The price of admission to a Landmark High School football game, $7. The price of a homecoming t-shirt, $20. The price of being the 11 Alive Game of the week, hours of online voting. Watching the War Eagles win another home game late in the fourth quarter and this time in front of an energized and overflowing homecoming crowd in comeback fashion, priceless.
Two weeks ago fans left Fairburn thinking they had just witnessed the game of the year, until this past Friday night. The gritty War Eagles found a way to one up that performance and defeat the Pace Academy Knights, 17-14, in improve to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in Region 5-1A.
Offensively, the Landmark attack was physical and methodical as they owned the time of possession battle due in large part to the running game.
The War Eagles rushed for over 200 yards on the night with sophomore quarterback Stockton McGuire leading the way with 96 yards rushing and the go ahead touchdown on a QB sneak with under one minute to go. The score came after a drive that took over five minutes off the clock.
It was running back by committee for the No. 4 ranked team in the state Friday night as senior Darius Smith, senior Nolan Bryant, senior William Higbie, sophomore Cody Chastain, and freshman Lofton Tidwell all ran the ball hard behind the tough blocking of the offensive line and wide receivers who were the unsung heroes in victory.
Defensively, the War Eagles had their hands full trying to slow down an opponent who was averaging over 30 points a game on the season.
The Landmark defense was up to the challenge as they allowed only two touchdowns while scoring a touchdown of their own on defense.
Midway through the second quarter, with Pace up 7-3 and threatening to score at the Landmark 1 yard line, the War Eagles defense bowed their necks and on 4th-and-goal, Joshua Cobb recovered a fumble and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. The play was a huge momentum swing in the game.
The inside linebackers, senior William Higbie and junior Titus Creamer, were the leading tacklers on the night, while yet another freshman defensive back for the War Eagles came up huge as Brandon (D.J.) Brown broke up three huge pass attempts against one of Pace’s highly recruited senior wide receivers.
In terms of the style of football being played across America in this day and age it may appear as though the Landmark War Eagles don’t play the “prettiest” brand of football.
However, to any throwback football fan who enjoys great defense, partnered with a smash mouth running game, and a will and the heart to win at any cost, then this style of play might seem familiar.
The War Eagles have a bye week this upcoming Friday night before going on the road and looking to keep their Region 5-1A championship hopes alive as they take on the Holy Innocents’ Golden Bears on Nov. 1.