Momentum on the line in Fairfield’s finale
Spencer Peterman has more catches than anyone else in Class 3A. Mason Carnahan leads District 7 in rushing yards.
Yet the number that matters most — the reason the Trojans sit at 2-6 overall with one week remaining in the regular season — is their district-leading 24 turnovers. In the past two weeks alone, the Trojans have turned the ball over nine times, including five fumbles lost and four interceptions.
“We’ve done some good things offensively, but our Achilles’ heel is turning the ball over,” said Fairfield head coach Mike Schenck.
In preparation for Fairfield’s Week 9 matchup with Chariton, the coaching staff has come up with a plan: Free Gatorade to the defense if they knock the football loose during practice.
“This week we’ve challenged our defensive reserves that if they can get us to put the ball on the ground, we’ll buy them all a Gatorade, and we haven’t had to buy any Gatorade this week,” Schenck said Wednesday. “Hopefully we’re more conscious of taking care of the football.”
The Trojan offense will be facing a Charger defense that has given up 35 points per game and has won once in its first eight games. Like Centerville, however, the Chargers might be more than meets the eye.
“I think they’re going to play hard. They’ve only won one football game, but the game they won was against Fort Madison,” said Schenck. “They’re a young team that I think is hungry and looks to be a team that has continued to make improvement through the year.”
Christian Bengtson has proven to be a competent quarterback for the Chargers in his junior year, throwing for 519 yards with five touchdowns to six interceptions. Senior tailback Matt Schultz has rushed for 509 of Chariton’s 974 yards to complement the Chargers’ passing attack. Four of Schultz’s 112 attempts have gone for touchdowns.
Schenck isn’t expecting anything out of the Chargers he didn’t already see in the Trojans’ 49-7 win last year.
“They’re doing the same thing offensively and defensively, so we pretty much prepared for them the same way we have in the past. “They’re still running basically out of the I-formation, and defensively they like to run a 5-3.”
On the injury front, Nick Jackson and Brett Scott have been out with lingering ankle injuries and aren’t expected back Friday. Justin Hammes and Austin Gridley have both yet to practice this week, as well.
Once again, junior Kooper Dahlstrom and senior Daniel Schwarz are expected to fill in for Scott on the line. For the injured Hammes, sophomore Narendra Martin will receive playing time at wide receiver and junior Jordan Whitney at cornerback.
Schenck also expects sophomore running back Dakota Nye to receive some carries this week with both Hammes and Jackson sidelined.
And while the injuries have affected Fairfield in practice, the biggest challenge for Schenck this week could be keeping his Trojans focused on the task at hand.
After all, a win or loss against Chariton has no bearing on the playoff picture. The important game for the Trojans, at least in terms of the postseason, will be nearly 60 miles away with Mount Pleasant (2-6) visiting Williamsburg (7-1). If Mount Pleasant manages to pull off an upset in that game, they’ll make the playoffs. If not, Fairfield is in.
In another scenario, if Centerville beats Washington on Friday and Mount Pleasant still loses, Fairfield would make the playoffs on tiebreaker rules.
Regardless, Schenck feels there is plenty to play for in the finale game, and he would like to think his players agree.
“We want to continue getting better, and there’s not a lot of pressure because it’s a non-district game,” the 23-year veteran said. “We can come out and work on some things and become a better team because of it.
“To say it’s a worthless game, I don’t look at it that way and I don’t think our kids do. It’s a game we want to win. It’s a game we want to go out and play well because we still feel we haven’t played our best football this year.”
Kickoff for the regular season finale game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.
Pos. Name Class
QB Dillon Fry Sr
RB Mason Carnahan Sr
WR Spencer Peterman Sr
WR Alex Shier Jr
WR Narendra Martin So
TE Vince Horras Jr
LT Jake Mineart Sr
LG Mason Ellis Jr
C Cody Craff So
RG Austin Deao Sr
RT Daniel Schwarz Sr
Pos. Name Class
DE Jake Mineart Sr
DT Gabe Jaquez Sr
NG Kooper Dahlstrom Jr
DT Justin Leonard Jr
DE Cody Cohen Jr
OLB Aaron Gevock Sr
ILB Seth Davisson Sr
CB Mason Carnahan Sr
CB Jordan Whitney Jr
SS Josh Dimmitt Sr
FS Jonny Swanson Sr
K Matt Carr Jr
P Daniel Schwarz Sr