What looked like a fast start turned into a long night for the Madison-Plains High School football team in a 35-20 loss to host Fairbanks Friday, Sept. 16.
The Golden Eagles (2-2) took the opening kickoff and marched deep into Panthers territory, but the drive stalled out inside the Fairbanks 10-yard line and Plains was forced to turn the ball over on downs. Plains had a touchdown brought back due to a penalty, which became the theme of the night.
“It was the penalties, they cost the whole night,” Madison-Plains High School coach Jason Hunt said. “If you look at the game the number of penalties was pretty even, but ours came at inopportune times.”
That initial empty trip swung the early momentum in favor of the home team which held onto it for the rest of the night.
Fairbanks scored a pair of second quarter touchdowns to take a 14-0 advantage. Madison-Plains High School however answered with a pair of scores of its own late in the half.
Ryan Bevington scored on a 20-yard run with 2:21 to play in the second quarter. Isaac Puckett plowed in from 1-yard out with less than a minute to play, but two failed 2-point conversion tries left the score 14-12 at the break.
Fairbanks quarterback Jacob Nicol ran the ball in from 10-yards out midway through the third quarter to make it 21-12. But Bevington’s second score of the night, a 22-yard run and a 2-point conversion run by Madison-Plains sophomore QB Jarrett Vallery, made it 21-20 Panthers heading into the fourth quarter.
The home team pulled away in the final frame scoring a pair of touchdowns for the final margin.
In the game the Golden Eagles had two scores taken off the board because of penalties and another drive that flamed out inside the Fairbanks 15-yard line.
“If we take away those penalties we’re in a pretty good spot,” Hunt said. “We’re probably up a couple scores instead of losing by a couple.”
Despite the loss, Plains out-gained the Panthers (358-348) by 10 yards, didn’t turn the ball over and got a solid all-around performance from its offense. However the team’s inability to finish drives proved to be the downfall.
Vallery was 16 for 23 for 173 yards, Bevington rushed 20 times for 15 yards and two touchdowns, as well as caught two passes for 91 yards. Ian Richards led the defense with 7.5 tackles. Conner Jones and Puckett had five apiece.
The Golden Eagles will look to get back on track Friday, Sept. 22, when they play host to Mechanicsburg, starting at 7 p.m.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.