Trojans look for better start against AlbiaAlbia is searching for another playoff run this season
The Trojans walked in to the locker room with heads hung low and shoulders drooping.
Down 27-0 at halftime, Fairfield looked to be defeated when they played at Albia last year to start the season. In the second half, the Trojans would score 20 straight points and put themselves in position to tie the game. Even though the result of the comeback was a 27-20 loss, it proved the Trojans could play with a team of Albia’s quality.
“We played a lot better in the second half and we shut them out,” head coach Mike Schenck said. “It was a tale of two halves.”
The Trojans will get another chance to prove their worth Friday when the Blue Demons come to Fairfield.
Albia comes into the season highly touted. Coach Jerry Staton is entering his 51st year of coaching high school football. The Blue Demons are bringing back the majority of a team who lost only one regular season game last season. Albia was upset by West Liberty 42-37 in the first round of the playoffs after falling behind 28-0 to start the game.
This year’s Blue Demon squad features the four members of the state champion 4x400 relay team. Ryan Sarver, Luke Sarver, Brett Leshen and Alex Schultz will all be strong factors for Albia. Leshen plays quarterback, Ryan Sarver is the starting running back and Luke Sarver will be starting at tight end.
Fortunately for Fairfield, Albia offensive tackle Hunter Gerth, a 6’4”, 265-pound Division I prospect, will be sidelined due to a foot fracture.
Last season it took the Trojans a full half to find an answer for the Blue Demons’ offense. Fairfield has, however, found a quarterback. Senior Jordan Whitney has secured the job for now, but don’t be surprised if junior Tanner Deao takes a few snaps as well. Coach Schenck says the coaching staff is still evaluating the position and nothing is permanent.
Fairfield’s poor start to last season’s game at Albia was indicative of its entire season. The Trojans started 0-5 before winning three of their last four regular season games.
“The first five games of the season may be our best five opponents,” Schenck said.
They may indeed. Davis County, Washington, Keokuk and Williamsburg all made the playoffs last season. Keokuk and Davis County suffered first round losses while Williamsburg and Washington made playoff runs.
“The trick will be winning a few of those games and remaining healthy for the rest our schedule,” Schenck said.
The heat will also play a factor in Friday’s opener. Fairfield schools have let students go home early this week because of the heat wave. The football team has been starting practice later to avoid the worst of the sun’s wrath. It remains to be seen if fatigue or cramps will become issues during the game.
“The kids have hung in there really well and are excited to play,” Schenck said.
Let the games begin.