By Justin Hunter
GOSHEN – The Churubusco Eagles ended the regular season with a big win Friday, turning back host Fairfield, 41-7.
The Eagles scored early in the contest on a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Richards to sophomore Sam Wood.
Churubusco elected to receive and took the ball down the field for a score. Nathaniel Keener ran the ball for 19-yards to midfield on the opening play of the drive. Quarterback Tom Richards kept the ball to pick up a crucial fourth and six play. Richards then connected to Sam Wood for a 34-yard touchdown. The Eagles led 7-0 early in the first quarter.
The Churubusco defense forced a quick three and out. The Churubusco offense scored once again on their second drive. Keener ran the ball for a first down to begin the drive. Richards fumbled the ball while dropping back in the pocket, but quickly recovered and ran for a first down to midfield. Keener ran the ball for a 16-yard run into the red zone. Keener scored on a three-yard scamper into the end zone. Churubusco led 14-0 with 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Churubusco defense held strong and forced another punt to open the second quarter. The Eagles failed to connect on a fourth and six play, and turned the ball over, but the Churubusco defense held strong once again.
The Fairfield defense forced a turnover when they pressured Richards and he threw an interception after getting hit. But the Falcons once again could not capitalize with good field position.
Churubusco drove the ball starting with 3:16 left in the first half. Time ran out before the Eagles could send out the field goal unit. The Eagles led 14-0 at half.
Fairfield started the second half with the ball, but could only make one first down before sending out the punt team. Woods took the punt near the Falcon sideline and sprinted 82 yards for a score. The Eagles led 21-0 early in the second half.
Fairfield struck gold on the next drive. The Falcon quarterback hit a receiver for a 40-yard gain. Fairfield then got on the board with a two-yard quarterback keeper. Fairfield trailed 21-7 with 6:44 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles’ offense answered with a score of their own. Wood caught an 18-yard pass from Richards to the eight-yard line. Richards then threw the ball to a wide-open Mason Anderson for a score. The extra point was no good, but the Eagles led 27-7 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles defense held strong to end the quarter. Joey Leazier recorded a pair of sacks in just three plays.
“We started the second quarter pretty slow, but bounced back in the second half,” said Churubusco’s head coach Paul Sade. “The punt return was big, and the defense held well. The young guys were able to come in late in the fourth quarter, and they held their own. It was a good way to finish the season.”
The Eagles’ offense took their time and scored to open the fourth quarter. Joey Emenhiser ran the ball from midfield for a 24-yard gain, and Gage Kelly ran the ball into the end zone to extend the lead, 34-7, with 7:16 left in the game.
Kelly came up big again, but this time on defense. Kelly intercepted a Falcon pass.
Wood ran the ball for a 45-yard score with 5:47 left. The Eagles cruised to a blowout win from there.
Keener led the Eagles running game with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown. Wood added 96 yards on the ground, with a score. Wood also led the Eagles with 61 recieving yards and a touchdown. Richards completed 6 for 11 of his passes for 87 yards and a pair of scores.
Joey Leazier led the Churubusco defense with eight tackles.
Churubusco will face Northfield at home this Friday for the first time since 1983 to open sectional play.
“I think there are things to work on,” Sade said. “Overall, I’m happy with where we are heading into the sectional, but we have to play our best football to get out beat these tough opponents.”