Victory keeps Trojans’ playoff hopes aliveTrojans with huge win over Centerville
Alex Christensen’s late interception did more than seal Fairfield’s 46-31 win Friday over Centerville at Trojan Stadium.
It may have pushed Fairfield into the playoffs.
Christensen returned Centerville quarterback Tate Felton’s pass 60 yards to the house, putting Fairfield up by two scores and capping a victory with three minutes to go. Fairfield got another plus 13 win as a result.
The playoffs are a tricky deal. If a team wins a district game by more than 13 points, in the scheme of things it counts as a plus 13. This also goes for losing by more than 13 points. If two teams are tied for a playoff spot, the tiebreaker goes to the school that won the head to head matchup between those teams. If three teams are tied, then it goes by points scored in district games, which is why the plus 13 Fairfield earned Friday is so important.
Fairfield finished conference play 3-3 and at minus three in district scoring. The Trojans are betting that Centerville loses to Washington and Keokuk beats Fort Madison on Friday, resulting in a three-way tie at 3-3 in the district between the Trojans, Centerville and Keokuk. Centerville has more points than Fairfield, meaning the Big Reds would get in automatically. Keokuk is currently at minus 22 in district scoring, meaning even a plus 13 victory would not put them in the playoffs.
But wait, there’s a catch.
There is still a chance the Trojans could be pushed out of the fourth and final playoff spot in Class 3A District 7. If Centerville beats Washington and Keokuk wins as well, that would mean Keokuk and Fairfield would be the only two teams sitting at 3-3 in the district. The Chiefs would leapfrog the Trojans into fourth in the district because of head to head play. Keokuk’s 10-6 victory over Fairfield at Trojan Stadium earlier this year could still loom very large.
Christensen’s interception helped to clear up some playoff murkiness.
“I was thinking I was going to get caught from behind for a while,” Christensen said. “I didn’t realize I had so many blockers out there in front of me.”
Centerville was able to move the football for most of the game. The Big Reds came out and promptly marched down the field. Fairfield made a goal line stand, keeping Centerville off the board after a drive that ate up more than seven minutes of clock.
Two strokes of luck were on Fairfield’s side. Centerville starting quarterback Michael Starcevich did not play due to a concussion he suffered the week before. Sophomore Tate Felton took over the duties, and for the most part played very well, racking up 286 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Christensen’s pick was Felton’s lone serious miscue.
“I’m sure not having Starcevich hurt them, especially in the running game,” Fairfield coach Mike Schenck said. “That kid (Felton) did a nice job of throwing the football and keeping his head.”
Fairfield got on the scoreboard with a three-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Baumann to Vince Horras, which made it 7-7 with 8:06 to go in the second quarter. Horras caught five passes and two touchdowns.
“The first half went pretty well through the air,” Horras said. “Cam stood up and made some plays again.”
Horras has been a reliable target for Baumann since he became the starting quarterback. The senior tight end has 14 receptions and four touchdowns over the last few games. Baumann went 19-25 with 253 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception Friday. He also scored three touchdowns on the ground.
“We gave him a lot of reps early in the season,” Schenck said. “He throws the ball well, he gets rid of it quick, he reads well, and it was just a matter of him getting acclimated to the offense.”
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime. The Trojans came out of the locker room and put points on the board. Baumann connected with wide receiver Alex Shier for a 13-yard touchdown.
“We came out with some fire at halftime,” Horras said. “I think it’s the first time we really played with some intensity right out of halftime. That was nice to see.”
The two teams traded blows until late in the second half. A long completion to Alex Crile resulted in Baumann running in a touchdown from three yards out. The Trojans took a 39-31 lead, which was soon cemented by Christensen’s interception.
“We have some momentum on our side,” Schenck said. “Our kids keep improving week by week, so hopefully we can go to Chariton next week and get a win. “
Washington and Williamsburg continued to have seasons that reflect the state rankings they have possessed, winning by a combined 92-8. Keokuk did what it had to, beating Mount Pleasant and staying in the playoff hunt. The Chiefs need Centerville to beat Washington and a victory over Fort Madison on Friday to stay in contention.
Team, Overall Record, District Record
Washington 7-1 5-0
Williamsburg 6-2 4-1
Fairfield 4-4 3-3
Centerville 4-4 3-2
Keokuk 3-5 2-3
Ft. Madison 2-6 1-4
Mt. Pleasant 0-8 0-5
Class 3A District 7 Games (10/18)
Fairfield 46, Centerville 31
Williamsburg 43, Vinton-Shellsburg 0
Washington 49, Fort Madison 8
Keokuk 33, Mount Pleasant 7