Prep football: Playoff implications abound in Fairfield vs. Mason

Fairfield’s Erick All carries the ball in for a touchdown while being trailed by Lakota East’s Brandon Britton during their Sept. 15 game at Fairfield Stadium. The host Indians won 48-14. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Fairfield’s Erick All carries the ball in for a touchdown while being trailed by Lakota East’s Brandon Britton during their Sept. 15 game at Fairfield Stadium. The host Indians won 48-14. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

There’s no time for Fairfield High School’s football team to scratch its collective head after last week’s crushing home loss to Colerain.

The Indians are playing for a Division I, Region 4 playoff berth and their fifth straight winning record, which would be a first in program history.

“I don’t think we have to win to get in the playoffs, but if we don’t win, we’re going to need some help,” said Fairfield coach Jason Krause, who will take his squad to Mason on Friday night for a Greater Miami Conference contest with great postseason importance for both sides. “We control our own destiny in my opinion, so we need to win this week.”

The Comets are 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference, while the Indians are 5-3, 5-1. Mason ranks eighth in the Region 4 Harbin computer ratings, while Fairfield is fourth — the top eight make the playoffs.

“If we lose this game, I still believe we could win Week 10 (at Lakota East) and get in, so I haven’t felt like I needed to talk about being in playoff mode yet,” Comets coach Brian Castner said.

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“We just try to get these kids to believe in the process. It’s so hard in this day and age to get kids to believe in the process. I don’t know how everybody does it, but we just continue harping on believing in the plan. Believe in what we do on Monday, believe in what we do on Tuesday … things will fall into place for you on Friday if you do what’s right throughout the week.”

Fairfield’s 38-12 defeat at the hands of visiting Colerain last Friday was a gut punch to an Indian crew that believed it was ready to end the Cardinals’ championship reign in the GMC.

Krause believes his players are in a good frame of mind, despite responding poorly in the second half against Colerain.

“I think our kids are fine,” Krause said. “We lost to a team that played better than us last week, and we’ve got to move on. Our kids have done a pretty good job of that since I’ve been here.”

Mason holds a 6-2 edge in this series. Krause is just 1-4 against the Comets.

“They’ve had our number, and we’ve got to go back there again,” the FHS coach said.”We’ve got to find a way to overcome some of those memories and play our best football.”

The GMC statistics have Mason No. 1 and Fairfield No. 2 defensively in yards allowed per game. The Comets are giving up 205.5 yards and 12.4 points, and the Indians are allowing 208.1 yards and 15.9 points.

Krause said Mason’s defense starts up front with senior tackle Zaid Hamdan. Senior linebacker Jake Bracher has a team-best 52 tackles.

“As good as we’ve been up front, our back end has really surprised us,” Castner said. “They’ve done a good job of being in the right place at the right time, and they come downhill when they need to come downhill.”

Senior Matt Sora (117 carries, 773 yards, 11 TDs) leads the Comets on the ground. Senior quarterback Will Adams is 52 of 102 for 760 yards and six touchdowns.

“To me, their depth is what makes them good,” Krause said. “That’s the one thing I’ve noticed with Mason over the last three or four years. You’ve got to find 30 good football players to put on the field for offense, defense and special teams. I think they have it.”

Both teams are relatively healthy as the regular season winds down. Friday’s game will be Senior Night for the Comets.

Castner said he doesn’t have an explanation as to why Mason has handled the Indians in recent years.

“I honestly have not looked at that. I probably should,” Castner said. “I think last year we big-played them a couple times, and they had a touchdown called back. It comes down to whoever can control the ball and win field position. Those things are huge.”

The Indians will end the regular season at home next week against Middletown.


Friday’s game

What: Fairfield (5-3, 5-1 GMC) at Mason (6-2, 4-2 GMC), 7 p.m.

Where: Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium, 6100 S. Mason Montgomery Road, Mason

Last year: Mason won 21-17

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