By Brad Morris
AMANDA — While fans can get caught up in the latest fade of wide-open offense, football at heart is still a simple game.
And Fairfield Union proved that on Friday night.
The Falcons dominated the line of scrimmage and racked up 264 yards of total offense, all coming via a bruising ground game, to deal host Amanda-Clearcreek a 20-0 Mid-State League Buckeye Division setback.
Despite the loss, the Aces (6-4, 4-3) on early projection courtesy of joeeitel.com remained seventh in Division V, Region 19 and should host No. 10 seeded Minford (6-3) a week from today in The Pit.
Fairfield Union (4-6, 3-4) moved from 20th to 18th in early projections, missing out on the final playoff spot in Division IV, Region 15 by 0.4254 to No. 16 Warren (3-7), which gets the task of traveling to MSL-Buckeye and defending regional champion Bloom-Carroll (10-0, 7-0) to open the playoffs.
Quarterback Hayden Collins was the master controller of the Falcons’ single-wing attack, scoring all three touchdowns on a chilly late October evening and rushing for 228 yards on 52 carries.
Fairfield Union ran 68 offensive plays to chew up the clock and limited Amanda-Clearcreek to just 32 plays and 123 yards of total offense. The Falcons also forced three turnovers and committed none.
Brady Sharp kept the Falcons off the scoreboard early in the second quarter when he blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Isabella Neal.
The Aces, however, were forced into a three-and-out and a 21-yard punt due to difficulty handling the snap on a wet field set the Falcons up 55 yards from the end zone.
Fairfield Union methodically used 12 plays to cover the yardage and drained nearly six minutes off the game clock. Collins capped the drive with a three-yard run and the first of two extra points off the kicking foot of Neal put the Falcons ahead 7-0.
In the second half, the Falcons used 15 plays to cover 57 yards and drain eight minutes and 10 seconds off the clock. Collins capped the drive with a one-yard plunge over the goal line on fourth down to make it 13-0 with 9:19 remaining.
Collins added a three-yard run later in the quarter to put the capper on the Falcons’ first win over the Aces since 2015.
Amanda-Clearcreek was also shut out in a game for the first time since 2018.
Nate Hunter completed 11 of 19 passes for 111 yards in the loss for the Aces. Grant Guiler had three receptions for 56 yards and Cade Young made three grabs for 34 yards.
Fairfield Union 20,
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Fairfield Union 0 7 0 13 20
Amanda-Clearcreek 0 0 0 0 0
FU — Hayden Collins 3 run (Isabella Neal kick), 1:39.
FU — Hayden Collins 1 run (kick failed), 9:19.
FU — Hayden Collins 3 run (Isabella Neal kick), 3:35.
First downs 17 6
Rushing yards 66-264 13-12
Passing yards 0 111
Comp.-Att.-Int 0-2-0 11-19-1
Total yards 264 123
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-Yards 6-35 4-40
RUSHING – Fairfield Union — Hayden Collins 52-228, Owen Ruff 4-7, Jayden Pritchard 2-11, Grant Boch 6-18, Team 2-0. Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 8-(-6), Hunter Matheny 3-17, Grant Guiler 2-1.
PASSING – Fairfield Union — Hayden Collins 0-2-0-0. Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 11-19-1-111.
RECEIVING – Fairfield Union — N/A. Amanda-Clearcreek — Cade Young 3-34, Peyton Cassley 2-10, Grant Guiler 3-56, Brady Sharp 1-5, Tayvon Miller 1-3.
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