach Frank Ybarra, whose 3-1 team has won three straight. "But we made some big plays that got our blood up and our excitement back."
The Knights will begin 5A North Metro League play next Saturday when they host Legacy at 11 a.m.
Horizon 14, Fairview 10
At Recht Field
Horizon (3-1) 0 0 7 7 -- 14
Fairview (2-2) 0 0 10 0 -- 10
Horizon -- Palmer White 10 pass from Brent Albrandt (Chad David kick).
Fairview -- Ben Meyer 2 run (Patrick Rios kick).
Fairview -- Rios 36 FG.
Horizon -- Albrandt 2 run (David kick).
First downs 20 9
Rushes-yards 37-130 34-146
Passing yards 184 52
Comp-Att-Int 15-28-3 6-15-0
Punts-Avg. 2-41.0 5-34.2
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 5-1
Penalties-Yards 5-40 3-25
RUSHING -- Horizon: Albrandt 14-57, Patrick 14-41, David 6-21, Henry 3-9, Rivas 1-2; Fairview: Meyer 14-98, Scheifele 8-22, Frazier 2-11, Madden 2-7, McVenes 7-5, Belford 1-3.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Horizon: Albrandt 15-28-3, 184 yards; Fairview: McVenes 6-15-0, 52 yards.
RECEIVING -- Horizon: Rivas 5-90, David 3-21, Surney 2-25, Weaver 2-27, Smyth 2-17, White 1-10; Fairview: Scheifele 3-33, Martin 1-10, Madden 1-7, Meyer 1-2.