Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — The Fairfield football team crossed a big one off the list on Friday night.
The Trojans went into Mt. Pleasant and beat the rival Panthers 27-18, earning their first win in the rivalry in five years, and the first under head coach Nate Weaton.
“It's fun as a coach to walk into those young men and see the joy in their faces,” Weaton said.
It wasn’t easy. The Trojans and Panthers battled for every yard, trading punches all game in what was the closest game of the rivalry since the Trojans’ last win in it — a seven-point victory in 2016.
It was a banner night for Trojan quarterback Tate Allen, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for one in his first career start at quarterback.
“We never gave up, and that's all we can ask for,” Allen said. “Everyone had each other's back the whole entire game.”
The Trojans scored early in the game on a 1-yard run by Allen. Mt. Pleasant answered when Carson Coleman hit Kyler Stott on a 24-yard touchdown pass. Both point after attempts failed, and it was 6-6 after one quarter.
Fairfield took a 12-6 lead just before halftime when Allen punched another one in after hitting Max Weaton on a pass that got the Trojans down to the 1-yard line. Fairfield scored their second touchdown with just 11 seconds left in the half.
The Trojans led 20-6 in the third quarter after Allen hit Evan Haines on a 23-yard touchdown pass and ran in the two-point conversion. Mt. Pleasant, however, had plenty of fight left.
Mt. Pleasant scored the next two touchdowns of the game. First, Coleman rushed for a 13-yard touchdown after finding Wyatt Woodsmall on a would-be 66-yard touchdown pass that was called back to the 25 after a block in the back call. Then the Panthers capitalized on a Fairfield turnover, taking over at the Trojan 20 and running it in on the first play, a 20-yard run by Payton Hagans.
Trailing 20-18, Mt. Pleasant went for the two-point conversion but came up a yard short. In the fourth, the Panthers had a shot to take the lead in the last five minutes, but the drive stalled, and the Panthers were forced to punt with 4:36 remaining.
“We were moving the ball running-wise, but I didn't call a good series of plays to get us in position,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Shawn Striegel. “We came up a little short there.”
Fairfield faced a third-and-5 in the final two minutes of the game. Teddy Metcalf blasted through the defense to pick up the first down, and the Panthers had no timeouts left.
“Teddy running the ball did so much for our offense,” Allen said. “That's what led to us getting so many open receivers.”
Allen punched in one final score with 26.6 seconds left, and the Trojans were able to celebrate a victory to start the season, snapping a seven-game losing streak in the process.
“We've been beat up on, I can't tell you how many times,” Allen said. “We keep learning, and we keep fighting.”
The Trojans are now 1-0 and will host Ottumwa (0-1) next week. Mt. Pleasant will travel to Washington for a battle of 0-1 teams.