by Don Hiatt
The Eagles suffered their first loss of the season, 52-38, Friday night at Fairfield. After winning the coin toss Churubusco chose to go on offense first. The Eagles scored on their first drive on a 30-yard run by Josh LeFever and then went up 8-0 after Kyle Monk ran in the two-point conversion. Fairfield scored on their second possession on a one-yard run by quarterback Chase Pinion. The Eagles came right back on the third play of the series Kyle Mathewson ran through the Falcon defense for a 47-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 16-7 lead.
The second quarter was a shootout. Fairfield scored on a 44-yard pass from Pinion to Tanner Foust. Then the Falcon defense held firm stopping Churubusco on a fourth and one attempt. The following play Brett Vail rambled 58 yards for the score, giving the Falcons the lead at 21-16. The offense responded with a five-play drive resulting in another Mathewson touchdown run. A key play in the drive was a 28-yard pass from Alex Zolman to Hunter Nicodemus. With the two-point conversion, the Eagles were up 24-21. Again Fairfield struck quick as Vail busted through the Eagles defense for a 47-yard score, putting Fairfield ahead 28-24.
Churubusco had to punt the ball away and the defense held, forcing Fairfield to punt. Jeremy Forker blocked the Falcon punt and Jordan Turner picked it up and ran to the Fairfield 20-yard line. Zolman found Mathewson for a 14-yard pass for the score giving the Eagles a 32-28 lead, with 1:19 remaining in the half. Fairfield went to work through the air as Pinion connected with Darin Hochstetler for a 40-yard gain and another for 13 yards. Pinion completed a 15-yard pass to Derek Vogelzang for the go ahead score with 0:36 remaining in the half. Churubusco fought right back as Zolman hit LeFever on a huge gain that was called back on a penalty, but ran out of time as the half came to a close.
“Defensively we hung our heads a little bit and we can’t do that against a good football team,” stated Coach Lee Etzler. “It’s a little disappointing in that respect. When the game gets more difficult, we need more guys to step up and more positive voices in the huddle. We didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”
Fairfield had the ball for most of the third quarter as the Eagles were forced to punt on both possessions. Churubusco only had the ball for 2:27 in the period. The Falcons extended their lead to 42-32 on a four-yard run by Pinion. Fairfield picked up three more points on Vogelzang’s 21-yard field goal, giving the Falcons a 45-32 advantage. Jason Nicodemus had a 45-yard kickoff return but fumbled and Fairfield recovered. The Eagle defense rose to the occasion and stopped Fairfield on fourth and 12, sacking Pinion for a 15-yard loss. Forker hauled in a 39-yard pass from Zolman to pull the Eagles within seven at 45-38 after a failed two-point try. Churubusco attempted an onside kick but it was recovered by the Falcons. Fairfield scored on a late touchdown with time running out, giving them the 52-38 win.
“We didn’t respond well to not having Monk in the second half, responded Coach Etzler, on Monk’s injury and Zolman’s performance. “I am very proud of Zolman. He’s come a long way. I thought he did a great job out here tonight.”
The loss puts the Eagles in a tie with Angola for the Conference crown. Churubusco will be at home this week against Lakeland. Seniors will be honored before the game so get out early and support our senior athletes.
(view more photos from the Fairfield game in the Photo Gallery)