By Kyle Higley
Three Fulton turnovers made a big difference as Whitesboro defeated Fulton 35-20 Friday night in the Section III football playoffs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We put the ball on the ground a couple of times today, but they hit us hard a couple of times,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Fulton head coach Michael Conners.
Warriors Quarterback Sean Jones hooked up with wide receiver Chris Gibbs for two touchdowns and ran for another. Running back Nick Mauro also created problems for the Fulton defense as he had touchdown runs of 82 and 55 yards.Ã‚Â Fulton got two touchdown runs from quarterback Brett Williams and another from halfback D.J. Ingham.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think we lost the game, I think they won the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Conners afterwards.
Fulton opened the game by putting together a 69-yard four minute 47 second drive that finished with an 8 yard Williams touchdown run.Ã‚Â FultonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s triple option kept the Warrior defense off balance with William, Ingham and back Donald Watson, as all had a hand in the success of FultonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first drive.
Whitesboro wasted no time in responding to the Red Raiders opening drive as they used a successful fake punt on a 4th and four from the Fulton 35 yard line to keep their drive alive.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Following the fake punt Warriors quarterback Sean Jones connected with Chris Gibbs for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 3:20 left in the first quarter.Ã‚Â After a successful point-after kick Whitesboro trailed 8-7.
The next scoring drive came when Whitesboro took advantage of starting on their own 42 Ã¢â‚¬â€œyard line, and this time used their running game to move the ball down the field. Jones finished off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run with 9:11 remaining in the half.Ã‚Â Following a successful conversion Whitesboro led 14-7.
Fulton however, didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait long to get back on the scoreboard.Ã‚Â The Red Raiders put together a 71-yard drive that quarterback Williams ended with a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:43 left in the first half.Ã‚Â After a failed conversion Fulton and Whitesboro went to the half knotted at 14.
In the second half Whitesboro used two Fulton fumbles to score two unanswered touchdowns. The first came when Jones found wide receiver Chris Gibbs for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 6:28 left in the third quarter, giving Whitesboro a 21-14 lead.Ã‚Â The Warriors second touchdown came when Nick Mauro broke loose for an 82-yard touchdown run with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter, giving Whitesboro a 28-14 lead.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought we got worn down a little bit in the second half, and they played better than us in the second half,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Conners.
With time ticking away on their season Fulton put the pedal to the metal and drove 65 yards in just under four minutes, and when Ingham found the end zone from one yard out Fulton trailed 28-20 with 5:17 left in the game.Ã‚Â However, the Fulton defense had no answer for Mauro, and on Whitesboro next possession Mauro scampered 55 yards for his second touchdown of the day with 4:34 left in the game. MauroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second touchdown gave the Warriors its final lead, 35-20.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have gone through an awful lot this year and I am extremely proud of them.Ã‚Â It just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t meant to be,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Conners when speaking about his team after their season ending loss.