James Buchanan quarterback Sebastian Wise may just have earned himself the nickname Houdini.
Wise’s slick footed, tackle breaking third quarter 27-yard touchdown run sparked the Rockets to a 22-20 come-from-behind win over the Fairfield Green Knights Friday night in a non-league game.
JB (2-1) sleep walked through the first quarter-and-half and found itself trailing 13-6 at halftime, but that all changed late in the third quarter.
It started with Grant Ellis picking off a Jake Myers pass to set the Rockets up at the Fairfield 26.
Hunter Smith picked up 4 yards on first down, but a false start on second down moved JB back to the 27.
Facing third-and-9, Wise picked up a low snap off the ground, eluded two would-be Fairfield tacklers, and rolled to his left. Once he got to the line of scrimmage and couldn’t find any receivers open he took off. He got enough for the first down and then changed direction and cut back across the field. Wise was able to swat and dodge four more tacklers along the way and then outraced two other defenders to the right-front end zone pylon where he dove in for the touchdown. Logan Miller’s 2-point conversion run put the Rockets ahead 14-13 with 2:07 left in the quarter.
It went down as a 27-yard TD run, but Wise’s improvised dash actually covered more like 50-plus yards.
“I was dead tired after that run,” said Wise, who was 17-of-21 for 131 yards passing. “It was a pass play, but nothing was open so I took off. I got a good block out front and then I changed direction because I saw it open to the right. When I got close (to the end zone) I just dove in.”
JB coach David Miller said those are the kind of plays he expects from his senior signal caller.
“That was a broken play and was total effort by Sebastian,” Miller said. “That’s why he’s one of our captains. He’s a senior and wants to take charge. That play also woke us up.”
And did it ever because the Green Knights took it to JB early.
Fairfield (0-3) took the opening kickoff and needed just 3 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Cody Valentine’s 38-yard TD run.
The Rockets managed one first down on their first drive, but then fumbled a pitch 2 plays later and the Green Knights recovered at the Rocket 25. It took Fairfield only 3 plays again to reach the end zone, this time Valentine scored from 17 yards out.
“We didn’t get off the bus,” Miller said. “I told the players Fairfield was going to give us its best effort and they certainly did. They were hungry and came right out at us.”
The Rockets then gave themselves some breathing room early in the fourth quarter and this time it was the defenses turn for the spotlight.
Facing a fourth-and-7 from the Rockets’ 47 the Green Knights tried a throw back pass to Garrett Stadler, but the JB defense sniffed it out a dropped Stadler for a 4 yard loss.
“Our whole defense played very well in the second half,” David Miller said. “Hunter (Smith), Caleb (Wise), Grant (Ellis) and the rest of the guys really got after it and played hard.”
JB’s offense took it from there and put together its longest drive of the night, a 10-play scoring drive, capped off by Smith’s 7-yard TD run. Miller added another 2-point run to put the Rockets ahead 22-13 with 7:27 left in the game.
On the drive, Wise and Caden Stoner, who caught 8 passes for 83 yards, hooked up twice for 24 yards and Logan Miller ripped off a big 12-yard first down run.
“One of our senior O-lineman called it out that we under estimated them there at the beginning,” Wise said. “It took a little while to kick it in, but we came together as a team. It was a good win and I can’t wait for homecoming next weekend.”
NOTES: Logan Miller scored JB’s first TD, a 2-yard run in the second quarter … Wise had a fumble recovery for the Rockets.
James Buchanan 22, Fairfield 20
James Buchanan 0 6 8 8 – 22
Fairfield 13 0 0 7 – 20
FF – Cody Valentine 84 run (Nathan Mickley kick), 10:28
FF – Valentine 17 run (pass failed), 6:51
JB – Logan Miller 2 run (kick failed), 11:07
JB – Sebastian Wise 27 run (Miller run), 2:07
JB – Hunter Smith 7 run (Miller run), 7:27
FF – Jake Myers 5 run (Mickley kick), 3:24
First downs – JB 13; FF 10
Rushes-yds. – JB 31-93; FF 33-174
Passing – JB 17-21-1; FF 2-11-1
Passing yds. – JB 131; FF 7
Totals yds. – JB 224; FF 181
Rushing – JB, Miller 9-45, Smith 12-29, Wise 10-19; FF – Valentine 17-88, Garrett Stadler 7-51, Peyton Stadler 2-16, Myers 6-12, Connor Joy 1-7.
Passing – JB, Wise 17-21-1-131; FF – Myers 2-11-1-7.
Receiving – JB, Caden Stoner 8-83, Mason Line 4-30, Grant Ellis 2-15, Smith 1-3, Miller 2-0; FF – Brent Hamilton 1-14, P.Stadler 1-(-7).
Interceptions – JB, Ellis; FF, G.Stadler.