By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
BUNKER HILL —
The Fairfield Falcons took an early lead and then held of a late rally by the Maconaquah Braves to advance to the second round in the high school football Class 3A Sectional 26 Friday night.
Fairfield had a 20-7 lead entering the fourth period only to have the Braves tie the score at 28-28 with 7:08 left to play. But the Falcons scored twice in the final 2:00 for a 42-28 victory.
“We told the kids all week that Maconaquah was a dangerous team,” Fairfield coach Bob Miller said. “They have players that are capable of making big plays and they showed that.
“It wasn’t a pretty win for us, but we survived to play next week and we will not make a two-hour bus trip.”
Fairfield (9-1) hosts Twin Lakes next Friday. Twin Lakes was a 14-13 winner over Culver Military.
Maconaquah finishes 6-4.
“The Braves are a very big, physical team,” Miller said.
After the Braves tied the score 28-28 the Falcons erupted for a pair of touchdowns in the span of :17.
Senior Cameron Kitson caught a pass at midfield from senior quarterback Kyle Mast and scampered 50 yards for a TD at 1:55 to put the Falcons back in the lead for good.
Senior Lucas Miller iced the game when he stepped in front of a Maconaquah receiver picked off the pass and returned it 53 yards for a TD with 1:38 remaining.
“Miller’s pick six was huge for us,” coach Miller said.
The game started out as a defensive struggle with neither team scoring in the open quarter.
Fairfield capitalized on two Braves’ turnovers in the second period. Maconaquah fumbled on the first play of the second period and senior Kolin Erb recovered for the Falcons at the M-23. An incomplete pass on first down and two running plays that lost a total of seven yards left Fairfield with a fourth-and-17. Mast lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone that was hauled in by senior Forrest Glogouski for a touchdown at 10:07.
Junior Nolan Miller intercepted a Maconaquah pass and returned the ball to the M-10. Kitson broke through the Brave defense for a 10-yard TD run on the first play.
A pair of PAT kicks by sophomore Reid Kammerdiener put the Falcons up 14-0 at halftime.
“We knew the Braves were capable of scoring points, but the way the game started out I really didn’t think it would turn into a shootout like it did,” Miller said.
Kitson was a key for the Fairfield offense. He carried the ball 16 times for 153 yards and caught four passes for 95.
“Cameron was a little frustrated in the first half as we were not playing on offense the way we are capable of,” Miller said. “We weren’t getting blocks on the Maconaquah linebackers and they were fleeing to the ball.
“In the second half we did a better job in that area and Cameron once he finds a seam can make a big play happen.”
Junior Cody Hicks had a big night for the Braves with 229 rushing yards on 32 carries. Senior KJ Walton returned a punt 98 yards for a TD with :06 left in the third period that helped spark the Maconaquah comeback.