Coming off a crushing defeat a week ago, Fairfield High School senior Peyton Brown said motivation wasn’t a factor this week for the Indians.
“It was Hamilton,” Brown said. “We all wanted to beat Hamilton.”
Led by Brown’s career night, the Indians walloped Big Blue 40-6 in the Greater Miami Conference football opener for both schools at Virgil Schwarm Stadium.
Brown entered the contest with three receptions and two carries on the season, but produced 43 yards rushing and two scores plus 68 yards receiving and a touchdown in the first half alone.
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun,” Brown said. “We were fired up to come out and beat Hamilton. (JuTahn McClain) got some crucial blocks for me on the edge and I had room to run.”
The Indians rolled up 302 first-half yards and built a commanding 34-0 halftime lead.
Backup quarterback Sawiaha Ellis was rushed into spot duty a week ago against Springfield when starter Jeff Tyus went down with an injury. Ellis, a junior, looked comfortable on Friday, completing 9-of-14 passes for 150 yards and one score, all in the first half.
“That is what we needed,” Fairfield coach Jason Krause said. “The loss last week was hard to swallow, but I think you saw a different (Ellis) this week. He had a week to get all the reps and prepare. And Brown just had a great game. He has a lot of speed, which you saw tonight.”
Brown scored from 10 yards out on the Indians’ first possession, and after they recovered a Hamilton fumble, McClain (149 yards and two touchdowns) scored. And the rout was on.
HHS had the ball seven times in the first half and produced 40 yards, punting five times, turning the ball over once before taking a knee going into the half.
“Our offense just couldn’t get anything going,” Big Blue coach Chad Murphy said. “They were more physical than us and controlled the line of scrimmage, and it is always a long night when you can’t control the line of scrimmage. Hats off to them, they played well. Fairfield is a good team, but we continue to be our own worst enemy. Sometimes we just can’t get out of our own way with the mistakes we make.”
The Hamilton quarterback duo of Quincy Simms-Marshall and Khaliyal Sowell combined to complete 1-of-9 passes. Sowell was hurt late in the first half and didn’t return. Simms-Marshall scored Hamilton’s lone touchdown in the third quarter after Fairfield gave up the ball on its own 20 courtesy of a muffed punt exchange.
The Big Blue (0-3) also lost star running back Keyshawn Stephens to an injury. Stephens set the HHS single-game rushing record a week ago with 293 yards against Anderson, but managed only 11 yards before hurting his ankle in the first half.
“Yeah, they came out, scored, we fumble and they score a quick one, and then we lose (Stephens) to injury,” Murphy said. “It was really deflating.”
Krause had high praise for his defense, which held Hamilton to 108 total yards, with 51 of those coming from Kaleb Johnson’s third-quarter rumble. Mekiyell Muhammad had three tackles for loss, while Del Thomas and Phoenix Porter each had six tackles for Fairfield.
“We saw the numbers their guy put up last week, so we really challenged our defense this week,” Krause said. “I thought they played really well.”
Fairfield (2-1) hosts Lakota West next week, while the Big Blue travel to Oak Hills.
Johnson had 99 yards rushing for Hamilton in the second half. Luke Mattia had nine tackles, Elijah Spradling and Ryan Ponder each had six tackles, and Jordan Jones had five.
“We just need to come back and keep working,” Murphy said.
F: Peyton Brown 10 run (Pass failed)
F: JuTahn McClain 1 run (Elgin Phillips kick)
F: Jordan Jones 1 run (Phillips kick)
F: Brown 23 run (Phillips kick)
F: Brown 18 pass from Sawiaha Ellis (Phillips kick)
F: McClain 65 run (Pass failed)
H: Quincy Simms-Marshall 1 run (Run failed)