Panthers extend winning streak; roll past Cardinals in OHC action


Panther linebacker Braylon Green (7) comes up to stop Triad’s Jacob Jenkins (24) after a short game on Friday. Fairbanks won the Ohio Heritage Conference game, 45-6. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

There’s not much a high school football team can do when it is as outmatched as the Triad Cardinals were Friday
The Fairbanks Panthers completely dominated the Ohio Heritage Conference game and coasted to a 45-6 verdict.
“We got a lot of work done tonight,” said FHS head coach Patrick Cotter as his team won for the sixth consecutive week.
“I was happy with all three phases – offense, defense and special teams – of the game,” he said. “We ran and threw the
ball well, our defense stymied them and we were strong on special teams.”
Fairbanks (6-2) rolled up 503 yards of total offense and limited the Cardinals (2-6) to just 127.
Triad’s ground game was particularly thwarted as the Cards finished with minus three yards on 21 carries.
“That was a rough one,” said Triad head coach Zach Winslow. “Fairbanks has a lot of size and a lot of weapons.”
Winslow knew how Fairbanks accumulated so much yardage, especially 239 on the ground.
“They are excellent with their read-option,” he said. “There were many times we just didn’t know where the ball was.”
The Panthers knew exactly where the pigskin was for most of the night. It generally was in the hands of someone
carrying it across the end line for a touchdown.
Fairbanks (which will host Mechanicsburg on Friday) set the tone early with a trio of touchdowns during the opening
Quarterback Braxton Wilhelm engineered all three drives and finished them with scoring strikes.
He connected with Trey Good on the first two scores. The first one came from 15 yards out, but the second was more
wide-open, covering 55 yards.
Wilhelm drilled a 32-yard scoring strike to Braylon Green with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
Cade Ziegler converted all three extra points as FHS took a 21-0 lead into the ensuing period.
Wilhelm played a role in the next two Fairbanks scores.
He ran the ball into the end zone from a yard out and then tossed a third TD pass to Good that went for 26 yards.
Ziegler kicked a pair of extra points and then closed out the first half scoring with a 24-yard field goal.
The Cardinals put together just one strong drive during the first half and it came with 3:59 remaining in the initial stanza.
Jordan Simonelli recovered a Panther fumble at the FHS 47, setting up a short field.
Simonelli then hit Logan McCoy with a pass over the top of the Fairbanks defense.
McCoy, who leads the OHC in receiving yardage, took off toward the end zone.
He didn’t stop until Gatlin Luke made a touchdown-saving tackle at the FHS five-yard-line.
Triad (which will travel to West Jefferson on Friday) couldn’t generate any offense during the next three plays.
Tyson Brown was summoned for a field goal attempt, but his offering failed to find the mark.
The Panthers came out on the field to begin the third quarter with a 38-0 lead.
As such, the running clock rule was implemented.
Fairbanks added an insurance touchdown in the third quarter when Luke raced 47 yards into the end zone on a run.
Ziegler’s extra point pushed the Panthers out to a 45-0 margin.
The Cardinals scored a consolation touchdown with a little more than six minutes remaining in the fourth period.
Simonelli threw for a 21-yard TD pass to Logan McCoy.
The Cardinals lined up for the two-point conversion, but FHS stuffed the play at the goal line.

Fairbanks’ C.J. Swartz (18) runs the ball past Triad’s Jackson Cordell (20) and Michael Warner (65) on Friday. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

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