QUAPAW — For the first time since 2013, the Fairland Owls are in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
The Owls, who lost their first two games, rolled to a 35-14 win over Quapaw in the District A-7 opener for both teams here Friday, Sept. 22.
While Fairland is off to its best start since 2014, the Wildcats dropped to 0-4 on the season.
Quapaw jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening frame when Jonas Gregory exploded on a 75-yard touchdown run.
Gregory, who was stopped on the conversion try, would leave the game a short time later with an injury.
Fairland then caught fire, getting a 7-yard pass from Riley Powell to Andrew Barker and a 52-yard strike from Powell to Michael Foust to take the lead for good.
“I don’t know what our thing is. Once we turn it, we go into a different gear,” Fairland head coach Kent Marshall said. “We’ve got some cats up from that can go it ourselves. We know we’ve got some speed in Charles (running back Charles Reed). Riley, our sophomore quarterback, we know doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, but he still gets it where it needs to go.
“We just have to keep taking advantage of what we do. If people stop us, they stop us.”
Fairland continued to pull away in the third quarter when Micheal Foust broke loose on a 33-yard run, then on the next series, Reed sprinted 28 yards for the Owls’ fourth TD.
The final two touchdowns in the game were the result of fumble returns.
Fairland’s Jay Padberg returned a fumble by Kale Thomasson 24 yards for a touchdown with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
The PAT kick by Barker made it 35-14.
The Wildcats returned the favor when Powell was stuffed for no gain and had the ball stripped by Hunter Thomasson.
Thomasson scooped the ball up and took off on an 84-yard TD run.
Kale Thomasson teamed with Matt Lovell on the conversion with 4:52 left in the game.
Watching film, our kids played harder than what we thought,” Quapaw head coach Chris Cawyer said. “All the coaches thought they were kinda sitting around watching and didn’t fire off. After watching the film, I was really pleased with some of the things we did.
“We’ve just got to go back to good fundamentals.”
Fairland wound up with 235 yards in total offense, 164 via the run.
Reed had 74 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while Foust finished with 64 yards and one score.
Powell completed 5 of 11 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Five different players caught a pass: Foust, Barker, Cayden Elliott, Luke Jones and Cody Rice.
All of Quapaw’s total yardage came on the ground, as Kale Thomasson was 0 for 2 passing.
Gregory had 71 yards on two carries for the Cats while Austin Crouch added 25 on 13 tries.
“They are young and we are young,” said Marshall, “Chris has got them going. They beat up. If they can get healthy, they will be OK.”
Grant Harden was Fairland’s defensive leader with four solos and six assists while James Handrich had two and five. Foust logged four solos and one assisted tackle.
Tanner Daniels had nine solos and three assists for the Cats on defense. Kale Thomasson had four and two.
Fairland hosts Foyil and Quapaw faces Rejoice Christian on the road Friday, Sept. 29.