In an early Saturday college football matchup that showcased resilience and determination, Notre Dame College Falcons faced off against Fairmont State Falcons in a Mountain East Conference game that ultimately ended in a heartbreaking 17-14 loss. While the final score may not have been in their favor, Notre Dame College’s spirited second-half performance provided fans with a glimmer of hope and a testament to the team’s fighting spirit.
The Slow Start:
The game began with Notre Dame College struggling to find their rhythm on both sides of the ball. Fairmont State seized the opportunity, taking an early 17-0 lead at the conclusion of the first half. It was a challenging start for the Falcons, with their offense seemingly stagnant and the defense finding it difficult to contain Fairmont State’s offensive versatility on the backs of R-So. WR Kobe Harris (8-yard touchdown run) and Jr. QB Michael Floria (3-yard touchdown run).
Despite the daunting deficit, Notre Dame College refused to succumb to despair. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Garrett Mack, rallied the team, reminding them of their potential and the hours of hard work they had invested in leading up to this pivotal game.
“It's maturity,” Mack said in the postgame presser. “We’re a young team and there's a lot of first. Starting the game fast. Starting the game strong is something we've got to figure out.”
The Turning Point:
As the second half kicked off, a transformed Notre Dame College team took the field. The defense tightened its grip, forcing a missed 45-yard field goal from Emmanuel Richardson and preventing Fairmont State from extending their lead any further in the third. The offense, led by quarterback Deshawn Evans, who made his first career start, stepping in for injured Jr. QB Isaiah Murphy began to find its groove, making crucial completions and moving the ball down the field methodically.
The turning point of the game came in the third quarter when Evans found R-So. wide receiver, Michael Solomon, wide open for a 42-yard touchdown carch. The crowd and NDC sideline erupted in cheers as the Falcons closed the gap to 14-7. The momentum had shifted, and the team’s belief in their ability to mount a comeback was palpable.
The Almost Thrilling Comeback:
With each passing minute, Notre Dame College grew stronger. Their defense continued to stifle Fairmont State’s offense, allowing zero second half points, and their offense displayed newfound confidence and efficiency. In the fourth quarter, Evans connected with three different receivers, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Devin Morgan, cutting the once-three-score lead to one score, electrifying the stadium and setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
As the clock ticked down, it seemed that Notre Dame College was on the verge of a remarkable comeback victory. However, Fairmont State’s defense managed to hold firm in the final minutes, denying the Falcons a game-winning score with a big time interception by former Youngstown State transfer Howard Williams .
The Bittersweet Reality:
The final whistle blew, and Notre Dame College’s valiant second-half push, while not resulting in a victory, left a lasting impression. The team had come together, displayed remarkable resilience, and demonstrated that they were capable of facing adversity head-on.
In the face of a slow start, Notre Dame College football had shown the world their unyielding spirit and unwavering commitment to success. As they regroup this week and continue their season, they carry with them a strong lesson learned about maturity from this game that setbacks can be overcome, and that a strong second-half push can lay the foundation for future triumphs.
The (2-2) Falcons travel to Maryland next Saturday for another MEC matchup with (3-0) Frostburg State University.