CVCA football unable to keep up with Fairless in season opener

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy football endure a long and unsatisfying season opener.

The final score of 42-26 in CVCA’s season-opening loss at Principals Athletic Conference rival Fairless Aug. 28 may give the impression that the game was relatively competitive.

That was definitely not the case, according to Royals head coach Dan Larlham.

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“We never felt like we were in the game,” he said. “We cut the score to eight points a couple times, but we never felt like we had any rhythm and any flow whatsoever. We never had much control of the game like we wanted.”

Larlham has a point. His team trailed by 30 points late in the third quarter before CVCA scored two late touchdowns.

“Fairless has a good coaching staff and a couple really good players,” said Larlham. “I think, in a lot of ways, our kids thought they could just show up and win, but we’re not that good. Our guys got off the bus and thought that Fairless was just going to lay down for us, and that didn’t happen.”

The game didn’t end until past midnight due to weather delays.

Fairless took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Two-and-a-half minutes later, with 2:25 left in the quarter, CVCA pulled to 7-6 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Michael Bevington to his classmate, wide receiver David Lewis.

“Michael scrambled around for about 15 seconds and found David in the middle,” Larlham said. “Michael made a good throw, and then David broke a couple tackles up the right sideline.”

Nineteen seconds later, the Falcons upped their lead to 14-6 on a 68-yard touchdown run.

The second quarter was scoreless until a barrage of points in the last minute.

A one-yard touchdown run increased the home team’s lead to 20-6. With 11 seconds to go in the first half, Bevington had a one-yard TD run of his own to make the score 20-12.

“The play was designed to go up the middle, and then Michael bounced it and went around the left side,” said the coach.

The Falcons answered right back on the ensuing kickoff with an 89-yard return for a touchdown as the half ended and a 27-12 lead.

A 66-yard touchdown pass and a six-yard TD run gave Fairless a 42-12 third-quarter lead, putting the game on ice.

Late in the third, freshman Ty Bova caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Bevington to make the score 42-18.

“It was a crossing route on first-and-goal,” Larlham said. “It was the first catch of Ty’s career.”

An 11-yard touchdown run up the middle early in the fourth quarter by sophomore running back Kyle Snider was the game’s final points.

“It was too little, too late,” said Larlham.

Bevington completed eight of 15 passes for 125 yards with the two touchdowns plus two interceptions. He also ran the ball 14 times for 38 yards.

“I think Michael tried to win the game all by himself every time we gave him the ball, and it put us in a really bad spot at times,” Larlham said. “Whereas, I need him to just kind of stick within our system, I think he was trying to score 20 points on one play, and I didn’t need that.

“One of Michael’s interceptions was in Fairless’ end zone, so we were about to score. That was obviously a pretty tough one to take because we thought we had a chance to get back in the game. He made a poor decision.

“Running the ball, there were times when I needed Michael to get us five yards, and he wanted to get us 25 yards and he ended up losing five yards. He didn’t have his best game.”

Snider had 15 rushes for 133 yards, including a 62-yard jaunt that helped set up CVCA’s third touchdown.

“Kyle had a great night running the football,” said Larlham. “He’s a big, physical, elusive back, everything you want in a running back. We want to be able to run the football effectively, and he’s a guy who we can give the ball to as many times as we need to, and he just keeps coming at you.”

Lewis wound up with three receptions for 80 yards, including a 35-yarder from Bevington that set up the Royals’ second touchdown.

“That was David’s first varsity start. It was his first time getting a lot of minutes. He started playing football just last year,” the coach said. “He broke tackles and caught the ball.”

CVCA was scheduled to play at PAC-7 rival Canal Fulton Northwest Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.