Fairfield Ledger
https://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1774895

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Trojans 1-0 after scratching Panthers

By Justin Webster | Aug 27, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo The stands were packed with fans from Trojan nation, including dozens of FHS students seen here.

After losing to Knoxville 49-14 a year ago, the Fairfield football team started season No. 2 of the Matt Jones era with a solid 28-6 victory over the visiting Panthers.

 

Slow start

After a scoreless first quarter that ended with the ball on the Knoxville one-yard line, senior Tristin Waugh plunged into the Fairfield endzone with 11:58 remaining to give the Trojans an early 6-0 advantage with Landen Schafer adding the point after.

“Our offense started a bit slow,” admitted head coach Matt Jones, who added, “Knoxville came out in a couple of different fronts and after our guys settled down and stuck to their rules, we were able to run the ball effectively.”

 

Bend, but don’t break

With the Trojans effectiveness leading them down the field on what appeared to be a lead-extending drive, senior quarterback Carson Crile threw his only interception of the game, with Knoxville returning the turnover deep into Fairfield territory. Though it appeared that the Panthers were going to be able to keep it close with a field goal, or even tie it with a touchdown, senior Brittan Bowman created a spark with a defensive deflection.

“The highlight [of the game] for me was my interception right before half,” said junior tailback/defensive back Leone Gichure, who went on to explain, “Our safety Brittan tipped the ball, and I dove to catch it on their side. It really pumped me and the team up before halftime.”

 

Off to the races

Gichure and Waugh must have really been pumped up, because the pair combined for 200-plus yards and three touchdowns with Tristin carrying the ball 18 times for 78 yards and two scores and Leone getting 14 reps for 126 yards and an endzone dance.

“I have to give credit to the line for opening up those gaps for me to make a move and get what I could,” said a thankful Gichure, who continued to spread the love, “Also, our receivers did a great job of holding their blocks for me and Tristin, too.”

Coach Jones agreed.

“Our line, Reese Klehm, Aidan Pohren, Gage Hook, Sam Mattson and Nic Schillerstrom, all started the game and played well overall. Tristin made some tough runs even when we didn’t block it perfectly, and Leone was electric with his feet and explosiveness. Our receivers, Caden Jones, Carter Ferrel, Elan Ledger, Landon Kooiker and Landen Schafer, really blocked well and had several pancakes as a crew.”

The Trojans not only held the lead at the half, they kept the accelerator jammed with Waugh scoring a second time with 8:54 remaining in the third, before the QB Crile snuck in from a yard out to make it 21-0 just two minutes before the start of the fourth quarter.

“It felt good to see the guys gaining confidence as the game kept going,” said Jones. “We wore Knoxville out a bit as the game progressed, which was fun to see.”

 

Stopping the Panthers

“Defensively, we played fast and consistent for most of the night,” shared Jones. “We didn’t miss many tackles and our outside linebackers, Crile and Cole Engle, did a good job containing. We got a lot of guys to the football and our DB’s played well.”

Jones said the staff challenged them to play man for a good portion of the night with the secondary having a “nice evening locking their receivers down” according to their skipper.

 

Balance,

or lack thereof

Fairfield ran 47 plays with 42 rushing attempts, something Coach Jones isn’t necessarily worried about.

“The most important statistic is the W,” explained the lead Trojan, who continued, “We did what we had to do to get it done. That being said, we need to work on our inside and outside run game and our passing game. We really wanted to establish a physical presence on Friday, and we did that.”

 

Ready for round two

The 1-0 Trojans will head to Clear Creek-Amana to face the Clippers Friday night with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Coach Jones has four days to make his next set of adjustments.

“We need to clean up some special teams miscues on punt return and kickoff, and we need to start faster,” suggested Jones.

“We also have to continue to work on fundamentals and learning our job,so we can cut loose and play fast the entire game.

We are grateful that everyone is healthy from Friday night, and I was proud of our guys that we only committed four penalties the entire night and we won the turnover battle, plus-one.

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