Salem slams Fauquier from playoffs in 49-27 blowout
Fauquier wide receiver Jay Jay Roberts tries to haul in a pass with Salem's Chandler Hunt (5), Coleman Fox (3) and Devante Payne (9) closing in.
Fauquier’s football team felt confident after they viewed Salem’s game film over the past week.
Spartans tight end Tyler Gladden soars over two Falcons for one of his four catches in the game.
Fauquier fullback Spencer Yates tries to convert a 4th-and-2 late in the first half. Salem's Tyler Fedison (7) helped stop Yates short on the play.
The Falcons defense led by Donovan Porter (arm in cast) stop Chandler Hunt.
It kind of got out of hand really fast.
— Fauquier senior Leif Heltzel
Spartans Coach Stephen Magenbauer summed it up best after his team’s 49-27 thrashing of the Falcons.
“Film can be deceiving,” he said.
Whose film he meant was unclear.
Magenbauer might have been referring to a normally strong Fauquier run defense that allowed 324 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.
Maybe he meant his team isn’t impressive on tape. They looked dominant on Friday.
After the teams traded punts on their first possessions, Salem (9-2) got started.
Junior tailback Coleman Fox ran 27 yards for the first quarter’s lone score.
Fauquier punted again.
The Spartans marched 70 yards in six plays – three passes, three runs. Balance kept the Falcons (5-6) on their heels. Devante Payne capped the drive with an 18-yard dash.
A hold and false start forced Fauquier into a 1st-and-24 at its 6-yard line. Quarterback Louis Heisler rushed for no gain and threw two incompletions.
Salem wasted less time on its third scoring drive. Fox ran for 15 on the first play. He sprinted 35 yards for a score on the second.
After Marcus Campbell’s kick return set up the Falcons at their 39-yard line, they tried to climb into the game.
On 3rd-and-2 at the 6-yard line, Heisler’s pass for running back Todd Jordan fell short. On 4th-and-2, fullback Spencer Yates gained only a yard.
“We thought we could outmuscle them,” Coach Jamie Carter said of the play call.
With 3:25 left in the half, the Spartans held a 21-0 lead with the ball inside their 10-yard line. Fauquier’s defense needed a stop.
Salem sophomore Alex Ramsey ran 73 yards on the next play. Fox scored from 23 yards to plays later.
“It kind of got out of hand really fast,” senior two-way starter Leif Heltzel said. “You get your doors blown off like that….It’s everyone’s fault.”
Things got worse for the Falcons, who went three-and-out with 1:39 left.
Senior punter D.J. Helkowski pinned the Spartans at their 12-yard line. A false start moved the home team further towards their end zone.
The distance made no difference. Payne raced 77 yards. Quarterback Austin Coulling found Andrew Close for a 17-yard touchdown with 16 seconds to play.
Salem led 35-0 at halftime. The number two team in Region 4A-North hung 403 yards to Fauquier’s 89.
“Halftime couldn’t come soon enough,” Carter said. “….we weren’t expecting to get hit in the mouth like that.”
Magenbauer played his offensive starter for the third quarter’s first drive.
Coulling’s seventh completion on as many attempts moved the Spartans in Falcons territory.
Ramsey pushed the lead to 42-0 soon after on a 35-yard run.
By the time Fauquier’s team woke up, Salem’s backups were in the game.
Heisler threw went 13-of-21 in the second half for 203 yards and three scores.
Heltzel – who took hit after hit – refused to quit. The wideout grabbed 10 catches for 161 yards in the final 24 minutes.
“That’s Leif. He always keeps his head up and he never gives up,” Heisler said.
The Falcons scored 27 points in the half despite the blowout-induced running clock.
Rain steadily fell throughout the game. Sopping wet and a long way from home, Fauquier showed character.
They played hard once they left the locker room at halftime. It was too little, too late.
“We came in hyped and ready after the 3-hour drive,” senior defensive end Donovan Porter said. “We were talking about we were going to do this and that – including myself.
“As soon as they scored, we shut down….It hurts like hell. I don’t understand it.”
For a team with lofty goals, the season ended with a whimper. The Falcons lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
Carter proclaimed that the end of the season would show the state of the program. He remained positive on Friday.
“We’re on the rise,” he said.
Discipline and execution hurt Fauquier throughout the season. Two senior voices sounded familiar after the game.
“We didn’t do our jobs,” Porter said.
“Offensively and defensively, we didn’t do our jobs,” Heltzel said.
It came on the wrong night, in the wrong stadium and against the wrong opponent.
In the 7,157-capacity concrete stadium – akin to structures in West Texas – the crowd laughed loudly at late Falcons mistakes.
The Spartans faithful have enjoyed six state championships, including two in the last decade.
“It’s tough to simulate a team like that to scout,” Carter said. “Physically, their size, their speed – it doesn’t show up on tape how fast they are.”
That tape could get a few replays in the offseason.
If the Falcons are indeed “on the rise,” Friday’s opponent – their execution, grit and simple I-formation – is something to aim for.
Salem 49, Fauquier, 27
SHS – Coleman Fox 27-yard run (1:51); Kyle Reighard kick.
SHS – Devante Payne 18-yard run (9:58); Reighard kick.
SHS – Fox 35-yard run (8:05); Reighard kick.
SHS – Fox 23-yard run (2:16); kick failed.
SHS – Andrew Close 17-yard pass from Austin Coulling (00:16); Coulling to Isaiah Parker conversion.
SHS – Alex Ramsey 35-yard run (9:17); Reighard kick.
FHS – Leif Heltzel 29-yard pass from Louis Heisler (2:54); D.J. Helkowski kick.
FHS – Jay Jay Roberts 21-yard pass from Heisler (8:33); Helkowski kick.
SHS – Donte Clayborne 5-yard run (5:25); Grant Foley kick.
FHS – Todd Jordan 2-yard run (2:02); Helkowski kick.
FHS – Heltzel 32-yard pass from Heisler (00:58); kick blocked.
Rushes – Yards
Fauquier: 22 – 61
Salem: 38 – 402
Completions – Yards
Fauquier: 18 – 246
Salem: 7 – 96
Penalties – Yards
Fauquier: 6 – 35
Salem: 6 – 60
Fauquier: Louis Heisler, 18/33, 246 yards, 3 TDs.
Salem: Austin Coulling, 7/7, 96 yards, TD.
Fauquier: Heisler, 4/24; Todd Jordan, 11/21, TD; Keion Lewis, 5/13; Spencer Yates, 2/3.
Salem: Devante Payne, 9/126, TD; Coleman Fox, 10/124, 3 TDs; Alex Ramsey, 5/115, TD; Shaquille Howard, 3/50; Coulling, 1/2; Donte Clayborne, 5/1, TD; Mackenzie Edwards, 1/-7; Isaiah Parker, 4/-9.
Fauquier: Leif Heltzel, 10/161, 2 TDs; Chukwudi Okeki, 5/44; Jay Jay Roberts, 1/21, TD; Jordan, 2/16; Lewis, 1/4.
Salem: Tyler Gladden, 4/50; Andrew Close, 1/17, TD; Parker, 1/17; Ramsey, 1/12.
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