Something is different about football in Fairport.
While the Red Raiders still have a climb to reach the team’s glory days from the mid-80s and ’90s, Fairport seems to be trending upward.
A big piece of evidence was provided Saturday, as Fairport claimed a rare win at Rush-Henrietta, 45-26, to remain undefeated after four games.
“I would say confidence,” said Fairport senior quarterback Keshawn Howard. “I remember my first game on this field. We lost 34-7. I was like a deer in headlight, I was just terrified.
“Now, I come on to a field expecting to win every time.”
The two teams, members of the Monroe County league, have been doing battle for decades, but Fairport’s last win over the Royal Comets? Try 2008, at Rush-Henrietta.
That was some time before Howard’s first varsity game against Rush-Henrietta three years ago.
Howard’s likely last game at Rush-Henrietta included three touchdowns, two through the air. He completed 8-of-24 passes for 114 yards, plus ran for 82 yards on 16 carries.
Fairport junior Dominic Gombetto scored a 4-yard touchdown, finishing the game with 16 carries for 119 yards. He also intercepted two Rush-Henrietta passes, one that he returned 30 yards for another score.
“This year we’re just working really hard,” Gombetto said. “We just really want to win a sectional championship. It’s been awhile (since 1998).”
Fairport led Rush-Henrietta, 14-7, before scoring 28 points in the second quarter. Howard and Beeshawn Curry connected for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Senior receiver Kyle McAvoy was wide-open in the middle of the end zone for a 12-yard pass play.
Gombetto stepped into the end zone from four yards out with 1:10 remaining in the first half. Fairport led, 35-19, when Gombetto cut off a short pass and returned the interception for another score.
Rush-Henrietta (2-2) fell for a second consecutive week — this one its first home game. Dion Reid led the Royal Comets with 171 yards rushing on 31 carries, including three touchdowns.