A fired-up Fulton High School football team was not to be denied on the Steamers’ gridiron Friday night as it used a second-half assault against the Bureau Valley Storm grabbing a 34-14 homecoming victory.
Winning their homecoming was a great deal on its own, but it was more enjoyable for the Fulton players as their first victory of the season.
Matt Hartman put Fulton on the scorebord first going over the goal line from two yards out with 3:52 remaining in the opening quarter. A two-point conversion run was short leaving the Steamers in front, 6-0, at the end of the period.
Bureau Valley controlled second quarter action and took a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
After a calming “we can do it” pep talk at intermission by head Coach Patrick Lower, the Steamers came running out rarin’ to go. And go they did. Sixteen seconds into the second half Austin Manon had returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, then erased the Storm’s lead by running in the two-point conversion for a 14-14 tie.
The second half belonged to the Steamers both offensively and defensively as they scored 28 points while holding Bureau Valley scoreless.
“That touchdown run was just awesome,” said Manon standing in the bleachers following the contest. “That was the best blocking we’ve had. Now it is all about pride. Our defensive goal was to make it tough for them.“
Hartman said, ”Our hard work was well worth it. We worked as a team and got the W (win). Now we have to finish strong. We were more pumped up.”
Coach Lower said, “We had things more together this week. And we were moving the ball. Our working hard finally paid off and we put four quarters together.”
One of the biggest turn-around plays came on the first play in the fourth. Fulton had the ball on a fourth down, six yards to go for a first down on its own 49-yard line.
Hartman dropped back into punt formation, but the Steamers faked it and Manon carried the ball around right end to the Storms’ 5-yard line. Hartman carried twice. The first for three, the second for another Fulton touchdown. He then carried again for the two-point conversion with 10:54 remaining in the game.
“The fake punt was a huge play for us,” Lower said. “I asked the players about it and to a man they said ‘Go for it.’“
Austin Nimrick scored Bureau Valley’s first second quarter touchdown on a two-yard run and the conversion kick was blocked.
The visitors moved in front 12-6 when quarterback Frank Gebeck lofted a 78-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Monier. Then Monier pulled in another Gebeck pass for the two-point conversion and 14-6 halftime lead.
Fulton quarterback Ethan Jones completed 11 of 12 pass attempts in the game including a five-yard TD toss to Manon late in the third period.
Jones kept the ball himself on a 23-yard touchdown jaunt seven and a half minutes before the end of the game.
“Now we have to finish strong,” Manon said.
“I’m planning on a three-game winning streak,” Hartman added.
FULTON 34, BUREAU VALLEY 14
Bureau Valley 0 14 0 0 — 14
Fulton 6 0 14 14 — 34
F — Matt Hartman, 2 run (run failed), 3:52.
BV — Austin Nimrick, 2 run (kick blocked), 11:26.
BV — Jordan Monier, 78 pass from Frank Gebeck (Monier pass) 3:30.
F — Austin Manon, 80-yard kickoff return (Manon run). 11:44.
F — Manon, 5 run (run failed), 3:30.
F — Hartman, 2 run (Hartman run), 10:54.
F — Ethan Jones, 23 run (pass failed), 7:26.
First downs: Fulton 14, Storm 10. Rushing: Fulton 39-158, Storm 38-132. Passing: Fulton 11-12-0.
Storm 4-13-0. Total yards: Fulton 297, Stom 229. Fumbles/lost: Fulton 0/0. Storm 3/1.
Penalties: Fulton 3-30, Storm 4-35. Punts: Fulton 2-67 (33.5), Storm 4-109 (27.3).
Punt returns: Fulton 1-8, Storm 0-0. Kickoff returns: Fulton 1-80, Storm 1-27.