The Fairfield Eagles battled into overtime only to fall by a single point to the Bellville Brahmas in Madisonville on Saturday night. The Eagles end the season at 6-6.
Fairfield dug out of a 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 14-14 and worked toward their first lead of the game with just over a minute to go, only to see the game go into overtime.
Fairfield turned the ball over on downs in their first possession and the Brahmas turned the possession into points. Senior quarterback Marcus Ward worked the offense down the field. He had a 21-yard run and a couple of nine yard runs down inside the Eagle 30. On third and short, Ward found his favorite receiver Chancellor Leaks-Gillum for the 22-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 Bellville lead.
Bellville had a short field to work with thanks to the Eagle special teams’ unit. A snap over Tyler Hughes head made him scramble for the ball and get off a four-yard punt and the Brahmas had possession at the Eagle 38-yard line. The Fairfield defense sacked Ward back outside the 20-yard line but a quick flag penalized the Eagles for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty moves the ball half the distance to the goal and a first down. On the next play, the Eagles were penalized a second time and the ball ended up on the five-yard line. Leaks-Gillum took the ball and scored on a two-yard run to extend the score to 14-0 with 7:57 remaining in the first half.
Fairfield got on track and did so in a hurry on their next possession. On first down near midfield, quarterback Chad Rushin handed off to Kadarius Walker. Walker burst up the middle and was tripped up and he sat on a defender, his knee never touching the ground, and stepped up and raced for a 52-yard touchdown. Hughes added the point after and the Eagles cut the lead to 14-7.
Bellville took their possession and went back to work. James Wiley picked up a first down, but the drive stalled and on third down the Brahmas had to go to the air. Ward dropped to pass and was forced to scramble, he evaded a couple of tacklers and was about to be sacked and he launched the ball in the air. Defensive tackle Jordan Gibson ripped the ball out of the air and rumbled for a 35-yard touchdown return and the Eagles tied the game at 14-14 with 4:53 remaining in the first half.
Bellville was able to regain the lead with just over a minute to go in the half. Ward tossed to the back of end zone to David Duffala for the 22-yard touchdown and a 21-14 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third quarter, Fairfield was driving and were able to tie the score at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Walker scored on a one-yard run with 10:35 remaining in regulation and the score was tied.
Bellville had their drive stall and a terrific punt down to the Fairfield five-yard line with 8:23 remaining. JaShaughn Hatcher shared running back duties with Walker in the fourth quarter and the Eagles worked downfield. Hatcher had an 11-yard run and Walker had a 12-yard run. Hatcher converted a third and short and the moved inside the forty-yard line. Walker could not pick up the first down and the Eagles called a timeout to decide what to do for the fourth down. Rushin dumped a pass to Walker and he picked up the first down to the Brahma 15-yard line. Walker took the next play and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:26 remaining in the game.
The Brahmas went to the air to try and tie the game. Ward completed a 40-yard pass to Dontay Holmes to the Eagle 25-yard line. On third and three from the Eagle 18, Ward hit Leaks-Gillum for the touchdown with 12 seconds remaining in regulation and the game was tied at 28-28.
Fairfield took the ball first in the overtime period. Rushin passed to Branch to convert on a fourth down and Walker converted a fourth down to the one-yard run. Avery Archibald bulled his way in for the score and the 34-28 lead. Hughes lined up for the point after and it was blocked so the lead stood at six points.
Bellville got a lift on their first play with Ward ripping off a 15-yard run on first down. On second and goal from the nine, Ward threw to Leaks-Gillum for the touchdown and tied the score. Leo Guerrero kicked the extra point and the game was over with the Brahmas taking the 35-34 win.
Fairfield is eliminated from the playoffs and the Eagles battled through some tough times, but the future looks bright and the coaching staff have several building blocks for next season. The UIL will realign the districts in February and the next two season district opponents will be determined.
(Photos by Melissa Lee)