GOSHEN — The Goshen RedHawks won their season opener, but the Fairfield Falcons made them sweat it out by mounting a fourth-period comeback that fell just short.
Goshen took a 20-0 lead before holding off the Falcons in the end for a 20-14 victory.
“I’m glad the game was only 48 minutes,” Goshen coach Kyle Park said. “We saw on film that Fairfield does not give up and they didn’t. We had a couple of mental breakdowns in the fourth and they hurt us. Otherwise we played a pretty good game.”
“We needed things to go our way and in the first half they didn’t,” Fairfield coach Matt Thacker said. “But for us to be as close as we were in a game like this and against a team like Goshen, that is all I can ask for as a coach.”
Goshen (1-0) hosts Elkhart Central next Friday while Fairfield (0-1) entertains Osceola Grace.
The RedHawks got on the scoreboard first as junior Drew Worthman scored on a one-yard scamper at 11:55 of the second quarter. The score capped a 16-play drive that covered 87 yards.
“Fairfield forced us to drive the ball,” Park said.
Fairfield put together one of its better drives of the evening taking the ball from their own 24 to the G-33 before turning the ball over one downs. Goshen senior defensive end Kaleb Kilmer stopped the Fairfield runner one yard short of the first down. It was the second big play of the drive from Kilmer as he rushed the Falcon quarterback Kory Lantz and forced him to throw the ball before he was ready.
Another RedHawk senior Mason Schrock came up with a big special teams play when he pounced on a Falcon fumble on a punt at the G-40.
Goshen drove the ball and Grewe scored his first TD of the contest at 1:15 to go before halftime on a two-yard smash for a 14-0 halftime.
Grewe added a second score at 8:31 of the third quarter on a 26-yard run.
The RedHawks were still leading 20-0 with 8:21 left to play in the contest before the Falcons mounted their comeback attempt.
Junior quarterback Kory Lantz connected with senior wideout Nolin Sharick on a 17-yard TD pass. The duo hooked up on another TD with 3:25 remaining. This one covered 50 yards and it came on a fourth-and-15 play.
“Sharick is a playmaker and he made a couple on us. There were two jump ball situations and he made both of the plays.” Park said. “Those were our couple breakdowns on defense, but for a first game I was pleased. Our tackling was much better and the kids were flying to the ball.”
Grewe was the leading rusher for the RedHakws with 89 yards on 20 carries. Junior QB Colin Turner completed 11-of-17 passes for 122 yards. Junior Andrew Pletcher had two catches for 49 yards and senior Wesley VanHooser four for 34.
Lantz rushed for 63 yards on 14 carries and completed five-of-nine passes for 128 yards. Sharick caught two passes for 66 yards.
Greg Keim can be reached at email@example.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 326. Follow Greg on Twitter @gkeim_TGN
GOSHEN 20, FAIRFIELD 14
Goshen 0 14 6 0 — 20
Fairfield 0 0 0 14 — 14
G — (11:55) Drew Worthman 1 run (Emylio Romo kick)
G — (1:15) Bryant Grewe 2 run (Romo kick)
G — (8:31) Grewe 26 run (kick failed)
F — (8:21) Nolin Sharick 17 pass from Kory Lantz (kick blocked)
F — (3:25) Sharick 50 pass from Lantz (Lantz run)