FAIRMONT — The Fairmont football team grabbed its first win of the season on Friday night, taking care of West Bladen 28-6 at home Friday night.
Coming into the matchup, both teams struggled to contain the run and that proved to be the storyline in this one. The Golden Tornadoes were able to establish the run early and often, and racked up well over 200 yards on the ground. The team hasn’t had much success from the running back position to this point, but a freshman seized the moment in the win.
Colby Thorndyke led all rushers with 105 yards on 11 carries and felt as if his performance earned him more playing time from here on out.
“I just had to give it all I had and earn a spot, because really we’ve had no No. 1 [running back],” said Thorndyke.
The Golden Tornadoes (1-2, 1-0 TRC) played without playmaking sophomore Jahkeem Moore because of an ankle injury he suffered in a loss to Ashley last week. Couple that injury with the fact that the team hasn’t had a clear leading rusher this year, and it makes for the perfect opportunity for a player like Thorndyke.
Senior wideout Jordan Waters helped fill the void as well, taking more handoffs than usual. He gained 78 yards on seven rushes, including a 44-yard touchdown run down the right sideline on the team’s opening drive.
Fairmont coach Kevin Inman harped how important the run game would be throughout the week.
“We rotated our backs and we gave a big challenge to our o-line up front… we stressed the importance of establishing the running game,” Inman said. “Yes, we are a hurry-up, quick offense, but we have to establish the run to keep our defense fresh.”
The defense showed their gratitude for the new and improved rushing attack by holding the Knights (0-3, 0-1 TRC) to just 171 yards of total offense, and tightened up their rushing defense problems from previous weeks. Junior defensive lineman Cameron Harrington set the tone early by disrupting the Knights option runs in the backfield. He tallied three tackles for loss and added a sack. Freshman John Poe got in the mix and sacked West Bladen quarterback Tyre Boykin, who went 15-for-27 with 100 yards and one touchdown. Senior Carenthius Thompson came through with back-to-back sacks in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Despite the slow start, the Tornadoes are in the thick of things after winning their first conference game, which is all that matters to Inman.
“It gives us expectations on what we can do and what we’re capable of doing, and now it’s just building upon that,” said Inman.
Next week, Fairmont travels to West Columbus for another conference matchup.
Donnell Coley can be reached at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Sportsinmyveins.