By ROGER THOMAS
---- — FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield Trojans picked up their first district win and second overall with their 52-21 homecoming win over Mount Pleasant in football action Friday night in Fairfield.
The Trojans used three ‘special’ efforts to dominate the Panthers.
Fairfield's swarming, gang-tackling defense stopped the visitors 10 times on plays for negative yards, recovered two fumbles, and intercepted three passes.
Trojan senior Jonathan Hoehne picked up 157 yards on returns as he led the special teams.
But the top ‘special’ effort might have been turned in by freshman quarterback Cameron Baumann. Baumann, starting his first game, led the Trojans with 87 yards rushing, three rushing touchdowns, and passed for three more scores.
“He’s gotten reps in practice all year, so we didn’t have to put anything in special for him to run,” said Fairfield coach Mike Schenck. “We weren’t surprised at how well he played.”
The Trojans came up with their first interception on the first pass thrown by Mount Pleasant. Jordan Whitney’s pick gave Fairfield great starting position at the Mount Pleasant 45-yard line. Alex Christensen led the Trojans down the field with 33 yards rushing, but it was a 10-yard run by Baumann that ended the six-play drive.
After the Panthers fumbled on its first play of its second drive, the Trojans went 63 yards in just six plays to go up 14-0. The touchdown came on the first of Baumann’s scoring passes. He hit Vince Horras with a 22-yard pass for the score.
One of the factors in the early going that hurt Mount Pleasant was that the visitors wasted pretty good field position. Only one of the Panthers’ seven first half drives started deep in its own territory.
The Panthers would only take advantage of the final two. By then, Fairfield was already in control of the game.
Baumann’s second rushing touchdown, from 35 yards out, gave Fairfield a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Just three minutes later, Baumann hit Hoehne with a scoring strike of 44 yards and the Trojan lead was at 28-0. The running-passing balance of the Trojans was on full display in the first four scores.
“I think this balance of running and passing is one that we are comfortable with,” said Schenck.
The Trojan defensive line and linebackers continued to put pressure on Panther quarterback Dustin Amos, but the visitors finally got on the board with a six-yard scoring pass. After a 40-yard kickoff return by Hoehne, the Trojans answered with Baumann’s third rushing touchdown. He ran it in from four yards for a 35-7 Fairfield lead.
The Panthers added another passing touchdown with just 25 seconds left in the half. The Trojans led 35-14 heading to the locker room.
Fairfield scored on their first drive of the final half to lead 42-14. Christensen ended the eight play drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
With some late success throwing the ball in the final minutes of the first half, the visitors went to the pass early in the second half. The Panthers only completed four passes in the final half because of the Trojan pressure from their front seven.
One of the leaders of that group was strong side linebacker, Riley Hammel.
“I noticed that they were rolling to the weak side to pass and that gave me a lane to the backfield,” said Hammel. “This is probably our best team defensive effort of the year.”
As in the first half, a Trojan interception ended the first Panther drive. Dakota Nye’s pick gave Fairfield the ball back at their own 33.
Fairfield failed to score, but would stop the Panthers on downs on the ensuing drive. The Trojans took advantage of the stop and added a 37-yard field goal by Federico Ferretti.
One of the few mistakes by the Trojans on the night happened as Fairfield fumbled the ball away on a punt return. Hoehne made sure that didn’t hurt the Trojans by picking off Amos and returning it 75 yards to Mt. Pleasant’s 10.
“As a group, we look for the interception,” said Hoehne. “The return yardage is just about reading blocks ahead of me.”
“We got some good pressure on the quarterback tonight,” added Schenck. “The guys at the back of our defense are a ball hawking group.”
Two plays later, Baumann hooked up with Horras again, this time from nine yards out for the score.
“I didn't expect to have this big of a game in my first start,” said Baumann. “The older guys have supported me and helped me a lot. The line was really great tonight.”
The 52-14 score triggered the running clock with nearly a quarter to play. Mount Pleasant (0-6, 0-3) would add a touchdown with just seven seconds remaining.
“We made some big plays on offense and defense tonight,” said Schenck. “I think that if we stay aggressive, we can develop into a big-play team.”
Fairfield (2-4, 1-3) will travel to Fort Madison next Friday for another must-win Class 3A, District 7 match-up.
Fairfield 52, Mt. Pleasant 21
MP 0 14 0 7 – 21
FF 14 21 10 7 – 52
Scoring By Quarters
FF – Cameron Baumann 10 yard run (Federico Ferretti kick)
FF – Baumann 9 yard pass to Vince Horras (Ferretti kick)
FF – Baumann 35 yard run (Ferretti kick)
FF –, Baumann 44 yard pass to Hoehne (Ferretti kick)
MP – Dustin Amos 6 yard pass to Justin Dilks (Nyazum Gwamna kick)
FF – Baumann 4 yard run (Ferretti kick)
MP – Amos 10 yard pass to Cole Phillips (Gwamna kick)
FF – Alex Christensen 2 yard run (Ferretti kick)
FF – Ferretti 37 yard field goal
FF – Baumann 9 yard pass to Horras (Ferretti kick)
MP – Gwamna 47 yard run (Gwamna kick)
First downs 14 25
Rushes-yards 30-128 40-215
Passing yards 169 212
Total Yards 297 427
Comp-Att-Int 11-26-3 15-24-1
Return Yards 10-156 9-210
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties-Yds 7-66 7-61
RUSHING – Spencer White 10-24 yards, Blake Knudsen 1-0 yards, Dustin Amos 8-14 yards, Carson Remick 7-35 yards, Joseph Hess 1-(-2) yards, Ian Franzen 1-7 yards, Nyazum Gwamna 2-50 yards.
PASSING – Amos 10-25, 139 yards, Hess 1-1 30 yards.
RECEIVING – Remick 2-13 yards, Cole Phillips 3-64 yards, Knudsen 1-25 yards, Justin Dilks 3-16 yards, White 1-21 yards, Ben Canby 1-30 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS – Beau Parkevich.
TACKLE LEADERS – Noah Brown 7.
RUSHING – Alex Christensen 15-77 yards, Justin Hoehne 2-12 yards, Dakota Nye 5-37 yards, Wyatt Bruce 2-0 yards, Hunter McLain 2-3 yards, Tanner Deao 1-(-1) yards, Cameron Baumann 13-87 yards.
PASSING – Baumann 14-22, 199 yards, Deao 1-2, 13 yards.
RECEIVING – Vince Horras 4-56 yards, Hoehne 2-48 yards, Alex Shier 4-60 yards, Christensen 1-4 yards, Alex Crile 3-41 yards, Tristan Ledger 1-13 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS – Whitney, Nye, Hoehne.
TACKLE LEADERS – Narendra Martin 5, Riley Hammel 5, Micah Harris 5, Bryce Lunsford 5.