Page had the football just three times in the second half, but the Patriots were able to hold off a hard-charging bunch of Yellow Jackets for a 28-20 victory in the Battle of 840 Friday night.
Fairview held the football for more than 17 minutes in the second half but could not “push the ball over the goal line,” and that spelled their defeat, coach Chris Hughes said.
“That’s the name of the game,” he said. “They were able to push it over the goal line on some big plays that we didn’t have.”
Page (1-0), playing on its newly finished turf field, expanded on a 21-7 halftime advantage by scoring on one of its three second-half drives to put the game out of reach.
“Our defense has got to get off the field,” Page coach Charles Rathbone said. “(Fairview) made some plays, and they’ve got some athletes. We’ve got to be smarter than that.”
Quarterback Cade Walker accounted for all four Patriot TDs, throwing for three and running for the other, as he finished with 197 yards on 12-of-15 passing with the three TDs and one interception. He also rushed for 53 yards.
“I’m so proud of him this week,” Rathbone said. “He’s a special kid. He’s the kind of kid you want leading your football team.”
Kam Harris-Lusk scored two of the three touchdowns for Fairview (0-1), amassing 130 yards of total offense. He caught 11 passes for 105 yards, even after leaving the game briefly because of cramping, Hughes said.
“Kam was dangerous in the run game, because they had to account for him,” he said. “But we had the ball inside the 10 three times and didn’t get any points. We’ve gotta find a way to punch it in when we get in the red zone.
“We had plenty of chances to win that game, and we didn’t get it done.”
Fairview outgained Page 349-286 for the game, but the Pats capitalized on more of their scoring opportunities.
Michael Burdick caught two TDs from Walker and finished with 74 yards on three catches before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury. Rathbone declined to comment on the extent of Burdick’s injury after the game.
Page jumped out to a 14-0 lead quickly in the first quarter, with Walker tossing two TDs in the first three minutes after Fairview went three-and-out on its first possession. Burdick struck first from 40 yards away, then Miles Bonn got behind the defense and caught a 31-yard pass from Walker to extend the Pats’ lead.
Burdick would catch his second TD late in the second quarter from 24 yards out to make it 21-7. The Jackets missed two field goals in the first half but got a 16-yard TD run from Harris-Lusk to get on the board.
Fairview had a golden opportunity go for naught after the Pats turned it over in their own territory with 4:32 left in the first. Two incompletions, a sack and a run for no gain ended the scoring threat.
The Jackets took the second half kickoff and drove 52 yards in 21 plays, eating up 10:45 off the clock but missed on a 34-yard field goal by Skyler Wilson that would have cut into the Page lead.
Page turned it over on Walker’s interception by Blake Russell on the next possession, and the Jackets would capitalize with a 4-yard TD run by Harris-Lusk to make it 21-13 after the two-point try failed.
The Pats scored in six plays on the ensuing possession, with Walker scoring on a QB keeper on first-and-goal from the Fairview 17. That made it 28-13 with 3:12 left.
Fairview, with no timeouts remaining, marched down the field to score on a Brody Cox two-yard run, but the Jackets could not recover an onside kick attempt, allowing Page to run out the final 49 seconds.