Indians intercept Trojans six times, win 48-20
OSKALOOSA – The Trojan varsity football team had trouble with turnovers for the second game in a row, leading to a 48-20 road loss to Oskaloosa Friday.
The Indians are a pass-first offense, and their defenders proved they had a lot of practice defending the pass, too, as they picked off six of them. In their first four games of the year, the Trojans had coughed up the ball only twice, but they have done so 11 times in just the last two games.
Oskaloosa’s quarterback Ethan Arnold had a career night, throwing five touchdowns and only one interception while completing a high percentage of his passes, 29-42. Arnold began the scoring with a 25-yard toss to Jack Moore in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, Aaron Blom booted a 30-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Indians a 10-0 lead.
It looked like the Trojans would be held scoreless in the second quarter, and were hoping to keep the Indians off the board and enter halftime with a manageable deficit. Arnold had other ideas as he found Ethan Kelderman for a 32-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to go before halftime.
Down by 17, the Trojans refused to quit as Fairfield marched the length of the field and eventually scored on a 3-yard pass from Baumann to Hunter Hoskins with seven seconds to go.
The Indians had a knack for halting the Trojans’ momentum, sadly, and scored on the opening drive of the second half as Arnold connected with Bennett Spry for a 45-yard touchdown to make the score 24-7. The Indians threatened again later in the quarter but were stymied when Steeler Higdon picked off a pass and ran it in for a score to cut the Trojans’ deficit to 24-14.
Fairfield’s mountain became steeper to climb when Arnold completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Moore to begin the fourth quarter and push Oskaloosa’s lead back to 17. Brandon Smithburg got six of those points back when he ran it in from 13 yards out to make the score 31-20.
With 9:26 to go in the game, the Trojans were still alive but knew they couldn’t let the Indians put any more points on the board. Less than a minute later, Arnold launched another long pass, this time hitting Tanner DeKock for a 63-yard touchdown reception. With 4:40 on the clock, Blom made a 27-yard field goal to give the Indians a commanding three-touchdown lead at 41-20.
On Fairfield’s next drive, Alex DeJong intercepted a pass from Baumann and ran it in for the icing on Oskaloosa’s cake.
“Oskaloosa has a very good team,” said Trojan head coach Mike Schenck. “They were especially tough in their passing game. We had too many turnovers, and could not stay competitive in the second half.”
Fairfield managed a respectable 5.2 yards per play for 311 yards of total offense. The Trojans’ problem was they allowed 7.7 yards per play to the Indians, who amassed 525 total yards. Most of Oskaloosa’s damage was done in the air, 428 yards, while Fairfield opted to stay put on the ground, where it garnered 215 yards.
One of the consistent bright spots for the Trojans has been their ability to stop the run, and that continued Friday as Fairfield allowed only 3.7 yards per rush, while picking up 5.2 yards per carry themselves.
The two teams were fairly close in first downs as Fairfield had 20 and Oskaloosa had 23. Fairfield converted four of its 11 third-down attempts and Oskaloosa converted five of its 14, so they both converted about 36 percent of them. Oskaloosa converted its two fourth downs.
Baumann went 8-16 from the quarterback position, gaining 96 yards through the air including one touchdown to go with six interceptions. Baumann was also the team’s leading rusher with 125 yards on 17 touches. Smithburg touched the ball 20 times and picked up 90 yards. Cade Lisk gained three yards on three carries.
Lisk was the Trojans’ leading receiver with three catches for 48 yards. Tristin Waugh caught two passes for 33 yards. Carson Crile caught a pass for 7 yards, and Denver Schultz caught one for 5 yards. Hoskins caught a touchdown pass for 3 yards.
Michael Fritz had one of his best games on defense as he was credited with 11.5 tackles, including nine solo. Smithburg had 8.5 tackles, six by himself and one for a loss. Baumann had seven tackles, and Jose Rojo had 4.5. Hidgon had 3.5 tackles and one interception. Crile and Waugh each had three, while Waugh added a quarterback sack. Also making tackles for Fairfield were Trenton Hanen, Eric Swan, Kyle Roberts, Hoskins and Lisk.
Baumann punted the ball five times and averaged 44.2 yards per punt, including two punts inside Oskaloosa’s 20-yard line. Hoskins returned three kickoffs for an average of 18 yards. Lisk returned two for an average of 10.5 yards.
The team hopes the sting of Friday’s loss will quickly fade away to allow the players to enjoy homecoming festivities all this week. The Trojans’ homecoming matchup with Fort Madison Friday will start 30 minutes earlier than normal at 7 p.m.