Like the rest of his teammates, Fairfield senior running back Jutahn McClain sensed something special was brewing for the Indians football team. Offseason workouts were spirited. A unique bond was beginning.
“We’re on the road to greatness,” said McClain after delivering three touchdowns and 206 yards rushing in a 34-27 defeat of visiting Hamilton in a Week 4 Greater Miami Conference matchup on Friday night. “It’s a real special season and a special group and I love to be here.”
Verbally committed to the University of Kentucky, McClain scored on runs of 84, 14 and 7 yards.
The win improved Fairfield to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the GMC. It also secured Fairfield in the No. 2 spot behind Cincinnati St. Xavier when the Division I, Region 4 computer rankings make their debut on Tuesday.
It was the second straight setback for Hamilton (2-2, 0-2), which also lost to Lakota West in Week 3.
McClain was brilliant, surpassing 200 yards rushing for the third time in his outstanding career after twice doing that as a junior. His 84-yard touchdown romp with less than four minutes remaining – on 3rd-and-33 – proved to be the winning score.
Fairfield senior quarterback Sawiaha Ellis was the perfect complement to McClain. Committed to Toledo, Ellis completed 11 of 13 passes for 218 yards. That air attack prevented the Big Blue from locking in on McClain. It also accounted for most of Fairfield’s 558 yards of offense.
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“The offseason we had was really good and this group is ready,” Fairfield coach Jason Krause said. “There’s great leadership with this group. (Linebacker) Phoenix Porter really puts these guys on his back. No. 9 (McClain) obviously does it offensively. Ellis has been playing really good football lately. We’re good when those guys tick.”
The offensive fireworks immediately started with Fairfield’s Jaydan Mayes racing 65 yards for a touchdown just 75 seconds into the game. Less than one minute later, Hamilton’s Kaleb Johnson matched that with a 62-yard TD dash.
McClain scored on a 7-yard run to increase the Indians’ lead to 14-7 midway through the second quarter and added a 14-yard TD run in the second half.
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Hamilton’s Dillon Lee returned a fumble 50 yards to the 1 as the first half wound down and Keyshawn Stephens scored with 22 second left. However, the 2-point run conversion failed and Fairfeld maintained a 14-13 lead at the break.
Stephens and Johnson each had two touchdowns for the Big Blue. Hamilton QB Quincy Simms-Marshall lofted a 16-yard TD strike to Stephens with 2:24 left to account for the final score. Johnson had 84 yards rushing and Simms-Marshall 119 yards passing for Hamilton.
“I’m proud of their effort, but we want to win those games,” said Nate Mahon, who’s in his first season as the Big Blue head coach after leaving Little Miami and succeeding Chad Murphy. “There’s no substitute for winning. We’ve got to keep working to get over the hump.”
Fairfield is at Lakota West (3-1, 2-0) in Week 5 and Hamilton will host Oak Hills (0-4, 0-2).
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