Lakota West outlasts Fairfield in double-OT thriller

Firebirds prevail 38-31 over Indians

FAIRFIELD -- The only thing Mitch Bolden did wrong Friday night was lose his helmet.

The last time the Lakota West senior quarterback saw it, he was throwing it in celebration of Lakota West sealing a 38-31 double-overtime win at Fairfield’s Alumni Stadium.

“I don’t know where it is,” he said. “I gotta find it.”

ExplorePHOTOS: Lakota West vs. Fairfield

Bolden scored four touchdowns on the ground and threw for a fifth to keep the Firebirds (8-0, 7-0 Greater Miami Conference) in sole possession of first place in the GMC. Lakota West, ranked second in the Associated Press Division I state poll, plays at Middletown next Friday.

“It feels good,” Bolden said. “I wouldn’t want to be in any other spot. We just have to keep it going.”

Bolden recovered a fumbled snap in the end zone for Lakota West’s first overtime touchdown.

“I never felt the ball hit my hands,” he said. “Then I saw it laying on the ground in the end zone and I fell on it.”

Fairfield junior quarterback Talon Fisher shook off a back injury to score his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge and help force a second overtime. Bolden responded with a score on a 4-yard scramble around right end, and Lakota West clinched the win when junior linebacker Jacob Asbeck forced a Fisher fumble that was scooped up by junior defensive lineman Elijah Davis.

“Whew, what a ballgame,” Lakota West coach Tom Bolden said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“It hurts to lose one like this,” Fairfield coach Jason Krause said. “It was a fun game. It would’ve been nice to be on the other end, but those were two good teams.”

“This is why you play football – games like this, games you never forget,” Mitch Bolden said.

Senior Ki’Arran Love forced overtime when he floated a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Noah King with 15 seconds left in regulation while filling in for Fisher, who left the game after being hit out of bounds, causing a penalty that set up the game-tying play.

Fisher, the GMC’s rushing and total offense leader going into the game, led the Indians to a 17-10 lead with 4:06 left in the third quarter with a 47-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Jordan Jackson. A fumble recovery by junior linebacker Dorian Soriano and a 35-yard run by Fisher set up the score.

“I hope people don’t just remember the fumble at the end, because we’re not there if not for him,” Krause said of Fisher.

Lakota West scored on its first three possessions of the second half on Mitch Bolden’s 22-yard run, his 20-yard pass to senior wide receiver Trent Lloyd and Bolden’s 3-yard run following Asbeck’s recovery of an Indians fumble.

Bolden, the GMC passing leader going into the game, finished 17-of-25 for 246 yards.

“They made some adjustments and threw the ball more efficiently in the second half,” Krause said. “The fumble kind of flipped things a little bit.”

“I have to be careful here,” said Tom Bolden, Mitch’s dad. “I don’t want people to think this is daddy-speak. He’s straight-out a player. He just wins. That’s not his dad talking. That’s the head coach talking.”

Fairfield held the ball for exactly 20 more seconds than Lakota West and the teams combined to go 5-for-5 on fourth-down conversions.

The Indians (6-2, 5-2) are scheduled to play next Friday at Mason.

“I told the kids we were super proud of their effort, and it’s not over,” Krause said. “We can still get a good position for the playoffs. We proved tonight that we can play with any team in Region 4.”

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