The way the Fairview football team’s offense struggled for most of the first three quarters on Saturday night, Ben Meyer’s fumble at his own 10-yard line looked like it could cost the Knights the game against Legacy.
The gaffe led to a Lightning touchdown and 14-7 lead three plays later. But Meyer wasn’t worried.
“I knew I made a mistake but then you can’t dwell on your mistake,” Meyer said. “You just have to get back and pretend it didn’t happen and just make plays.”
The senior tailback did exactly that, catching a game-tying 38-yard touchdown pass and notching the game-winning score with a 62-yard scamper to lift the Knights to a 21-14 home triumph at Recht Field.
The victory — in the North Metro League opener for both squads — proved therapeutic for a Knights team that had seen opponents come up with the big plays to win late in each of the last two weeks.
“We needed that win for a confidence booster,” said FHS middle linebacker Adam Belford, who made a game-sealing interception on a screen pass with just under two minutes to play. “It was just a great win.”
Fairview’s defense, which has allowed more than 14 points just once this season, came up big again.
With the offense sputtering early, the Knights (3-2, 1-0) allowed Legacy (2-3, 0-1) just 188 yards for the game.
The Lightning’s two scoring drives covered just 21 and 10 yards, respectively. The first — a 2-yard plunge by Eddie Schroder — was set up by an errant FHS punt into the wind. Running back Collin Randall’s score late in the third quarter was set up by Meyer’s fumble.
Defensive end Max Newey had three sacks to help keep Legacy quarterback Patrick Medina out of rhythm with star wideout Cameron McWee.
“It’s really nice to finish a game finally and come through as a defense,” Belford said. “We really came together tonight.”
Legacy suffered a major blow early with the loss of workhorse tailback Phydell Paris to a severely sprained ankle. Randall’s 48 yards led the way for LHS, while Medina threw for 87 yards.
Still, it seemed like the two scores might be enough.
The FHS offense amassed just 126 yards in the first half, but came to life after Randall’s score thanks to a big gamble by head coach Tom McCartney.
Facing fourth-down-and-10 at his own 39, the Knights went for it and came through with a 23-yard pass from quarterback Michael McVenes to Sam Martin.
The next play, McVenes, who finished with 203 yards passing and 50 rushing, hit Meyer in stride down the right sideline to knot the game at 14 with 11:26 to play.
“We liked our matchup,” McCartney said. “It was a risk, but sometimes you’ve got to be willing to take a risk. Obviously it worked out for us.”
Legacy never really recovered.
“We’ve got to be the ones finishing plays instead of them, and we didn’t do it,” Legacy coach Wayne Voorhees said.
The Lightning punted on its next two possessions, with FHS taking over on the second at its own 38 with 3:33 to play.
Meyer took a handoff on the first play, bounced to the outside, tiptoed down the sideline past two defenders and raced to the endzone.
“I wasn’t finding holes throughout the whole night, and I just bounced it outside,” said Meyer, who finished with 79 yards rushing and 56 receiving. “I almost went out of bounds a couple of times but it felt really good. I just let my legs go.”
Fairview 21, Legacy 14
At Recht Field
Legacy (2-3, 0-1) 7 0 7 0 — 14
Fairview (3-2, 1-0) 0 7 0 14 — 21
Legacy — Eddie Schroder 2 run (Travis Baum kick).
Fairview — Cole Scheifele 2 run (Patrick Rios kick).
Legacy — Collin Randall 4 run (Baum kick).
Fairview — Ben Meyer 38 pass from Michael McVenes (Rios kick).
Fairview — Meyer 62 run (Rios kick).
First downs 13 11
Rushes-yards 40-101 33-133
Passing yards 87 203
Comp-Att-Int 12-22-1 11-21-0
Punts-Avg. 5-36 4-30
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 9-80
RUSHING — Legacy: Randall 15-48, Paris 4-30, Schroder 9-25, Bublitz 2-6, Petersian 2-0, Medina 8-(-8); Fairview: Meyer 11-79, McVenes 18-50, Scheifele 4-4.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Legacy: Medina 12-22-1; Fairview: McVenes 11-21-0, 203 yards.
RECEIVING — Legacy: Baum 6-39, McWee 3-22, Schroder 2-13, Randall 1-13; Fairview: Martin 4-86, Meyer 3-56, Killeen 2-22, Scheifele 1-37, Madden 1-2.