Centerville tops Fairfield in Ullery’s coaching debut

Coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, the Centerville High School football team landed an impressive road victory in coach Brent Ullery’s debut Friday night.

The Elks made the long drive to Fairfield, jumped out to an early lead and played a solid second half to win their opener 30-23 at Fairfield Stadium.

“It feels real good,” Ullery said. “We all put in a lot of hard work and got a good win.”

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Quarterback Alex Grandin, Centerville’s Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown Most Valuable Player, was solid all night, completing 15 of 25 passes for 205 yards and two scores.

Jake Spiewak snagged seven balls for 187 yards, and his 80-yard touchdown grab gave Centerville the lead for good (23-16) after Fairfield had rallied to tie.

Centerville opened the scoring on a 17-yard Grandin-to-J.R. Melzer pass following a Fairfield fumble on the opening snap of the season.

On the next FHS possession, Donovan Shelton jumped in front of a Jeff Tyus pass and went 30 yards on the pick-6. The Elks added a Brandon Walters field goal to roll ahead 16-0 after one quarter.

“With the teams on our schedule, you can’t spot them 16 points and expect to be successful,” Fairfield coach Jason Krause said. “We turn it over two times, and we give up two quick touchdowns. It was not a good start.”

The Indians turned the ball over three times, struggled to run the ball, and Tyus completed 13 of 35 passes for 165 yards. Tyus did find Jutahn McClain on a quick hitter that went 37 yards for a score.

McClain, Fairfield’s MVP, scored all three touchdowns for the Indians and added a two-point conversion run.

“Our inability to run the ball put extra pressure on a young, inexperienced quarterback,” Krause said. “We needed to run the ball to help him, and we couldn’t do it.”

Centerville controlled the second half with an effective running game, rushing 21 times for 100 yards after a minus-2-yard first-half showing. Jake Rankey was the workhorse, rushing for 60 second-half yards on 18 carries.

“(Rankey) did a good job, and overall our running game did a great job running the clock,” Ullery said. “Our defense played super well. We played super fast and executed. I am real happy with our defense tonight.”

After a Fairfield three-and-out, Centerville scored on a Grandin 3-yard run for a 30-16 lead.

Fairfield moved to the Centerville 12 late in the third quarter, but Max Wynn ended the threat with an interception at the 6.

The Indians scored with less than two minutes left after an errant snap on a punt attempt gave the Tribe the ball on the 10.

An onside kick was snagged by Centerville, which took a knee to end the game.

Both teams are back in action next Friday, with Fairfield traveling to Northmont and Centerville visiting Lakota East.

Centerville 16-7-7-0—30

Fairfield 0-16-0-7—23

C: J.R. Melzer 17 pass from Alec Grandin (Brandon Walters kick)

C: Donovan Shelton 30 interception return (Run failed)

C: Walters 21 field goal

F: Jutahn McClain 37 pass from Jeff Tyus (McClain run)

F: McClain 12 run (Erick All pass from Tyus)

C: Jake Spiewak 80 pass from Grandin (Walters kick)

C: Grandin 3 run (Walters kick)

F: McClain 5 run (Nick Matte kick)

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