The Creek Wood Red Hawks were all set to take down Fairview on the road and improve to 1-1 on the year. They just had to take care of some early jitters first.
Fairview recovered the opening kickoff, a Creek Wood onside kick attempt, but the Red Hawk defense stopped the drive around midfield and forced the Yellow Jackets to punt. On their first offensive play, CWHS quarterback Peyton Gibbs handed the ball off to Ethan Griffin around the goal line, but after a gain of about six yards, Griffin fumbled. Tony Torres recovered for Fairview and ran into the endzone for a touchdown. Just like that, Creek Wood was down 7-0, after a defensive stand and one offensive play.
The Jackets kicked off, and again Creek Wood was trapped in its own end. On the second play of that drive, Gibbs fumbled on a running play, and Fairview recovered in the end zone, scoring soon after to make it 14-0. The Red Hawks seemed snake-bitten: two drives, three plays, two fumbles, and two defensive touchdowns.
Fortunately for Creek Wood, the fumble bug was contagious, as both sides combined for more than a half-dozen fumbles in the game, and Fairview committed a large number of penalties that helped keep the Red Hawks in the game.
Creek Wood drove down the field late in the second quarter but was unable to find the end zone. Coach Justin Palmer elected to take the points, and Coulter Dotson booted a chip-shot field goal to trim the lead to 14-3 at the half. The Red Hawks took the opening kickoff of the second half, and marched the ball down the field, capping the drive with a Griffin touchdown run to make it 14-10 Fairview.
Hunter Zimmerman and his stable of running backs and wide receivers tried to make a charge of their own, but the Red Hawk defense and the Yellow Jackets’ own penalty troubles kept them from answering. Instead, Creek Wood took its first lead of the night off back to back fourth quarter plays from Quinton Poole to make it 17-14 CWHS.
Much like in week one, at home against Dickson County, the Red Hawks had to hold off a challenge in the final minutes with the lead. This time, however, the defense held, and forced a game tying field goal attempt. Freshman Jeff Perez attempted the 33 yarder, but pushed it left, and the Red Hawks took over at the 16 yard line with a minute and change left in regulation. Fairview used its time-outs wisely, but the clock was on Creek Wood’s side, and the Red Hawks were just barely able to run out the clock, and escape with the 17-14 win.
While Griffin made a nice recovery and Poole had a sensational second half, the MVP was punter Garrett Dolinich. In a game of field position, the former Charlotte Tiger showcased a golden toe, booming kicks over return-men’s heads all night. Without his ability to flip the field in the second half, the Red Hawks may have had a very different game on their hands.
The 1-1 Red Hawks continue their 3-game road trip Friday with a trek up Highway 48 to visit local rivals Montgomery Central. The game will be heard on 101.5 The One FM and WDKN 1260 AM, as the Red Hawks look to gain their first win in Region play this year.