One word describes Fountain Hills' 25-6 opening game loss to Lakeside Blue Ridge: Odd. Friday's game was delayed for 20 minutes because the Blue Ridge bus got caught up in traffic on the Beeline Highway due to an accident.
The Yellow Jackets arrived just 30 minutes before the scheduled kickoff, and hurriedly got warmed up and ready to go.
Then, on the opening kickoff, Fountain Hills' Veton Gorencia nearly whiffed on the kick. The ball spun like a top toward the sidelines, began to roll, and then stopped just in time for the Falcons' Rob Rossfeld to dive on it.
"It was a little bit odd, a little different," Falcons' coach Jim Fairfield said of the beginning of the game.
That incidental onside kick turned out to be the Falcons only highlight of the first half as they managed just 57 yards of offense.
To top it all off, two of the four light banks at Fountain Hills' field went out with 5:43 left in the third quarter. The 20-minute delay was like a second halftime.
One stretch summed up the game. First, Blue Ridge quarterback Brian Williams fumbled on a scramble, then, just three plays later, Falcons quarterback Jason Fairfield threw an interception to Frank Parkinson.
On the next play, Williams dropped the snap and Shea Ruppert dove on it to give the ball back to Fountain Hills.
Jason Fairfield, making his first start, made some good throws, and some bad. He finished the night completing 5 of 14 passes for 51 yards and two interceptions. He had two long passes go in and out of his receivers' hands.
"He's got confidence now, it's just a matter of getting everybody to catch the ball," Fairfield said. "We had a few that should have been caught, but, Jason's getting better and his receivers are going to get better."
Blue Ridge's offense was led by Parkinson, who rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries. On the Yellow Jackets' second scoring drive of the game, Parkinson accounted for 45 of the 51 yards and scored his lone touchdown of the game to put Blue Ridge ahead 12-0 right before halftime.
Four different Blue Ridge players scored, all on rushes as Parkinson Ryan Martinez, Jose Rosales and Dustin Simmons all reached the end zone.
"We had too many turnovers and too many big plays got us," Jim Fairfield said. "Now we know what we need to work on. It was a great game on both sides. Everybody else is not going to be as good as Blue Ridge.