‘When he’s pumped, we’re pumped’: How Fairfield’s football coach is driving turnaround success

Don’t expect Jason Krause to bring a sensitive attitude to Fairfield’s sideline anytime soon. The Indians’ head football coach’s high energy and maximum voltage impact is working wonders.

“He yells and yells and gets into us,” assured senior quarterback Sawiaha Ellis following last week’s 34-27 defeat of visiting Hamilton. “When he has energy, we have energy. When he’s pumped, we’re pumped. When he yells at us, we know, it’s time to lock in.”

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Fairfield has often done that since Krause surprisingly bolted from Middletown to take over at then-struggling Fairfield in the 2011 season. Those first two seasons at Fairfield produced just three combined wins. Advancing to the Division I postseason has been the Indians’ norm since.

Fairfield (4-0) is well on its way to qualifying for the playoffs for the fifth straight season and 11th time in program history. Five of those playoff teams have been with Krause as head coach, although all five were one-and-done.

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That likely will not happen this season. Fairfield appears to have its best team since going 9-2 in 2013. Fairfield set its high-bar program excellence in 1986 by completing a 13-1 season with a 21-20 defeat of Lakewood St. Edward to win a D-I state championship at Columbus. Many of those key championship seniors were honored at halftime last Friday.

“Good teams find a way to figure out a win,” Krause said after being pushed by Hamilton. “We did that and we can move on.”

Several potential roadblocks await Fairfield. That includes Greater Miami Conference heavyweight Colerain (3-1) in a fitting regular season-ending Week 10 matchup at Alumni Stadium. As usual, the entire 10-team GMC lineup is lumped in the D-I, Region 4 field. There’s also current No. 1 Cincinnati St. Xavier (4-0); Fairfield is No. 2.

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At this point, teams will make their season by beating Fairfield. That includes at Lakota West (3-1) in a Week 5 matchup on Friday.

A Week 3 showdown at Springfield – a 16-12 Indians win – was an impressive road statement. Springboro (4-0) and Springfield (3-1) are the best postseason bets among Greater Western Ohio Conference teams.

“This means a lot,” said senior running back Jutahn McClain, a University of Cincinnati commit who put a career-high 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the Big Blue. “We’ve got a target on our back. We want to execute the team that wants to take us out of the GMC.”

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The GMC’s leading rusher last season, McClain ranks No. 1 again with 689 yards (8.2 average) and seven touchdowns. Ellis, verbally committed to Toledo, is No. 2 with 558 passing yards (11.9) and one TD toss. Most impressive, he’s completed 36 of 47 passes (76.6 percent) and rushed for six scores.

There’s also quick-strike ability in junior receiver and defensive back Jaydan Mayes. He had a 61-yard run to open the scoring in less than two minutes against Hamilton. He also had an 80-yard punt return for a TD at Middletown.

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Fairfield senior linebacker Phoenix Porter leads with 31 tackles. Senior L.J. France is tied for the GMC sacks lead (6). Junior Brandon Smith (4.5) and senior Malachi Sanders (3) and rank 2-4.

Fairfield appears poised to separate from the rest of the GMC contenders.

“This group is ready,” said Krause.

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