FAIRMONT, W.Va —The saying has become the calling card for the high-powered Fairmont Senior offense.
“We just tell all of our guys to come meet us in the end zone,” said Polar Bears running back Rhett Heston. “That’s where we’re going to party.”
A 50-7 beatdown of University High on Friday night saw Fairmont Senior average 11 yards per play.
Connor Neal passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns to overcome his first interception of the season. J.D. Smith had 145 yards on four catches with two scores. Keishawn Cottingham led the rushing attack with 108 yards on 12 carries.
“The way we approach things, there aren’t too many situations we feel we can’t overcome,” said Heston, who rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns and also added 48 yards receiving and another score. “We feel like we can get a first down at any time or we can score on any given play. All the plays are designed to do good things, so we try to make the most out of each one.”
The Polar Bears (5-0) — Class AA runner-ups the past two seasons — had 439 yards of offense on 40 plays. The top-ranked team in this week’s MetroNews poll also scored on a 46-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.
“Yeah, we’re not just a finesse team,” said Heston, who began the season as a receiver, but was filling in for the injured Breeden Gilbert at running back for the second week. “We can play a variety of ways. We have such a great offensive line that it allows us to have a lot of options on how we attack defenses.”
The flip side was a frustrated University High team that had no answers on defense.
University (2-3) gave up a 76-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first offensive play — “the result of a kid not knowing what he was doing,” Hawks coach John Kelley said. UHS then gave up seven more plays of more than 20 yards.
“They are an excellent football team and they are well-coached,” Kelley said. “They are really talented up front and they can hit you with big plays at any time.”
It could have been a measure of talent or experience, with both sides tipping toward the Polar Bears, but Kelley was also upset the Hawks showed little effort to fight to make it a game.
“Effort? None,” Kelley said. “What I saw out there, I didn’t like it.
“We have to find a way to make the most out of our next four games and then go play well in the Mohawk Bowl or we might not have a season.”
Kelley said he preached to his players all week in practice about the Polar Bears’ big-play potential.
“Most of our guys didn’t practice much,” Kelley said. “They were off with the trainers for most of the week.”
Heston said the Polar Bears could tell a difference in the Hawks.
“This was the first year we’ve played against them that it wasn’t a close game,” he said. “They have a great program and good players, but they lost a lot of players from last year. It seems like they have a different attitude.”
Fairmont Senior had already built a 22-0 lead by the time Logan Holgorsen found Evan Parow for a 2-yard scoring pass in the second quarter.
Holgorsen finished 16-of-29 for 132 yards but was intercepted three times. Parow finished with 10 catches for 88 yards.
“We deserved this,” Kelley said. “Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for our guys.”