It may have been more like a Salvador Dali than a Picasso, but Middletown High school senior quarterback Jalin Marshall will take it.
Coming off a 51-13 loss at Winton Woods, the Middies exploded for 34 first-half points on their way to a 41-26 Greater Miami Conference win against Fairfield in their home opener at Barnitz Stadium.
“A victory is a victory,” Marshall said after rushing for 96 yards on just 10 carries. “And we like to win.”
Marshall said the loss to Winton Woods was out of his mind by the time the team boarded the bus home last Saturday. This week at practice, the task for the coaching staff was easy.
“We wanted to find guys who love to play football,” Middletown coach Troy Everhart said after his squad improved to 2-2. “That is all that matters.”
While the Middies loved the first half, Fairfield head coach Jason Krause — making his return to Middletown after leaving for Fairfield — could not have been pleased.
The Middies racked up 17 first downs, 232 yards on the ground while the defense was holding the Indians to three first downs and just 57 yards of offense. Marshall (94), Yvonte Glover (58) and Williams Peters (81) all had more yards rushing individually than the Indians had as a team.
“We had good practices this week,” Marshall said. “Everyone was focused and locked in on what we needed to do.”
Middletown got scoring runs by Peters and Glover on its first two drives before Antonio Oatis blocked a Fairfield punt deep in Fairfield territory, recovering the ball at the Indian 1. On the next play, Oatis plowed through the line for a 20-0 lead with less than five seconds off the clock in the second quarter.
As impressive as Middletown was in the first half, it struggled to maintain that focus after intermission.
Fairfield got a 62-yard scoring run from Tyron Harper on the third play of the second half as the Indians ran up 250 yards in the second half while limiting Middletown to 124. Fairfield cut the deficit to 41-20 with six seconds left, recovered the kickoff at the Middletown 19, and closed the game with its second touchdown in the final six ticks of the game for the final margin.
“I thought we had great energy in the first half,” Everhart said. “We had poor energy in the second half, and it showed by the final score. But I’ll take a win like this over a loss any week. We are going to enjoy this victory because winning a game is hard.”
The Middies travel to Lakota East (3-1) next Friday, while Fairfield hosts Lakota West (4-0).
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