Springfield scored a touchdown and added a two-point conversion in the final two minutes to beat Fairfield 15-14 in Week 2 a year ago. On Friday, at Springfield High School, the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes — and yet it didn't matter.
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Fairfield built a 16-0 lead and then withstood Springfield's late surge — though the Indians were never in any real danger of losing the game — to win 16-12 in the second week of the high school football season.
While Fairfield failed to shut out Springfield, something no team has done since Wayne in 2015, Fairfield coach Jason Krause saw his team improve to 2-0.
"You hate the fact that it ended up like it did," Krause said. "You play so good for 44 minutes, and then in the last (two) minutes, they were able to put two on the board on you. We knew they had the capability to do that. That was obviously what we were afraid of coming into the game. We did a pretty good job up until the last four minutes defending that."
Fairfield quarterback Sawiaha Ellis scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter and a three-yard run in the third quarter. In between, the Indians added two points on a safety thanks to a blocked punt in the end zone. Those three scores gave them a 16-0 lead.
Springfield's offense struggled for most of the game. The Wildcats converted 1 of 7 third downs and failed to convert on fourth down three times.
"We've just got to keep fighting," Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. "If we get a play here or there on offense, it might help a little bit, but it's a team game. You've got to stop them."
Springfield's Te'Sean Smoot completed 9 of 18 passes for 162 yards. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Larry Stephens with 1:59 left in the fourth and then connected with Stephens again on a second touchdown with 15 seconds left. The Wildcats failed to add the two-point conversion after each touchdown.
Springfield's last chance came on an onside kick in the final seconds, but Fairfield recovered it to clinch the victory.
"They're going to win a lot of games," Krause said. "It's a big game for us. It's a big win for us. To be 2-0, we're happy."
Ellis completed 10 of 15 passes for 111 yards and rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries. Jutahn McClain gained 106 yards on 26 carries.
"We really felt we had to come in here and establish the run." Krause said. "I don't think we did a great job of that in the first half, but I do think in the second half we came out and established ourselves and were able to run the ball."
Springfield would have had a better chance in the second half in the last play of the first half had gone its way. Jalen Minney appeared to catch a pass in the end zone, but the officials ruled the ball hit the turf. The Wildcats trailed 7-0 at halftime.
"When somebody looked at it on replay, he didn't drop the ball," Douglass said. "When you look at it on replay, (Sawiaha) didn't get in on (his first) touchdown. But we'll have to wait until the state championship until we get a replay in high school football."
The Wildcats routed Hilliard Bradley 44-7 on the road in their opener. In Week 3, they will play at Miamisburg.
Fairfield opened the season with a 33-7 victory at home against Centerville. Next week, the Indians play at Middletown.