FAIRMONT, W.Va. – – Fairmont State forced five UVa-Wise turnovers and took advantage of several special teams mistakes to post a 41-32 Mountain East Conference victory at Duvall-Rosier Field Saturday.
Fairmont State (4-3, 4-3) got on the board on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage. After three consecutive completions from quarterback Cooper Hibbs, Terrell Charles scored on a 46-yard touchdown run. Johnny Dearstine was good on the PAT to make the score 7-0 Fighting Falcons just 90 seconds into the contest.
UVa-Wise (0-8, 0-7) fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the ball to Fairmont State at the 23-yard line. The Cavaliers appeared to be on the cusp of forcing a field goal attempt but an offsides penalty on a third-and-two play gave the Falcons a first and goal situation. Charles would take advantage of the opportunity by scoring his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out. Dearstine’s second PAT made the score 14-0 with 12:25 to play in the opening period.
Coach Dewey Lusk‘s team would finally get the ball on offense and the team manufactured one of its best drives of the year. The Cavs would run 15 plays, moving the ball 75 yards for a touchdown. Javonte Latney finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown scamper. Trent Martin‘s extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score 14-6.
An offensive outburst would be the story of the remainder of the first half. James Oliver scored for Fairmont State to push the score back to two possessions before Daniel Lewis hooked up with Terrence Younger on a 24-yard touchdown strike to make the score 21-13 with 14:02 to play in the half.
Fairmont State responded with a 41-yard field goal by Dearstine only to see Lewis find James Cousinson a 17-yard touchdown strike to cap an 81-yard drive. Martin was good on the PAT to cut the margin to four at 24-20.
The Falcons would score the next 10 points as Dearstine booted a 30-yard field goal and Devon Garnett caught a 34-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds to play in the half. Dearstine’s PAT made the score 34-20.
Lewis answered by engineering the finest drive of his young UVa-Wise career. The signal caller moved the ball 55 yards in 30 seconds, finishing the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Younger. A botched snap on the extra point sent the two teams to halftime with the Falcons holding a 34-26 lead.
The second half belonged to the defenses. Fairmont State forced four UVa-Wise turnovers, including three interceptions in the half. Likewise, the Cavs defense stiffened as the only Falcons score of the half came on a 9-yard touchdown run by Aaron Williams late in the third quarter.
Williams’ touchdown and Dearstine’s subsequent PAT extended the lead to 41-26. UVa-Wise would be unable to gain any traction on offense until Cousins caught his second touchdown pass of the day, a 9-yard strike from Lewis with 4:44 to play. The Cavs attempted a two-point conversion but the try was unsuccessful, leaving the score 41-32.
Fairmont State would be unable to run out the clock, giving the ball back to UVa-Wise with 2:23 to play. The Cavs would move the ball to the Falcons’ 48-yard line before Emanuel Ivey picked off a pass to seal the win.
The contest was marred by penalties; UVa-Wise was assessed 12 penalties for 136 yards while Fairmont State was penalized 11 times for 110 yards.
Andre Hamilton provided an interception in the second half for the Cavs but despite his efforts his club lost the turnover battle five-to-one.
Charles gained 130 yards on 28 carries to spearhead a Falcons’ rushing attack that gained 171 yards. Hibbs completed 19 of 31 passes for 261 yards.
Lewis passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns while Latney gained 60 yards on the ground. Zachary Blair posted a season-high 15 tackles on defense, including three for loss.
Younger and Carlton Griffith finished with six catches for 75 yards, Cousins caught five passes for 57 yards and joined Younger with two touchdown receptions.
Next up for UVa-Wise is a return to Carl Smith Stadium as Urbana University makes its first ever trip to Wise next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
(Courtesy Uva-Wise Athletics)