Fairmont D-livers: Big plays on defense help Fairmont beat Worthington, 27-6
The Fairmont Cardinals dropped the Worthington High School football team to 0-6 on the season Friday night at Trojan Field
WORTHINGTON -- Excellent defensive line play and two pick-six touchdowns helped the Fairmont Cardinals high school football team defeat host Worthington Friday night, 27-6.
The Trojans, who struggled on offense for most of the season, had one impressive drive in the second quarter which resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by senior Abagotte Opiew. But Worthington’s passing game was essentially grounded as the Cardinals dominated with their front line defenders for most of the contest. They blitzed occasionally with impressive success, and were able to penetrate into the WHS backfield often when they didn’t blitz.
The result pushed Worthington to 0-6 on the season while the Cards improved to 4-2.
The Trojans have just two regular season contests remaining on the schedule to accomplish their first win of the 2022 campaign. They travel to play Waseca on Thursday, then they finish at home against New Ulm on Oct. 19.
Fairmont struck quickly Friday on a cold and windless night at Trojan Field. Junior quarterback Tucker Brandner, who for the second game in a row split signal-calling duties with senior Abagotte Opiew, threw a pick-six on Worthington’s first possession of the first quarter. It was a short out pattern caught by Fairmont’s Levi Pooley, who stepped in front of the intended WHS receiver on the play, catching it and outrunning all of his pursuers for 22 yards.
Later in the quarter, Fairmont set up its own drive beginning on its 37-yard line. Landen Meyerdirk ran for a nice gain on first down, then quarterback Brendan Schmidtke found Pooley on a 25-yard pass to Worthington’s 5-yard line.
On the next play, Schmidtke passed to Pooley for the score. A second point-after was converted, and with 27 seconds remaining in the quarter, FHS led 14-0.
The lead became 21-0 with 10:19 remaining in the half. A poor 6-yard punt by the Trojans allowed the Cardinals to start a short drive at the Trojans’ 26-yard line. After a 24-yard pass to Meyerdirk to the 1-yard line, Schmidtke scored on the next play. Again the PAT was good.
Worthington’s lone touchdown was secured with some good defense, and some good offense before the half. Trojan defensive lineman Cade Grimmius stopped the Cards on downs on a 4th-and-2 play with a tackle at the WHS 19-yard line.
Brandner rushed 22 yards on a 3rd-and-16 play. Later, on 3rd-and-5, Opiew ran 29 yards to Fairmont’s 4-yard line with a little more than a minute remaining till intermission. On second down, Opiew -- still at quarterback -- took it in himself from the two. The PAT was missed. It was 21-6 with 32 seconds to go.
The third quarter was scoreless, but Worthington had a prime opportunity to score again after a poor snap on a Fairmont punt attempt led to the hosts taking over at the Cardinals’ 36-yard line. On a fourth-down run, however, Opiew came up two yards short of the first down.
Opiew ran the football well at the quarterback position for part of the fourth quarter, but he had to leave the game briefly four times in the second half due to leg cramps. During Brandner’s fourth quarter time at QB, he made one superlative long pass to Marenono Opiew that might have gone for a touchdown. But it was dropped.
Later in the frame, Fairmont scored on its second pick-six as, on a 4th-and-8 pass, David Maakestad returned a short throw 38 yards for a touchdown.
Fairmont 14 7 0 6 -- 27
Worthington 0 6 0 0 -- 6