Quentin Cremeans
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Tyler Harris

Tyler is a contributing writer for SOSA with previous work for the Chillicothe Gazette. He resides in Ashland, Ky., bleeds Maize and Blue (Go Blue), is an avid outdoorsman and is always up for a good sports debate.

Fairland wins shootout, hands Gallia Academy first loss

The Dragons move to 5-1.

Tyler Harris, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

PROCTORVILLE — Football is an emotional game, filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. 

Fairland experienced every bit of that roller coaster ride on Friday, but finished at the top.

Fairland’s Peyton Jackson threw for 391 yards and five touchdowns on Friday.
CREDIT: Baylee Harris/SOSA

After being deadlocked in the fourth quarter, the Dragons (5-1, 2-1 OVC) came up with a pair of scores late and managed to top previously unbeaten Gallia Academy by a 40-35 final in Ohio Valley Conference action. 

“This is a big win for us, especially after we threw a pick-six and gave them the momentum early on in the fourth quarter,” Fairland coach Mike Jackson said. “We just had to settle down a little bit, regain our focus and we’re proud of our kids and the way they fought to win the fourth quarter tonight.”

The victory for the Dragons also served as the first loss for the Blue Devils (5-1, 2-1 OVC), and they needed every minute to make it happen. 

Fairland used big plays all night to do its damage and opened the game with just that. Quentin Cremeans got the ball rolling when he broke four tackles on his way to a 48-yard touchdown run, making it 6-0.

The Blue Devils matched it with a big play of their own to start the second quarte when Braylan Rathburn connected with Hunter Shamblin on a 72-yard pitch-and-catch, giving GA a 7-6 lead.

Fairland marched right down the field again and Peyton Jackson capped off an eight-play drive — its longest of the night — with a toss over the middle to Brycen Hunt for a 10-yard score, making it 14-7. 

The Dragons then created pressure on the other side, getting a huge sack that led to an interception from Hunt, his first of two in the half and three in total for the defense.

“We watched film and we knew they could throw the deep ball,” Jackson said of his team’s defensive preparation. “We know our guys like to bait and we told all our guys to not do that. When you see an opportunity, just go, and we were able to get a few.”

PHOTOS: Images from Fairland’s win over Gallia Academy

The offense took advantage 40 seconds later when Jackson found Christian Collins on an 11-yard slant, who turned it into an 84-yard touchdown, rounding out the halftime score at 21-7. 

The second half, however, was all about the Blue Devils’ defense.

After failing to convert on fourth down offensively, GA’s Hudson Shamblin picked off the first pass of the half and took it the other way for a score, making it 21-14. 

Next, the Devils forced a three-and-out, setting the offense up at midfield. Cole Hines wasted no time, taking the ensuing play 48 yards, closing the gap to 21-20. 

But the Dragons’ luck was about to change.

After forcing a punt, the Blue Devils muffed the punt return and the Dragons recovered, putting life back into the home crowd. Jackson then found Hunt for another score, this time from 11 yards out, extending the lead to 28-20. 

But the Blue Devils took that life right back when Kenyon Franklin broke loose from 45 yards out to tie the game at 28-28. 

Collins, however, took matters into his own hands when he took a slant route 48 yards to the house, putting the Dragons back in the driver’s seat at 34-28.

“We have four four-year starters. We have guys who got thrown into their roles as freshmen,” Mike Jackson said. “When they have that many games under their belt, we just expect that they are going to do big things in games like this.”

The ensuing kickoff coverage was a disaster and it allowed Gallia to set up shop at Fairland’s 17-yard line. But just as Jackson expected, his guys made plays. 

Keegan Smith made a one-handed circus catch for an interception, and two plays later, he took a drop in the bread basket from Jackson 83 yards out, making it 40-28. Gallia scored once more, with two minutes remaining by way of Rathburn to Franklin from 11 yards, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Dragons closed out a win.

Jackson finished 14-of-21 passing for 391 yards alongside five touchdowns and an interception. Hunt had four catches for 89 yards and two scores to accompany two interceptions. 

Smith helped Jackson with three catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns while Collins hauled in three catches for 138 yards and two scores. Cremeans led the rushing attack with 89 yards on nine carries and touchdown.

For Gallia Academy, Rathburn was 25-of-34 passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Franklin hauled in nine catches for 97 yards with a touchdown and a rushing touchdown, and Hines had 114 total yards and a rushing score. 

Fairland returns to action on Friday for OVC play at South Point while Gallia Academy rebounds at home against Coal Grove.


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