The Fairview Warriors football team was back on home field on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the quarter-final matchup against the number two seed out of the Western C Division, Thompson Falls Blue Hawks. The Blue Hawks traveled a little over 10.5 hours for the game and came into the day with an overall record of 9-1 after defeating Twin Bridges 55-20 in their first-round playoff game.
Thompson Falls opened the game on offense, only to have it result in the first of many three-and-outs. Back for the punt return was Fairview senior running back/defensive back Cody Asbeck. As soon as he caught the ball, it was off to the races for Asbeck as he returned the punt for a 62-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and with 9:52 left in the first quarter, Fairview was leading 0-6.
Thompson Falls went back on offense and had a promising drive going before senior quarterback Trey Fisher threw an interception to Asbeck at the Fairview goal line. After marching down the field, Fairview senior wide receiver Jesse Selting scored on an 18-yard run for Fairview’s second touchdown of the day, taking the lead of 0-12 heading into the second quarter.
In Fairview’s opening drive of the second quarter, Fairview found the end zone again, this time by way of a quarterback keeper by senior Alex Shriver. Brady Buxbaum, a junior, converted the two-point conversion making it 0-20.
On Thompson Falls’ next drive, Asbeck got his second interception of the game, giving the ball right back to Fairview. This time, junior Easton Hopes would get in for the touchdown making it 0-26.
Before the first half ended, Fairview got in for one more score on a four-yard run by Asbeck and a successful two-point conversion ending the first half with a 0-34 lead for the Warriors.
On the ensuing kickoff after the touchdown by Fairview, Thompson Falls finally would get into the end zone on a kickoff return by senior Brandon Zimmerman. Their two-point conversion was unsuccessful, giving them six points. That’s the only touchdown that the Blue Hawks would muster on the afternoon.
Fairview got one more score before the end of the first half with a seven-yard touchdown run by Asbeck as Fairview heading into the locker room at halftime with a lead of 6-42.
The Warriors opened the second half with the ball and a running clock. It didn’t take them long to get back in the end zone on another Asbeck run and a successful two-point conversion by Selting.
Shriver got his first passing touchdown on the next possession with a 25-yard pass completion to freshman tight end Hunter Sharbono tacking on to the score of 6-58.
As the clock continued to wind down in the fourth quarter, with another sealed up a victory for the Warriors, Buxbaum would find the end zone one more time before the end of the game. The final score with another dominating victory from Fairview was 6-66.
It was another dominating performance by Fairview and head coach Levi Seitz couldn’t be happier with every aspect of his team, especially defense.
“We knew they’d come in with their big line, you know they were going to try to run it on us, but our linebackers knew what to expect with studying it all week,” he said. “Our defensive line, just getting off blocks, helping our linebackers get there, they did a great job.”
Seitz came into the game to win, but he had another idea in mind that they didn’t accomplish.
“Our goal coming in was to get a shutout, it’s too bad way gave one up on a kickoff return, so that’s something we’ll have to clean up.”
While the defense has only allowed 15 points in the two games so far in the playoffs, the offense and special teams have managed 136 points in the two playoff games.
“Offensively, our offensive line showed up. They were blocking and getting guys open,” Seitz said. “We were able to throw the ball a little bit and I’m just so stoked for these guys. They put in the work and they deserve it.”
Fairview’s next game on Saturday, Nov. 16, will be at home against the undefeated Fort Benton Longhorns in the semi-final matchup to determine who will move on to the championship in the state finals.
“We kind of have a history of playing them at camp, so we kind of know what they’re about,” Seitz said. “Our guys know that they’re a good team and they’re going to be a tough competition. But we’re excited for the challenge of Fort Benton.”