ND falls to Fayetteville, 36-6

As with most programs that have youth in it in the game of football, there tends to be more downs than ups as said program gets its youth up to the speed of high school football.

For Notre Dame, Friday’s contest against the Fayetteville Rockets was the epitome of that saying as 29 unanswered points from the Rockets allowed Fayetteville to collect a 36-6 victory over the Titans on Friday evening at Spartan Stadium in Portsmouth.

In Bob Ashley’s eyes, the message for his young team is simple: just keep working.

“We’ve just got to stay patient and stick to our guns,” Ashley said. “We’ve just got to get better at the little things, really. Our tackling tonight wasn’t very good, and our discipline wasn’t very good. Those are all fixable things, but we’ve got to come in there next week and be willing to work at them.”

However, the game looked like it would, at first, be a neck-and-neck affair.

Behind an effective Notre Dame offensive front, the Titans were able to advance all the way down to the Fayetteville 39 yard line as the effective rushing trio of Ben Mader, Chase Matiz, and Logan Emnett put the Titans in a position to put together the game’s opening salvo.

However, it wasn’t to be. A Mader fumble allowed Fayetteville to recover the ball at its own 47, and five plays later — on a 3rd-and-long — Luke Wiederhold found Bowen Doane for a 32-yard passing touchdown after a bad snap, which was recovered by Wiederhold from the pocket — allowed Wiederhold to find a wide-open Doane to put Fayetteville up by a 7-0 tally with 5:57 to play in the first quarter.

Still, the youthful Titans showed an excellent trait on its next drive — resolve.

After starting from inside its own 40 once again, Notre Dame quickly went on the march behind the running abilities of Mader and Matiz, who combined for 153 yards rushing on the evening. Mader, who ran for gains of 12, 10, and nine yards and collected an impressive 101 yards on 15 carries, took a 23-yard handoff to paydirt on an excellent misdirection play from the shotgun by the Titans to cut the lead to 7-6 with 2:39 to play in the first quarter.

“Ben’s a tough kid,” Ashley said of Mader. “He’s getting his opportunities, and he’s making the best of them. He’s sat behind a pretty good kid in (Sam Kayser) over the last year or two, and now he’s getting his own opportunity to do well. He’s been doing a pretty good job of it.”

Three plays into Fayetteville’s ensuing series, it looked as if the Titans would seize control as a fumble allowed Notre Dame to take over with excellent field position at its own 44 yard line. A three-and-out, however, proved to be costly as Fayetteville re-obtained possession and scored on a seven-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off behind the efforts of Chase Lockwood, who sprinted 42 yards to paydirt.

But even though Notre Dame, who trailed by just a 14-6 margin with 7:59 to play in the second quarter, moved back into Rockets’ territory behind a 15-yard run by Mader, a holding penalty and a bad snap forced Notre Dame to punt the football away again. That allowed Fayetteville to go on what proved to be a backbreaking 13-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Wiederhold to Lockwood with 16.6 seconds remaining in the half as the Rockets took a 21-6 lead into halftime. Two additional touchdown runs from Wiederhold and Hunter Jester allowed the Rockets to put the game completely away.

“It was disappointing,” Ashley said. “Fayetteville didn’t really make any big adjustments. I thought that we were going to compete with them early, but you’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Fayetteville football program and their head coach, Kevin Finch. He’s done a great job with them, and we respect him and what he does with his kids.”

With the loss, Notre Dame fell to 1-2 to start the 2017 season. The Titans will open up its SOC I slate against Eastern on Friday evening. Fayetteville moved to 3-0 with the victory and will play Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy on Friday.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Notre Dame’s Ben Mader runs down the near side against Fayetteville. Mader collected 101 yards on 15 carries against the Rockets.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/09/web1_rsz_dsc_3654.jpgNotre Dame’s Ben Mader runs down the near side against Fayetteville. Mader collected 101 yards on 15 carries against the Rockets. Kevin Colley | Daily Times

By Kevin Colley

[email protected]

Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7