‘It’s a big win’ - Fairfield holds off Wayne in season opener

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield fended off a late rally by Wayne, and the Indians came away with a win in their season opener for the first time since 2019.

After taking their first lead in the final two minutes before halftime, the Indians used a 14-point swing in a 62-second span to build a cushion that eventually seemed too great for Wayne to overcome. The Warriors clawed back to make it a four-point game with 6:25 left, but Fairfield responded to the pressure and pulled away for a 41-24 win Thursday in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Fairfield Stadium.

“It’s a big win,” said Fairfield coach Jason Krause, who collected his 150th career win. “In the preseason, a lot of people had them ranked in the state. They had a really good year last year, GWOC co-champs and obviously a bunch of really good players, huge tradition up there. So to have them come in, and get out here with a win tonight and a good win, the offense played pretty well put some good points, and to do that, we’re pretty happy.”

ExplorePHOTOS: Fairfield defeats Wayne 41-24 in season-opening football game

Jordan Jackson scored his second touchdown to give Fairfield a more comfortable advantage in the final five minutes, and Aamir Rogers sealed the win with a fumble returned for a touchdown moments later after Josh Maupin forced the ball free on a strip sack. Ki’Arran Love made sure there wasn’t any doubt when he intercepted Tyrell Lewis with 1:18 left.

Fairfield extended its 14-10 halftime lead early in the third quarter when Isaiah Glover caught a pass down the sideline from Talon Fisher and turned it into a 59-yard touchdown. Braeden Shanklin then recovered a loose ball on the ensuing kickoff to put the Indians back on the 7-yard line, and Jackson punched it in to make it a 28-10 advantage with 8:24 left in the third quarter.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Wayne, coming off an eight-win season in 2021, responded with a 10-play, 89-yard drive in less than three minutes to cut the deficit on Zachariah William’s 6-yard touchdown run, and Mikko Delong intercepted a tipped pass at the Wayne 32-yard line with 8:07 left to help set the Warriors up for another score. Lewis converted two big third-down passes to keep the ensuing drive alive, including a 55-yard touchdown pass to R.J. Mukes on third-and-14 to make it a 28-24 game.

“There are some things that we need to get better at, but you got to give credit to Fairfield,” coach Mukes said. “They took advantage of their opportunities like they’re supposed to in the game of football, and for us, we just got to continue to get better and not give them a short field and things of that nature, so we’ll learn from it, we’ll watch the film and get better. … Our guys were out there fighting and trying. Like I said, there’s things that we need to fix, but the good thing is they’re fixable.”

Fairfield took its first lead with 1:21 left in the second quarter after Talon Fisher ran for 45 yards to put the Indians in the red zone. Kavi Bivins fumbled on a run into the end zone and teammate Reese Laseke, an offensive lineman, recovered for the touchdown. Fisher finished with 174 yards rushing for his seventh career game with 100 yards on the ground.

Lewis threw for a career-high 241 yards to lead Wayne’s offense.

“The defense made plays when it was time to make plays, and offensively I think we just kind of kept grinding and grinding and found a way to the endzone,” Krause said. “That last touchdown was huge. … The defense rebounded, responded, and ended up having a pretty good night.”

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