by JASON EPP
• Daily Leader
Eleven seniors played their last regular season game at McVay stadium, and with the 41-6 win over the Fairview Yellowjackets, assured themselves that they would return in two weeks for at least one more home game in the first round of the Oklahoma Class A playoffs.
It was the sometimes forgotten third phase of the game, special teams, which gave the Beaver Dusters the kick-start they needed to defeat the Fairview, and secure a second place finish in District A-1.
The Dusters’ Luis Chavez returned the opening kickoff on a reverse to the Fairview 18, which led to the Dusters first score - a 19-yard touchdown pass from Samuel Becker to Cole Trippet less than a minute into the game.
On Fairview's second possession, Trippet returned a punt to the Yellowjackets 2-yard line, and Duster fullback Jeremiah Campbell slammed it in to give Beaver a 14-0 lead. Fairview fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Beaver's Tyler Hessman recovered at the Fairview 32. Unable to move the ball, Beaver lined up to punt, but instead ran a fake punt and Becker ran it in from 30 yards out with .3 left in the first quarter, giving Beaver a 21-0 lead.
“Thank God our special teams were working for us, because there wasn’t much else working early in the game,” said Duster Head Coach Mike McVay. “We shot ourselves in the foot way too many times.”
Beaver did struggle in one area tonight — knowing when to start a play. Beaver compiled 13 penalties for 90 yards — most were for illegal procedure or false starts.
Defensively, the Dusters were dominant throughout the game just as they have been all year, holding Fairview to a total of 160 yards of offense on 51 plays, and only 9 first downs.
Beaver was able to put together a sustained drive in the second quarter, driving 52 yards on 12 plays and over five minutes of game clock, with Becker scoring his second rushing TD of the game from 10 yards out to give Beaver a 28-0 lead at the half.
Beaver got it's best offensive play in the third quarter with two more touchdown runs from Campbell (1-yard run), and Ben Engelman (1-yard run) to lead 40-0 with 5:28 still showing on the third quarter clock.
“Finally in the second half we settled down and played well in the third quarter,” said McVay. “In the first half it was really special teams that got us what we needed to get done.”
Fairview was able to avoid the shutout, scoring with just seven seconds left in the game with Beaver's reserves in the game.
Beaver finished the game with 15 first downs and 301 yards of offense. Beaver rushed 34 times for 196 yards (5.76 yards per carry). Becker was 12 of 21 passing for 105 yards and one touchdown, and only had to punt twice.
Beaver is now 8-1 overall and 5-1 in district play, and will close out the regular season at Beaver County rival Turpin (6-3, 4-2).