Fairfield Ledger

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2016

Turnovers doom Trojans in 24-7 loss

By AARON VINER Golden Triangle News Service | Sep 26, 2016
Photo by: AARON VINER/GTNS photo Though the theme of Friday’s game was Fairfield’s inability to hold on to the ball, on this occasion the Trojans returned the favor as Brandon Smithburg makes a spectacular leaping catch for an interception in the second quarter.

After taking good care of the ball through the first four weeks of the season, the Fairfield football team was unable to continue the trend on Friday night as they fell to the visiting Washington Demons 24-7.

“We only had two turnovers all year coming into this game, and five tonight,” Fairfield head coach Mike Schenk said. “That gives an indication of some of the physical play that Washington had. They are a good football team.”

The loss pushes the Trojans to 3-2 on the season and 1-2 in district play.

Despite falling to their rivals to the northeast, the Trojan head coach was able to find some positives as his team looks to move forward this week.

“I think that we scored on a good team, and we didn’t score a touchdown last year on them,” Schenk said. “It was a good thing for our kids. We have a tough game next week with Oskaloosa, so hopefully we’ll be able to rebound.”

After giving up a touchdown on Washington’s second offensive possession of the game, the Trojan defense settled in and played stout the rest of the first half.

Fairfield fumbled the ball away after the Demon score, but the defense got the ball back on downs, and drove deep into Washington territory.

The Demon defense held on fourth and 1, ending the scoring threat, but the Trojan defense had a string of sacks to force a punt.

An interception halted Fairfield’s momentum, but the Trojans got the ball right back as Brandon Smithburg picked up an interception of his own, giving his offense some momentum.

That momentum wouldn’t last long, however, as a fumble gave the ball back to the Demons, and Washington drove down in the final seconds of the second half to put in a 31-yard field goal, making it 9-0 at the break.

“I thought our kids played hard,” Schenk said. “Washington was the bigger and more physical team, but I thought we fought hard. Down 9-0 at halftime, we felt we had a pretty good chance in the second half.”

In the second half, the Trojans mounted a drive, but a fumble at midfield gave Washington the ball, and the Demons capitalized, adding a two-point conversion to make it 17-0.

After trading possessions into the fourth quarter, a string of Washington penalties helped set up the Trojans deep inside Washington territory. Cameron Baumann punched the ball in from two yards out, and the added PAT put Fairfield on the board, 17-7, and after forcing a Washington punt, the Trojans had hope late in the game.

Facing a fourth down, the Trojans went for it, and Baumann appeared to have an open lane before slipping down short of the first-down marker, turning the ball over.

“A couple of things go the other way and maybe it’s a different ball game,” Schenk said. “The play of the game was when we went for it on fourth down and Cameron slipped going around the corner when he could have easily had the first down.”

Baumann was the offensive leader for the Trojans, picking up 114 yards on the ground, and throwing for 42 more, accounting for the only Fairfield points on the night.

Michael Fritz had 9.5 tackles for the Trojans, while Smithburg ended the night with a pair of interceptions.

Schenk noted that he hopes his team “continues to work hard with a great attidude” this week during practice.

The Trojans will hit the road on Friday night when they take on Oskaloosa, who will be coming off a 34-3 loss to Solon.


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