Fair Grove scored first against Strafford in its Homecoming and Senior Night game, but the Indians overpowered the Eagles from there and won 42-7 with a strong first half against their Mid-Lakes Conference foes.
The Eagles overcame an early 3 and out possession and stopped a 4th down conversion attempt by Strafford’s Dalton Taylor.
Fair Grove proceeded to string together a nine-play, 51-yard drive featuring strong carries by quarterback Michael Thomas and capped it off with the senior slinging a pass into the hands of classmate Talon Bates for six points.
Strafford answered with a seven-play, 67 yard-scoring drive of their own, with Taylor getting the Indians’ set-up for a 25-yard rush by senior Jacob Shoemaker.
The Indians then forced another Fair Grove 3 and out and would not delay in returning to the end zone on their next two possessions. Dalton Taylor started and finished the five play drive with a 5-yard carry and hauled in a 35-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Jacob Wade to go up 14-7 on Fair Grove.
The Indians’ defense foiled a fourth-down conversion attempt by the Eagles, and Shoemaker would cap-off the passing efforts of Wade (10-for-16, 211 yards 3 TDs 2 INTs, 56 rush yards) by getting a 5-yard touchdown rush.
“The past history between (Strafford and Fair Grove) got us fired up and we came out knowing what they were gonna do,” said Indians right tackle Kory Noe, a senior leader on the offensive line whom Shoemaker credited for Strafford’s offensive success. “And tonight we got the win by playing fundamental football.”
Noe also collected six tackles and knocked down a pass on defense.
As tonight’s win sustains Strafford’s undefeated streak, coach Tim Hester stressed the humility of his team in staying level headed as the season continues on.
For Fair Grove, coach Jason O’Neal reminded his Eagles to stay focused on the rest of the season.
“We’ve got three more games and we wanna start by winning the next one,” O’Neal said. “We’re a good football team. We didn’t play great tonight and we got beat by a very good team, but if we keep improving week to week, it’s high school football – anything can happen."
Fair Grove (3-3, 2-2 conference) will face off against 2-4 Marionville next week as Strafford (6-0, 4-0 conference) matches up against undefeated Skyline. The Skyline Tigers are coming off a 66-7 win over Ash Grove.
Strafford 42, Fair Grove 7
Strafford 7 28 7 0
Fair Grove 7 0 0 0
Fair Grove - 51 yard drive, TD on a 30-yard pass from Michael Thomas to Talon Bates. Extra Point good by Preston Padgett.Strafford - 67 yard drive, TD on a 25-yard rush from Jacob Shoemaker. Extra point by Alex Castillo.
Strafford - 44 yard drive, TD on a 35-yard pass from Jacob Wade to Dalton Taylor. Castillo PAT
Strafford – 45 yard drive, TD on a 5-yard carry by Shoemaker. Castillo PAT
Strafford – 70-yard interception return by Brady Collier. Castillo PAT
Strafford – 21-yard drive, TD on a 6-yard pass from Wade to Brandon Foley. Castillo PAT
Strafford – 56-yard drive, TD on a 44-yard pass from Wade to Dallas Hester. Castillo PAT