Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — Coming into the 2021 season, the Fairfield football team had won just one game over the last two years. Now, two games into the new season, the Trojans have already doubled that number.
Fairfield overpowered Ottumwa 27-7 on Friday night in the Trojans’ home opener, getting a second win in as many weeks and the team’s first home victory since the first game in 2020.
“You're just seeing a program start to turn the page,” said Trojan head coach Nate Weaton. “You start to get a little bit of excitement about what the program is doing. The kids are buying in.”
Fairfield’s defense was dominant all night long. The Trojans held the Ottumwa rushing attack to short plays and the defensive line pushed the Bulldogs back all night long.
“ I'll give you two words — Hunter Cecchini,” said Trojan junior Max Weaton. “That kid was a beast. I don't think there was a play tonight when he wasn't in the backfield.”
Indeed, Cecchini and the rest of the line had the Bulldogs back-peddling all day, and that bought the offense plenty of time to put up some points.
Fairfield’s offense got things going early with a three-play drive to start the game. The Trojans marched downfield on the first possession and Tate Allen nailed Connor Lyons on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
“I knew they had no help in the middle of the field, so it was going to be wide-open,” Allen said. “I saw he ran a great route, and I just hit him.”
That would be the only score in the first quarter, and the game seemed destined to hit halftime with a 6-0 score, but the action picked up in the last four minutes.
The second Trojan touchdown would come on a botched Ottumwa punt. The Bulldogs booted it away from their own red zone, but the kick shanked off to the right side, and Allen caught the ball on the 24-yard line with plenty of grass ahead of him for a 24-yard return touchdown. Teddy Metcalf punched it in for two and it was 14-0 with under four minutes left in the half.
“ It just went to the right, and it came right into my hands,” Allen said. “I knew there was nobody who was going to be by me.
Ottumwa marched down and scored on a 35-yard quarterback sneak, but Fairfield was able to get the last laugh before halftime. Allen orchestrated another three-play drive, hitting Tate Richardson on a bomb pass, finding Weaton at the one, and then running it in himself for a 1-yard touchdown run.
Fairfield’s defense shut Ottumwa down in the second half, and also forced two turnovers, interceptions by Myles McEntee and Richardson. Metcalf scored on a short touchdown run with 5:55 remaining for the last score of the ballgame.
“It feels great that we've come this far from being 1-17 my first two years,” Allen said. “It just shows how we're finally coming together and playing as a team.”
The Trojans will take on another 2-0 team, Fort Madison, next Friday.