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Written by: David Burnworth on Saturday, December 4th, 2021
Last night Fairmont Senior showed just how important the little things are in their nine-point win over a hard-nosed Independence Patriots team. The difference was the ability the Polar Bears had in kicking point after attempts with Trey Longwell connecting on all three kicks, while Atticus Goodson missed his only attempt forcing the Patriots to chase points on their second score of the game.
Dom Stingo was huge from his quarterback slot on the first scoring drive by the Polar Bear. He hit Germaine Lewis on a nice little screen pass, then he hit Kayson Nealy for a gain of twelve yards. Nealy was hit by two Patriot defenders as the ball got to him making the completion even bigger as it seemed to erupt something in the Polar Bears. Evan Dennison looked to have made a big catch but the officials ruled that the ball bounce off of the turf before the catch. Stingo calmly dropped back to pass again throwing to Dennison with the result being a 59 yard touchdown to make this a 7-0 game, after the first of three Trey Longwell point after kicks.
Independence would march all the way downfield about two minutes with Logan Phalin connecting with Trey Bowers, who easily got behind his man for a 41 yard score. Goodson badly missed the point after kick leaving this a 7-6 game. It almost seemed like that was the blow that the Patriots could never overcome.
The Polar Bears used a sweet double pass to pick up Stingo hit Dennison, who threw downfield to Nealy for a big 39-yard pickup. Lewis would later plow in from two yards out as he used some dirty work from his offensive line to give the Polar Bears the 14-6 lead. A big difference in this one was the passing ability by the Polar Bears that helped the potent rushing game have even more success. Lewis would end his night with 167 net yards.
Both defenses would have nice picks in the latter part of the first half. Phalin would be under pressure as he was most of the night causing his pass to be off target and easily picked by Nealy. Koby Toothman was the Polar Bear putting the pressure on as he got into the backfield without any trouble. The Patriots would get their picked by Goodson. Other than the missed point after kick, Goodson had an outstanding overall game, with 129 net yards on offense to go with his big pick on defense.
The third quarter was a defensive slugfest until the 2:30 mark where Judah Price got to the outside and then raced for the 46 yard touchdown to pull Independence within two points. They would go for two and the tie but again failed to put points on the scoreboard after a touchdown leaving this a two point contest.
Germaine Lewis basically did it all for the Polar Bears on their ensuing drive. He took the kickoff a hard squib kick to the Independence 38 yard line. Then on the first play of the drive, he raced the final 38 yards for the score and a 21-12 lead. Lewis at times looked like a college player going up against a very young high school defense as he really made things look easy.
Independence used some nice work from Goodson, who totaled 34 yards on two big runs but he coughed the ball up at the six yard line where the Polar Bears came up with it. Independence head coach John Lilly challenged the call but the replay official stuck with the call on the field. Many on the sideline thought Goodson was down before the ball came out.
The Polar Bears were the 16th seed coming into the playoffs with the state title win they end their season with an 8-4 record, while the #2 seed Patriots end their season 11-1 and state runners ups.
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