FAIRMONT - Even though the offense racked up 442 yards rushing Friday, it was the defense's night to shine as Elkins High School forced five turnovers to spoil Fairmont Senior's Homecoming with a 39-6 win at East-West Stadium.
Nick Martin intercepted two passes, nearly returning one for a touchdown, and Clayton Collett scooped up a fumble and sprinted 55 yards for a second quarter touchdown.
Silas Gibson also snared an errant Fairmont pass for an interception.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Elkins High School’s Clayton Collett attempts to run away from Fairmont Senior’s Noah Harmon Friday night in the Tigers’ 39-6 win at East-West Stadium.
"I thought (the defense) was the big difference," Elkins coach Greg Hott said after watching the Tigers climb to 5-0 for the first time in years. "We've been waiting for our defense to show up, and they did tonight. We applied pressure on the quarterback when pressure was needed, and I've always felt our defensive backs were good players, and they showed it tonight."
Elkins forced a fumble on the very first play of the game, swinging the momentum back their way after Fairmont had opened the game with a kick-off return deep into Elkins' territory. Three plays later, halfback L.J. Lawrence started right and sprinted through the gap to go 83 yards for the touchdown. Lawrence, who finished with 147 yards rushing on 12 carries, scored late in the opening quarter to give Elkins a 12-0 lead.
The second quarter belonged to Collett, who ran 55 yards after recovering the Fairmont fumble. He later scored in the waning seconds of the half, outrunning everybody to the goal line from 65 yards away. Collett finished with 152 yards rushing on just nine carries.
Martin took center stage in the third quarter, intercepting a pass in the final seconds and taking the ball down to the 1-yard line. On the final play of the quarter, Martin plowed in from that final yard for the touchdown. He finished the night with 88 yards on 17 carries.
"I've been the coach at Elkins High School for 25 years, and God has blessed us with three good players," Hott said, "and it's the best offensive line we've had in years. They pay attention to detail and execute their assignments."
Fairmont, 2-2, finally lit up the scoreboard at the start of the final quarter, as back-up quarterback Ben Stewart sneaked in from a yard away.
But Elkins stretched the lead back out on its next series, as Mitchell Kelly found an opening for a 1-yard touchdown run.
Kelly finished with 20 yards rushing. Earnest Howell added 22 yards on the ground, and Gibson another 13.
The Tigers had two scores negated, one coming on an offensive pass interference play and the other when Fairmont's Noah Harmon recovered a fumble on the goal line.
Elkins will entertain unbeaten Class AA power Bridgeport next Friday.