HIGHLANDS RANCH — Even despite being shut out in the second half on Friday night against ThunderRidge, the Fairview football team still had a chance to win the football game.
The No. 6- ranked Knights had a good chance, even. Then the seemingly impossible happened.
Having just earned a 1st-and-goal at the ThunderRidge 4-yard line inside the final three minutes of the game, the Knights ran their base off-tackle run play to wide receiver Bryce DesJardins. The senior wideout, who already had 181 receiving yards in the game, found a hole and dove at the goal line.
At first, head coach Tom McCartney thought the Knights had the game-winning score. Then he thought, worst-case scenario, they had second down on the 1-yard line. But amidst the calamity the ball had popped free of DesJardins hand and was recovered by the Grizzlies defense, effectively sealing the Knights first loss of the season at a score of 28-24.
"You feel like it's first and goal at the four and there's part of you that thinks if you're not in, you're at the one," McCartney said. "You're not thinking that the ball's going to come out. If you're short, more time is on the clock which kind of helps us in that moment if you feel like you're going to take the lead, which we thought we were going to."
"I thought we had to be smarter and there were so many hidden yards that crushed us as far as some penalties and some different things," McCartney said. "It just happened over and over. It was all three phases."
Fairview (2-1) won 31-21 over ThunderRidge (3-0) on their way to reaching the state quarterfinals last season and had outscored its first three opponents 85-7 in 2018. ThunderRidge entered Friday's game having allowed just 12 points and had passed the ball just 20 times in its first two games.
Knights quarterback Aidan Atkinson passed for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns despite being sacked five times and under pressure all night. ThunderRidge quarterback Ryan Gilmore, however, threw three touchdown passes that paced a run of 21 unanswered points that gave the Grizzlies the lead in the third quarter.
The Knights will host Doherty at 7 p.m. next Friday.
ThunderRidge 28, Fairview 24
At Shea StadiumFairview 101400—24ThunderRidge 71470—28
Fairview — DesJardins 36 pass from Atkinson (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Blackburn 33 fild goal. ThunderRidge — Lambert 20 run (Welch kick).
Fairview — DesJardins 21 pass from Atkinson (Blackburn kick). Fairview — Holly 2 run (Blackburn kick). ThunderRidge — Frazier 7 pass from Gilmore (Welch kick). ThunderRidge — Ruckel 8 pass from Gilmore (Welch kick).
ThunderRidge — Frasier 8 pass from Gilmore (Welch kick).
RUSHING — Fairview: Holly 7-23, Fenton 1-6, DesJardins 1-3, Atkinson 9-(-18); ThunderRidge: Gilmore 19-127, Lambert 15-78, Huber 1-7.
PASSING — Fairview: Atkinson 29-51-0-341; ThunderRidge: Gilmore 6-12-0-29.
RECEIVING — Fairview: DesJardins 12-181, Nichols 6-62, Blackburn 3-25, Holly 3-24, Wood 2-23, Fenton 1-24, Moser 1-3, ThunderRidge: Ruckel 2-15, Frasier 1-15, Huber 1-1, Lambert 1-(-2).