(Special to Eastern Kansas Sports via Eddie Hibbs)
FREDONIA – Fredonia defeated Erie 38-14 in the season opener here for both teams Friday night. The Yellowjackets used an effective ground game early to set up the passing game.
Fredonia junior Lane Mayeska caught a 41-yard strike from junior signal caller John Dutton on the game’s first pass, giving the Yellowjackets the early 6-0 lead.
Fredonia’s second offensive series was nearly identical to its first series – three rushing plays followed by another Dutton to Mayeska touchdown connection. This one was good for 56 yards. With the two-point conversion, the Yellowjackets enjoyed a 14-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
Erie, however, rallied late in the first half, striking through the air as well. Senior quarterback Matthew Vail found junior Dawson Lehman for a 9-yard score. Vail also tossed the pigskin to Lehman for the two-point conversion and the Red Devils cut the Fredonia lead to 14-6 with 1:09 remaining in the first half.
With five seconds left in the third, the Yellowjackets struck from the air with another long touchdown pass when senior Cooper Odell scored on a 64-yard reception – Dutton’s third TD pass and giving Fredonia a 22-8 lead.
The scoring for the third quarter, however, wasn’t over as Lehman returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to end the period with the Yellowjackets in front 22-14.
The Yellowjackets, however, would put the game in the fourth. Freshman Taron Ward tallied the game’s first rushing touchdown from seven yards out with 5:35 left in the game. Senior Grayson Coulter tallied the game’s final score with a 28-yard jaunt with 4:18 remaining.