BENTON — The Central Noble football team’s search for some offensive punch continues.
Fairfield scored on its first offensive play of overtime, then the Falcons held the Cougars out of the end zone to claim an 8-0 win Friday night.
Fairfield improved to 2-1 on the young season. Central Noble dropped to 0-3.
The Cougars have scored 15 total points in their first three contests, and seven of those came from the defense off a fumble recovery that was returned for a touchdown in week 1 vs. West Noble.
Central Noble’s bid to win Friday at Fairfield was doomed by penalties. The Cougars were flagged 12 times for 118 yards. Fairfield had six penalties for 29 yards.
A good half dozen of those Cougar penalties were holding calls, which stalled several drives all night long.
The final drive of regulation for Central Noble pretty much summed up the game for the Cougars.
With the contest scoreless, Fairfield had a first-and-goal from the Central Noble 8. Three plays later, the Falcons were at the 4. On fourth down, Cougar defensive back Trevstin Hearld made a nice defensive play in coverage to force an incomplete pass.
Central Noble took over on downs with 7:00 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars pounded the ball on the ground to the Falcon 49 with 2:23 remaining.
On first down, Central Noble was hit with a holding penalty which moved the ball back to its own 37. A rushing attempt lost two yards, and a false start set up a 2nd-and-31 call. Following an incomplete pass, the Cougars were again whistled for a five-yard penalty, moving the ball back to the 25.
Central Noble eventually was forced to punt the ball away and Fairfield took over on its own 48 with 7.1 seconds remaining.
The Falcons completed a long pass as time expired, but the receiver was tackled a good 28 yards from the end zone to send the game into overtime.
The Cougars won the toss and chose to play defense first.
On the first play of the overtime, Fairfield’s Dalton Cripe ran around the left end, then cut inside and into the end zone.
The Falcons passed for the two-point conversion try, and Fairfield led 8-0.
Central Noble started its possession with a 2-yard run. An encroachment penalty against Fairfield moved the ball to the 4. Jarrett Hawk gained two yards on a pair of carries, setting up fourth down from the 2.
Cougar quarterback Sawyer Yoder floated out to the left, but was turned away by the Fairfield defense. Yoder escaped and tried to go to his right, but was eventually tackled for a 24-yard loss to end the contest.
Central Noble dominated most of the game, running 62 offensive plays for 193 yards. Fairfield ran 38 plays for 142 yards. The Cougars had 13 first downs on the evening. The Falcons recorded six.
In the first quarter, the Cougars ran 20 offensive plays to only four for the Falcons.
But time and time again, penalties snuffed out Cougar drives prematurely.
Central Noble reached inside the Falcon 30 on its first two drives of the game, but in both instances penalties stifled the scoring opportunities.
Central Noble rushed the ball 52 times for 125 yards. Fairfield had 33 rushes for 109 yards.
Sophomore Will Hoover led the Cougars in rushing with 63 yards on 14 attempts. Senior Kyle Bolinger had 60 yards on 16 carries.
Junior Carson Abramson led Fairfield with 47 rushing yards on 12 carries.