Coaches in all sports always seek the games in which every aspect of the game is clicking. For Concord head football coach Garin Justice, that day was Saturday at Callaghan Stadium, as the Mountain Lions pulled out their best all-around performance in defeating their WVIAC rival — the Fairmont State Falcons, 41-10.
After missed opportunities by both teams in the first quarter, due to a blocked field goal and an end-zone interception, Concord (5-4, 4-2) pushed ahead 7-0 (Andy Ellington kick) as Evin Dusold hit Ansel Ponder with a 48-yard touchdown pass with 1:08 left in the first quarter, wrapping up a three-play, 63-yard drive.
Concord increased the lead to 14-0 on a drive started by a Riyahd Richardson fumble recovery at the Fairmont State 49-yard line. Eleven plays and 49 yards later, CU went up 14-0 (Ellington kick) as Jacorey Robins scored on a one-yard run with 8:41 left in the half.
Another recovered fumble by Concord, this one by Keith Ferguson, set up the next Concord scoring drive. Five plays and 32 yards later, Dusold hit Randall Hawkins with a four-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-0 (Ellington kick) with 5:31 left in the half.
FSC got on the board with :49 left in the half as J. Dearstine wrapped up a 12-play, 67-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal to make it 21-3 Concord.
A third Concord fumble recovery, this one by Matt Anderson, set up the second Dusold to Ponder touchdown pass, this one a two-yarder, which made the score 28-3 (Ellington kick) with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The play wrapped up a five-play, 23-yard drive.
A 41-yard run on fourth-and-four by Austin Dotson helped set up the third Dusold to Ponder score, this one, a six-yarder. which wrapped up a nine-play, 58-yard drive, making it 34-3 (kick blocked) as time expired in the third quarter.
A blocked punt by Tiko Henderson set up the final Concord score. Five-plays and 33 yards later, Calvinaugh Jones ran it in from five yards out to make the score 41-3 with 11:09 left in the game.
The game's scoring ended with a four-yard run by FSU's Shad Alexander with 7:39 left in the game. The score was set up by a fumble on a punt which was recovered on the Concord four-yard line.
FSU (3-5, 3-3) was led by Alexander with 31 yards rushing, including a touchdown, in six attempts. Bobby Vega went nine for 21 for 63 yards passing. Chris St. Hilaire caught four passes for 38 yards. Jake Kelly had 14 tackles, seven solo, and four for loss. and Ryan Watts had 10 tackles, five solo, two for loss.
Concord dominated nearly all facets of the contest Saturday. CU held advantages over the Fighting Falcons in first downs (19-10), yards rushing (140-70), yards passing (218-68) and total offense (358-138) while nearly doubling FSU in time of possession. The Mountain Lions were 10-for-18 on third downs while the CU defense allowed just one FSU third-down conversion.
Concord’s defense had one of its finest performances of the season. FSU’s 68-yards passing were a season-low allowed by CU’s 26th-ranked pass defense and the Fighting Falcons’ rushing total was the second-fewest yards allowed by Concord this season. Saturday marked the first time since playing Southern Virginia in 2010 that Concord has held an opponent to less than 150 yards of total offense.
Ponder led the offensive explosion with a career-day of nine receptions for 141 yards and the three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Evin Dusold also had his best day as a Mountain Lion, completing 17-of-25 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns. Also helping the passing attack was senior wide receiver Randall Hawkins, who caught four passes for 32 yards and one touchdown.
The rushing game was headed by the trio of freshman Calvinaugh Jones, freshman Jocorey Robins and junior Chris Rodriguez. Robins rushed for a game-high 58 yards while scoring a touchdown, Jones added another TD to go with 37 yards and Rodriguez netted 30 yards on 12 attempts.
CU forced four turnovers off of fumble recoveries by sophomore defensive lineman Keith Ferguson, senior defensive lineman Matt Anderson, and junior defensive back Riyahd Richardson, who also picked off his third pass of the year (eighth of his career). Junior Jake Lilly and freshman linebacker Ervin Moore forced two of the fumbles.
Lilly registered a team-high 13 tackles followed by senior linebacker Howard Jordan and sophomore safety Davon Marion with seven stops apiece.
The Mountain Lions’ special teams had a productive afternoon. Marion blocked a field goal attempt, freshman wide receiver Tiko Henderson blocked his second punt of the season and freshman linebacker Austin Dotson took off for a 41-yard run, the longest of the game, on a fake punt in the third quarter that kept an eventual touchdown-drive alive.
Concord faces West Liberty in its home finale tomorrow, Game time is 1 p.m.
— Contact Jeff Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.