It was the battle of the big plays at Duvall-Rosier Field on Friday as the Preston Knights downed the East Fairmont Bees, 56-39.
Despite forcing three first-half turnovers, East Fairmont (1-6) couldn’t overcome Preston (3-4) and the Josiah Nuse-led Knights late in the second half.
“Our kids gave a heck of an effort,” East coach Bill Haddox said after the loss. “Our defense played great. Offensively, we moved the ball well.”
The Bees scored on their first offensive drive, marching down the field 51 yards on seven plays. Quarterback Jake Delaney capped off the drive with a two-yard run just 1:50 into the game.
The Bees would go on to score on drives of 95, 55 and 28 yards in the first half, and secure a three-point lead going into the break.
“At first, we could play football with them,” said Haddox of the first-half performance of his team.
The second half would see much of the same until the final moments.
Going into the fourth quarter, Preston had a 36-32 advantage and made the most of it.
Preston’s Kyle Cool took the ball right out of Scotty Shroyer’s hands on a run and then took it 50 yards for the score, and the Knights never looked back.
The Bees would battle back as Delaney would drive the Bees down the field and find E.J. Trickett for a four-yard score, his first of the season.
The Bees then recovered an onside kick and went back to the throwing game with the score 44-39 in favor of the Knights.
“We did things tonight to give our guys a chance; we had a chance in this ball game,” said Haddox.
Delaney would look for his favorite target on the night, Myles Johnson, but the Knights were double-teaming him to close the game out.
East Fairmont couldn’t convert a fourth-and-nine, and the Knights put the nail in the coffin with a 57-yard run from Nuse.
“The size of their kids and the weight just kind of wore us down at the end,” Haddox said.
Nuse would add another 45-yard touchdown run to bring his total to 205 yards on 21 carries with five touchdowns. Throw in his two catches for 92 yards and a score and the Knights could call it a night.
The Bees would try to drive back down the field but would have their drive stalled after Johnson’s attempted catch was controversially ruled incomplete. The Bees would turn the ball over on downs the next play and the Knights would roll on for the win.
Despite the loss, Delaney would finish 22-of-43 for 456 yards to go along with his four passing touchdowns.
“Jake did a fine job tonight. He got better as the game went on. I’m very proud of that,” Haddox said of his quarterback. “This was probably the best game he’s played. He’s just a junior.”
Johnson caught six passes for 197 yards and two scores.
“That’s just a matter of getting to do it. Myles did a fine job tonight,” Haddox said of the changed offensive scheme.
On the loss overall, Haddox said he was proud of his team, but the size of their opponents once again took its toll.
The Bees now fall to 1-6 and are back in action next week on the road at Grafton.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org of follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.