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.
»» MIKE & MARC: Talk about Weeks 4/5 football
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.
»» SOCIAL MEDIA: You should like Marc Pendleton on Facebook and Twitter
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.”
»» RELATED: Big Blue football reboot
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.
»» RELATED: Football computer ratings
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.
»» RELATED: Coldwater, New Miami No. 1
»» RELATED: State football polls
»» RELATED: McClain leads Fairfield over Hamilton
»» PHOTOS: Hamilton at Fairfield, Week 4 football
»» RELATED: Northridge Strong
»» RELATED: Ref reflects on head-butt