Shadyside cruises past Fairfield Christian

SHADYSIDE – And the beat goes on and on and on … .

For the first time in its storied gridiron history, Shadyside is 11-0.

Saturday night at a chilly Fleming Field, the state-ranked Tigers exploded out of the gates and never looked back in pasting visiting Fairfield Christian Academy 40-14 in a Division VII, Region 25 quarterfinal contest.

With the win, Shadyside advances to the regional semifinals where it will meet Caldwell at a site to be announced today.

The Knights (7-4) deferred until the second half after winning the opening coin toss, a move that would cost them dearly.

Junior quarterback Austin Dorris took the first snap in the shotgun and headed off his right side. Once he made his way through the line, he cut left at the midfield stripe and was off to the races. A Fairfield Christian Academy player tried to take down the 6-5, 215-pound, but he brushed him off with a solid stiff arm and waltzed into the end zone. Mason Campbell tacked on the first of his four PATs and it was quickly 7-0.

After a three-and-out by the Knights, Shadyside fullback Eric Howell took a handoff from Dorris and went 52 yards untouched to the house. Campbell made it 14-0 with a mere 2:18 elapsed.

“That was huge,” Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka said of the two early scores. “Usually we defer and play defense first, but they (Fairfield) chose to do that tonight. It turned out to be exactly the opposite of last year when Berlin Center ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and we had to fight an up-hill battle.

“Those two early scores put them in the chase mode and made them fight that uphill battle,” Holenka continued. “It’s nice when you run two offensive plays and you’re ahead 14-0.”

When talking about the Tigers, who finished third in the final Associated Press poll and No. 2 in the region, you have to start with the three-headed monster backfield of Dorris, Howell and senior Chris Littell.

That outstanding trio combined for 358 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 34 carries against the out manned Knights, who were the seventh seed. Howell led the way with 13 totes for 138 stripes and the aforementioned TD, while Littell added 113 yards and two TDs on 16 carries. Dorris only lugged the leather five times, but picked up 107 yards and two six-pointers.

Dorris capped the scoring with a 21-yard pass to Scott Hammond in the third quarter to make it 40-0 before the Knights added two window-dressing touchdowns.