Big and bad, Josh Fatkin kept Eisenhower in the game against Andover on Friday night.
Wiry and quick, Andover’s Garrett Farha made sure the Tigers didn’t stick around for a season-opening upset as the Trojans won 21-7 in the season opener for both teams.
“I really did feel like I got better as the game went on,” said Farha, who rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in his first start. “My offensive line fired me up and I was just feeding off of them, feeding off of their great blocks.”
Farha’s star turn was born out of necessity, as starter Cole VanEpps missed the game because of an injury. He was almost upstaged by the 6-foot, 250-pound Fatkin, who barreled through Andover’s defense in chunks, finishing with 119 rushing yards and one touchdown on 28 carries.
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“He’s a freak,” Eisenhower coach Marc Marinelli said. “He doesn’t get tired ... we can lean on him. He’ll only get better as the season goes along, as our offensive line continues to improve.”
Neither team scored in the first quarter, with Andover’s one drive stalling out at the Eisenhower 17-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Eisenhower started the second quarter by going 86 yards on 12 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Fatkin for a 7-0 lead with 7:06 left before halftime.
Andover answered back with a couple of scores of its own – a 31-yard touchdown pass from Coen Rasmussen to Zach Seabrook on the drive after Eisenhower’s score, and an 8-yard touchdown run from Farha for a 14-7 lead with 1:27 left in the second quarter.
It was Seabrook’s first game at tight end after starting last season at left tackle.
“Great ball by Coen, perfect pass,” said Seabrook, who finished with 44 receiving yards and also caught a two-point conversion. “I’ve always wanted to play tight end, it just so happens that’s where my team needs me this year.”
The Trojans’ biggest bugaboo in the first half was their own emotion overruns – two unsportsmanlike penalties and a number of other times where Andover players seemed more interested in taunting the Tigers after making big plays.
“Too emotional ... we’ve got to handle ourselves better emotionally,” Andover coach Mike Lee said. “We kind of came unglued in the first half, we were just kind of all over the place. A lot of that has to do with it being the first game and being high school kids, but we talked about it at halftime and we did a better job of staying under control in the second half.”
Eisenhower’s downfall came on special teams. A turnover on a botched kickoff return reverse with the score tied 7-7 and an errant snap on a punt gave Andover the ball at Eisenhower’s 8-yard line and set up Farha’s first touchdown.
“You can’t make mistakes like that,” Marinelli said. “We need to clean up those mistakes, but the silver lining is that I feel like we competed for all four quarters, where last year I felt like we may have packed it in.”
Farha added a touchdown in the second half, scoring on a 2-yard run for a 21-7 lead with 3:49 left in the third quarter. Farha was the workhorse on the drive, racking up 55 yards on six carries.
“(Farha) is very good, it’s hard to call him a second-stringer because he runs so hard, he has such good feet,” Lee said.
Andover’s Kenton Criser intercepted a pass by Eisenhower’s Blake Ramey with 1:30 left in the game to seal the win.
“Great start to the season,” Farha said. “Gives us something to build on. Now, we’ve got to get ready for Andover Central.”
E—Fatkin 1 run (Ellingson kick), 7:06
A—Seabrook 31 pass from Rasmussen (kick failed)
A—Farha 8 run (Seabrook from Rasmussen) 1:27
A—Farha 2 run (Fiszel kick) 3:49
Rushing—Eisenhower, Fatkin 28-119, Ramey 8-3, Jones 1-2, Damon 3-16, Brown 2-16. Andover, Renoux 10-37, Thomas 2-3, Dusenbury 4-41, Criser 3-(-10), Farha 17-118, Rasmussen 6-16.
Passing—Eisenhower, Ramey 3-6-19-1. Andover, Rasmussen 5-11-85-0.
Receiving—Eisenhower, Brown 1-6, Strunk 1-3, Damon 1-10. Andover, Butler 1-15, Seabrook 2-44, Dusenbury 1-1, Criser 1-25.