It was football time in Thompson’s Station as the Independence Eagles played host to the Fairview Yellowjackets. While the Yellowjackets are from 3A it was not an opponent that Indy could overlook as they came in at 5-2 looking for an upset of the 6A 4-3 Eagles.
Almost as if to prove the point, the two teams stalemated early. While Independence was able to move the ball well, fumbles were killing their drives. Their first three drives to be specific, all ended in lost fumbles, wasting successful efforts to move the ball as well as any momentum they were able to create. Fairview, on the other hand, was suffocated by the Eagles defense. The first three Eagles’ drives resulted in one turnover on downs and two punts.
It was not until deep into the second quarter that Indy opened the scoring with a deep ball from near their own 30-yard line to the opposite 30-yard line followed by a 30-yard touchdown scamper by the Independence running back, weaving in and out through traffic. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Indy was able to avoid fumbling the ball and stick it in the endzone with the way the offense was operating as a whole, and on these two chunk plays, they did just that to make it 7-0 Eagles. Fairview could not rely on fumbles anymore and needed points. The Independence defense turned them away once again before disaster struck for the Yellowjackets as a miscue on their punt resulted in great field position for Indy. On play number one of this drive, the Eagles struck again with another 30-yard lightning strike run into the endzone. This made it 14-0 Independence with little time left before the half. Fairview received the ensuing kick and tried to move the ball into scoring position, but time ran out on the Yellowjackets and 14-0 remained our score as we went into the halftime break.
Luckily for Fairview, they received the second half kickoff. The kickoff gave them the start they needed as it was returned to near midfield. This along with a tacked-on penalty against Indy resulted in the Yellowjacket drive starting on the Eagles’ 42-yard line. Fairview engineered their best drive of the night, gashing the, until this point, impenetrable Independence defense for 4, 6, and 14 yards, and even overcoming a fourth down that could’ve ended the drive. The Jackets converted on third down in the redzone and then some with a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 Indy early in the third quarter. The Eagles mounted what they hoped would be a response drive and after working the ball deep into Fairview territory they were backed up by penalties, eventually facing a third and 20. Indy would have to settle for a field goal and the nearly 40-yard kick was good making the new score Fairview 7 Independence 17. Could the Yellowjacket offense solve the Eagles defense again? They had to drive a full field this time. This proved to be difficult for Fairview who was barely able to progress the ball at all and was forced to punt. We entered the fourth quarter with the score remaining 17-7 Indy.
The Eagles started the fourth quarter right with a 50-yard sprint down the right sideline for an Independence touchdown from across midfield. This made it 24-7 Indy early in the fourth. The Yellowjackets needed points badly but there were none to come as Indy intercepted the ball on the ensuing Fairview drive, scored quickly to make it 31-7, and stopped Fairview again. After getting the ball back it was just a matter of clock management for Independence. The Eagles began to run out the remaining time on the clock as the fans were already celebrating. The final horn sounded and completed Independence’s dominant performance in a 31-7 win.