BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – No. 6 Fairmont Senior and No. 2 Bluefield didn’t know at kickoff they were playing for a state title on Saturday.
But when the WV Department of Education released its weekly COVID-19 School Re-entry map midway through the second quarter, the contest turned from a semi-final to a championship bout.
The Polar Bears, led by Gage Michael, scored the first 14 points of the game, and led by eight entering the intermission.
Bluefield drew to within two points in the second half, but a rushing touchdown by Dylan Ours gave Fairmont Senior a lead they wouldn’t give up.
The Polar Bears held on late to win, 21-19, winning both a semi-final game and a state championship all in one four-quarter game.
“There may be an asterisk by this in the record books, and that’s probably fitting – that’s fair (with) the way everyone was affected,” said Fairmont Senior head coach, Nick Bartic, after the game. “But at the same time we had to deal with the same adversities to get through the season.”
“Our whole year’s work finally paid off,” said Gage Michael, who accounted for two touchdowns in the game. “I mean, we didn’t even know if we were going to get to have a season three, four months ago. But the way that it ended is so sweet. It just goes to show all the work that the guys put in, all those 5 a.m. mornings before school, going to school, and then coming after again, it really paid off.”
Fairmont Senior was crowned Double-A state champion by the WVSSAC Saturday evening, after the conclusion of the game.
The WVSSAC, in the same statement, canceled the Super Six due to COVID-19 issues around the state, and a lack of eligible teams based on Saturday’s map.
St. Marys (A) and South Charleston (AAA) were named state champs in their classifications.
Fairmont Senior defeats Bluefield for the second time in the last four years in the postseason. The two teams have met each of the last four years in either the semi-final or championship round.