FCHS tops Starr’s Mill 28-14, will host playoff game Friday

Tue, 11/13/2007 - 5:05pm
By: Kevin Wandra

It doesn’t get any better than perfect.

Tiger Perfection

The 2007 Fayette County High School Tigers — capping a 10-and-0 season of triumph — also carved another milestone for their school Friday night.

For the first time ever, FCHS defeated the host Starr’s Mill Panthers, 28-14, to complete the first undefeated regular season in school history.

Fayette ended the regular season 10-0 overall and 8-0 in Region 2-AAAA. It will play at home against Baldwin in the first round of the state playoffs Friday.

Early on, it appeared that Starr’s Mill was on its way to spoiling what many felt would be a memorable night for Fayette, taking a 14-0 lead late into the second quarter.

Spencer Penson opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 72-yard drive on Starr’s Mill’s second possession of the game.

Starr’s Mill linebacker Chris Sudduth met Fayette County quarterback Brandon Boykin in the backfield and stripped him of the ball, picking up the loose ball and returning it 20 yards for a touchdown to increase Starr’s Mill’s lead to 14-0 with 5:02 left in the second quarter.

Boykin shook off the mishap on Fayette’s next, and final, series of the first half, answering with a 9-yard touchdown run on an option keeper off left tackle that completed a nine-play, 80-yard drive.

“That drive was real big going into half-time,” Fayette coach Tommy Webb said. “It gave us a lot of confidence, and it showed that, despite being down 14-0, we were still ready to fight and compete.”

Fayette played a far superior second half, coming back to outscore Starr’s Mill 21-0.

Surprisingly, Fayette didn’t make any adjustments at half-time, Webb said.

“We told the kids before the game that Starr’s Mill would come out and play,” Webb said. “They hit us in the mouth and knocked us down. What we told the kids at half-time was, ‘We got knocked down, but a champion team will get right back up and play.’ We made absolutely no adjustments other than to get off blocks, make blocks and make plays. And the kids just came out and played.”

Fullback Matt Daniels took an option pitch from Boykin, slipped through multiple tackles and weaved his way to the end zone on a 25-yard run that tied the game at 14 on Fayette’s second possession of the second half.

The touchdown run by Daniels wouldn’t have occurred without a leaping catch by wide receiver Terrow Davis that converted a fourth-and-5 and kept the drive alive.

Daniels had a monster game for Fayette, rushing for 151 yards on 19 carries. He led a Fayette offense that finished with 353 total yards of offense (255 rushing, 98 passing).

Daniels and Boykin, who did an exceptional job of running Fayette’s option offensive attack, wore down Starr’s Mill’s defense with their speed and elusiveness in the second half.

Boykin’s 9-yard touchdown run on which he faked a toss sweep left, took off running down the right sideline and leaped into the end zone from within the 5-yard line capped a nine-play, 86-yard drive with 7:19 remaining in the fourth quarter and put Fayette ahead for good, 21-14.

All but two plays on the drive featured runs by either Boykin or Daniels, who had a 48-yard run down the right sideline.

Boykin was confident all along that Fayette would go undefeated.

“This is an unbelievable season,” Boykin said. “We’ve said since the first week of the season that we would be 10-0 at the end of the year. Starr’s Mill was the first team that really challenged us, but we liked that because we’re competitors. We came out and took care of business.”

Turnovers on Starr’s Mill’s final two possessions sealed the team’s fate. Fayette’s Barack Little picked off a Jaye screen pass intended for Terrell Tripp and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown with 3:43 left to complete the scoring.

Fayette cornerback Cuincy Carruthers intercepted a Jaye pass on Starr’s Mill’s next series to essentially end the game.

The Tigers’ defense was gashed by running back Parker duPont (eight carries, 105 yards) early, but it clamped down on Starr’s Mill’s spread offense as the game went along, limiting the Panthers to under 200 yards of total offense (193).

Starr’s Mill finished the regular season 5-5 overall and 4-4 in Region 2-AAAA, missing the state playoffs.

Blown opportunities and a penalty that nullified a touchdown cost Starr’s Mill; Sam Martin missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter, duPont was stopped short of the first-down marker by a host of Fayette defenders on fourth-and-1 from the Fayette 25-yard line in the first quarter, and an illegal procedure penalty negated a Jaye-to-Terrell Tripp 52-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

“The touchdown that was called back was a momentum killer,” Starr’s Mill coach Mike Earwood said. “Having that touchdown up there wouldn’t have won the game, but momentum is a big thing in high school football. That’s pretty much kind of the way our season has gone.”

Each week, The Citizen chooses one game as the “Game of the Week,” but scores, photos and videos from Friday night’s game go up on www.TheCitizen.com starting on Friday and are updated throughout the weekend.

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