Special to the Grove Sun
HULBERT — It took them a half, but once Fairland got things lined out, it was Katie bar the door.
The Owls led only 15-6 at the half of Friday night’s regular season finale with Hulbert, but four touchdowns in the third period led the way for a 43-6 victory.
“We had a little bit of difficulty at first because we had a couple new kids (in the lineup) and they had to get the feel of the game,” head coach Jimmy Dushane said. “It was kinda tight early. We made some adjustments at halftime and had the 28-point third quarter.
“We had to move some people around,” Dushane said, noting that senior Daniel Tipton took over at center for Justin Cox while Jacob Burchette filled in for two-way starter Ty Stovall.
“It took a bit of them getting used to things,” Dushane said.
The Owls improved to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in District A-8. They qualified for post season play as the third place team in A-8. As a result, they travel to 11th-ranked Morrison for a first-round clash on Friday.
The Wildcats, who were an eight-man football juggernaut for years, won the Class A state title in 2008 but won just three games a years ago.
They enter post-season play with a 7-3 record, 5-1 in District A-7.
A 54-yard pass to Jordan Alexander from Jon Henry and the ensuing conversion pass to Caleb Reynolds late in the half gave Fairland a 15-6 edge.
The roof caved in on the Riders in the third quarter when Chaz Wood recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
Henry broke loose on a 47-yard TD run, Brayden Lierle powered in from the 4 and Jesse Drosche caught an 18-yard pass from Henry to break the game open.
Henry had scored the Owls’ first touchdown on a 5-yard run in the opening quarter. Alexander toed the first of his five PATs.
Hulbert (0-10, 0-5) countered with a 60-yard TD strike from Christian Vance to Cole Brave early in the second period. The conversion try failed, leaving Fairland with a 7-6 edge.
Henry and Alexander then teamed up for the 54-yard strike for the Owls.
Henry netted 108 yards on 12 carries. He also completed 10 of 19 passes for 140 yards and the two scores.
Alexander caught seven passes for 98 yards while Drosche had three receptions for 42 yards. Gunnar Anderson added one catch.
Kolton Selsor and Wood were the Owls’ defensive leaders with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.