FAIRMONT — The Tornadoes’ passing game was golden Friday, torching the East Bladen defense for 402 yards and seven touchdowns to nip the Eagles in a barn-burner on opening night, 58-56.
Fairmont struck quick to open the game, scoring in just three plays — all passes — to take a 6-0 lead.
But on East Bladen’s second possession, the Eagles put together a 13-play, 87-yard drive that was finalized with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ty McMillian to Farrell Murchison to knot the game at 6-6.
The Golden Tornadoes again struck fast with just three passes, moving 65 yards for a score and a 14-6 lead.
They did it again on their next possession, traveling 46 yards on three passes and extended their lead to 22-6 early in the second quarter.
The Eagles responded with an 11-play, 82-yard march — sparked by a 14-yard run by Jimmy Campbell and a 20-yard run by Jaylan Herring. Murchison scored on a 4-yard run and, when he added the two-point conversion, East Bladen had cut the deficit to 22-14.
Fairmont’s offense was on the field less that a minute before it scored again, this time adding the conversion for a 30-14 edge.
East Bladen came right back, moving 65 yards in seven plays and stuffing the ball into the end zone on an 8-yard run by Campbell. Murchison added the two points and the Eagles trailed by 30-22.
But Fairmont wasn’t done. Passes again moved the ball deep into Eagles territory before the Golden Tornadoes scored with less than a minute to go in the half and took a 36-22 lead.
East Bladen put together a quick scoring drive of its own, marching 60 yards behind a 35-yard run by Herring. The Eagles found pay dirt on a 22-yard scoring strike from McMillian to Murchison and cut the deficit to 36-28.
With less than 15 seconds left in the half, Fairmont aired it out — scoring on a 40-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 42-28.
On the first play of the second half, Murchison ripped through the line and exploded for 65 yards and a score for East Bladen. McMillian ran a keeper and added the two points to pull the Eagles to within 42-36.
On onside kick was recovered by East Bladen’s Dwight Campbell, and the Eagles, after a 22-yard run by Campbell, knotted the game at 42-42 on a 1-yard run by Murchison and a two-point play.
After stopping Fairmont, the Eagles used a 12-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Herring. Murchison added the two points and East Bladen took its first lead of the game, 50-42.
Fairmont stormed back with two long passes, the last one a 37-yard scoring strike. The Tornadoes added the conversion and knotted the game at 50-50.
After Fairmont appeared to be headed for a touchdown and the lead, a fumble at the Eagles’ 3 was recovered by East Bladen’s Tavon Carter and the Eagles marched 97 yards in just eight plays — featuring a 20-yard run by Murchison and a 51-yarder by Herring. And on fourth down at the Fairmont 10, McMillian hit Alex Stephens with a scoring pass. The conversion failed, but East Bladen led, 56-50, with just 3 minutes left to play.
A flubbed kickoff gave Fairmont the ball in Eagles territory, and the Golden Tornadoes needed just three plays to march 40 yards for a score — culminating with a 27-yard touchdown pass. A run managed to break the plane of the goal for the conversion to give Fairmont a 58-56 lead with just under 2 minutes to play.
East Bladen got two cracks at a game-winning drive, but were denied by an interception and fumble.
On the ground, East Bladen was led by Murchison’s 204 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. He also caught a touchdown pass. Herring added 189 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while Campbell had 151 yards with a touchdown on 21 carries.
Through the air, McMillian was 4-for-7 for 105 yards, two touchdown and one interception.