Trojans lose conference openerNick Jackson rushes for 167 yards
What a world of difference a week makes.
Following Washington’s first loss of the season to Pella, it could do no wrong against Fairfield.
It raced to a 24-0 lead with 10:08 remaining in the first half. By halftime Washington kept pouring it on with a 38-3 lead.
“It’s good to have a win,” said head coach Randy Schrader. “I think we made a statement the way our kids played. They came ready to play. It was a good win for our program.”
Washington thoroughly out-played Fairfield 59-23, a final score that was closer than the actual game.
“It was big confidence booster,” said running back Alex Coker. “Most of our guys need a little confidence because we are young.”
With Coker rushing for 16 yards on the first play of the game, the Demons were off to the races.
Coker finished with 101 yards, three touchdowns on 12 carries in less than three quarters of action. He also returned a punt for a touchdown of 71 yards.
“Coach designs every play to score,” Coker said. “He tells that all the time, every play should score.”
Senior Tanner Knupp sparked the team with six tackles, two sacks, an interception and two scores.
“It’s exactly what we needed,” T. Knupp said. “Last week was a major bump in the road.”
Coker and Knupp made momentum-changing plays for all three sides throughout the night.
Washington may have settled for a field goal on its opening drive.
The running game was dominant with 280 yards with the second team playing during the fourth quarter.
Knupp sparked the defense with a solo tackle and a sack. Coker subsequently returned a punt 52 yards to Fairfield’s 4-yard line.
Knupp was rewarded for his stout defense with a touchdown carry.
Knupp said the coach typically pays back players for their defense by running a play for them on the next drive.
“It depends, if you get close you want to give them a chance,” he said. “It depends on who has the hot hand.”
Knupp made another play on the next drive, a 12-yard rush to the opponents, 14. From there, Coker scored his first touchdown of the game to make it 17-0.
After forcing a fumble, the Demons took over at the Trojans’ 30. On 4th and 10 Coker made a touchdown reception.
Coker had his easiest play of the day as he ran into the end zone untouched for a 15-yard scored and a 31-3 advantage.
Knupp picked off a pass on the Trojans’ drive, and returned it for a touchdown, but it was brought back. This didn’t matter, as Knupp came back with a 14-yard touchdown on a screen pass.
“Coach Dave Hoffman put together a great defensive scheme,” he said. “A lot of guys coming off the edge and getting turnovers. It was a great coaching and team effort of our kids.”
This put the Demons up 38-3 with 1:27 left in the second quarter. Schrader said his team had good preparation for the game, but the product isn’t a forgone conclusion.
“You never know,” he said. “Going into a game you are dealing with 15-,16-,17-,18-year-old high school kids that you don’t know what you are going to get.”
A change in formation helped seal up the gaps that were exposed by Pella in the previous game. There were three backs lined up in the backfield.
“We went to the diamond formation, which we hadn’t showed yet,” he said. “That was a direct result of what we saw with Pella. I played with it this summer. We have to have something to answer Pella.”
With a 35-point lead at the half, there was a continuous clock in the closing half that allowed Schrader to give his first team rest.