By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK —For the first time since 2009, the Beavercreek Beavers are 3-0 in high school football.
Beavercreek’s bruising back Tim Bradshaw rumbled for 202 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns, and the Beavers offense collected 440 yards in total offense in Friday’s 35-23 home opening win over Fairborn.
Bradshaw opened the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run with almost three minutes taken off the first-quarter game clock. Michael Chuck booted the extra point and Beavercreek had a quick 7-0 lead.
The Beavers took advantage of a Fairborn fumble on the Skyhawks’ 38-yard line with five minutes left in the opening quarter. Five plays later, Justin Terrill hauled in a 21-yard pass from Hunter Maloney for the Beavers’ second touchdown of the night.
In a bizarre play on Fairborn’s next possession, an errant punt appeared to bounce off of a Skyhawks lineman, but the ball was recovered by another Fairborn lineman for a 13-yard gain, and the Skyhawks (1-2) were awarded a first down on the play.
In their only score of the first half, Fairborn took advantage of the re-possession and capped the nine-play, 80-yard drive with a nifty 53-yard bomb down the left sideline from Wesley Watts to Gracen Barnhart. Adam Knaub booted the extra point and the Skyhawks appeared back in the ballgame, trailing 14-7 with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
“I thought we were sloppy at times, we had some weather issues. We had a turnover, and we hadn’t had one of those this year, so that was disappointing. We gave up some big pass plays that I didn’t like … BUT, we’re starting to learn how to win, and I think that’s as important as anything,” Beavercreek coach Nic Black said.
The Bradshaw boulder continued to roll for the remainder of the half. Bradshaw finished with 144 yards and two scores in the first half alone, and his score from four yards out, coupled with quarterback Hunter Maloney’s run around the right side for another 4-yard score, put the Beavers out in front, 28-7 at the break.
Michael Chuck was a perfect 4-for-4 in extra point conversions for the half and was 5-for-5 for the game.
“We made too many mistakes in the first half,” Fairborn coach Roy Thobe said. “You can’t turn the ball over three times and allow them to have great field position like that. I don’t think they started their first three drives on their side of the field. That put us in a bad situation.
“We just have to evaluate this game, learn from it and get ready to go play Sidney next week.”
Fairborn came up with two second-half scores to pull within striking distance — thanks to a 37-yard pass from Watts to Brandon Easterling to setup Dusty Johnson’s 13-yard run, and thanks to Watts’ 81-yard bomb down the left side to Barnhart — but Beavercreek ran out the the last 2:30 on the game clock on its final drive.
Watts connected on 8-of-28 passes for 195 yards and TD passes of 53 and 81 yards to Barnhart. He tossed 2-point conversions to Aron Childers and Easterling, but the entire Skyhawks running contingent mustered 47 yards on the ground.
“That’s a credit to Beavercreek as well,” Thobe said. “They’ve held everybody to little yardage on the ground this year. They’re a heckuva team.”
In their first three games, Beavercreek’s defense has limited Xenia, Carroll and Fairborn to a combined 95 yards rushing.
The two schools combined for a pre-game ceremony in remembrance of the victims of the 9/11 attack. A moment of silence was observed, then the Fairborn Air Force ROTC color guard presented the colors, while the Beavercreek band and Dr. Paul Pitts performed the National Anthem.
Beavercreek will host Springboro (a 38-0 winner over Franklin), and Fairborn will host Sidney (a 42-0 winner over West Carrollton) at Baker Memorial Stadium, on Friday.
Beavercreek opened up at 3-0 back in 2009, but lost its fourth game — and six of their final seven games — that season to finish at 4-6. Before that, the Beavers won their first five games during the 2008 campaign, but lost their last five to finish at 5-5.
Score By Quarters
Fairborn 7 0 8 8 — 23
Beavercreek 14 14 7 0 — 35
B — Tim Bradshaw 41 run, Michael Chuck kick
B — Justin Terrill 21 pass from Hunter Maloney, Chuck kick
F — Grayson Barnhart 53 pass from Wesley Watts, Adam Knaub kick
B — Bradshaw 4 run, Chuck kick
B — Hunter Maloney 4 run, Chuck kick
B — Terrill 32 pass from Maloney, Chuck kick
F — Dusty Johnson 1 run, Aron Childers pass from Watts
F — Barnhart 81 pass from Watts, Brandon Easterling pass from Watts
Records: Beavercreek (3-0), Fairborn (1-2)