Fairfield, Pekin teams to be tested early
The area fall sports season is set to begin Monday.
Fairfield will make the trip to Knoxville for a cross-country meet at the Pine Knolls Country Club. Later in the week, the Fairfield volleyball team will host the Steve Heisel quadrangular and the Trojan football team will travel to Davis County, which is the first of four opponents Fairfield will face that made the postseason in 2013.
Critical games can take place at any point during a season, not just toward the end or once the playoffs have began. That being said, let’s look at five area sporting events that will help us decipher how the 2014 fall season will play out.
1. Cross-country meet at Wildwood Park in Ottumwa (9/4)
This will be the first time the Pekin cross-country team will compete this year. The girls’ team is ranked No. 1 overall after winning the Class 1A state title last season, while the boys’ team snuck into the rankings at No. 15. The Panthers will hunted all season as other teams try to knock them off their throne.
2. Volleyball: Fairfield @ Mt. Pleasant (9/4)
An inexperienced Trojan squad must come together quickly and try to earn a road Southeast Conference victory at Mt. Pleasant, which on paper looks to be the strongest team in the conference. The Panthers return senior Kelsi Phipps, who led her team in kills last season with 192. Seniors Hannah Becker (who had 331 assists last year), Mary Webster and Hattie Liechty will try once again to win the conference. This game will be an early gauge of where Fairfield is at as a team.
3. Football: Pekin @ Sigourney-Keota (9/5)
The 2013 version of this game provided one of the craziest finishes a football game could offer. A late Cobras drive put them in position to kick a close-range game winning field goal to break the tie with just seconds remaining. The snap was mishandled, resulting in the holder picking up the lost football and taking off for the end zone. With no time left, he snuck the ball past the goal line for the shocking Sigourney-Keota victory.
Both teams are playoff caliber and the Panthers will want revenge.
4. Football: Albia @ Fairfield (9/5)
The Blue Demons had their best season in school history in 2013, reaching the UNI-Dome and finishing with a 12-1 record. With a road test at Davis County already under the Trojans’ belt, they’ll need to bring their ‘A’ Game to overthrow an Albia team that will undoubtedly be strong again, especially up front.
5. Fairfield Invite (9/11)
The Trojans will welcome teams from all over the area to Waterworks Park. One of the largest area meets, the teams that will make the trip include Pekin, Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant, Washington, Cardinal, Central Lee, Chariton, Danville, Highland, IMS, Lone Tree and more. Many schools will test where they stand in their districts at that point.