By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Fairfield Falcons continue in their quest for the NECC title Friday night as the high school football season swings into Week 2.
A year ago, the Falcons (6-2 NECC) finished in third place behind Churubusco (8-0) and Lakeland (7-1).
Fairfield got off to a winning start in the league with a 35-21 victory at Central Noble last Friday.
Temperatures are expected to be higher for this week and that’s one of the reasons why Miller is glad to be home.
“It’s always a couple of degrees cooler and the humidity a little lower in Benton,” the coach quipped.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Falcons have won 10 of their last 15 home games, including a 5-0 mark in the 2010 campaign.
Prairie Heights (0-1) at Fairfield (1-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Series record: Fairfield 19-5
Last season: Fairfield 23-14
The Fairfield offense generated 266 yards of total offense (184 rushing, 82 passing) and 35 points in Week 1. Five-nine (175) senior Cameron Kitson was the top rusher with 111 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Five-eleven (150) senior quarterback Kyle Mast was 6 of 13 passing for 56 yards and 5-7 (161) senior running back Tony Zook 1 of 1 for 26 and a TD. Zook’s scoring pass was snared by 5-9 (166) senior Caleb Armbruster.
“The offense played a solid game,” Fairfield coach Bob Miller said. “There is still room for improvement, but we showed we can put some points on the board. We ran the ball well and Mast made some good decisions at quarterback.”
On the defensive side of things, the Falcons allowed 228 total yards (187 rushing and 41 passing).
“Our defense showed we have some room for improvement,” the coach said. “Central Noble is an improved team, but we had several opportunities that we failed to capitalize on. We have got to get better in that area.”
The Prairie Heights Panthers are in the second season under coach Vincent Royer.
“They use multiple fronts and do a lot of things on offense,” Miller said. “They may go from a stack I to a spread to a wing to a slot. The Panthers also have some good skill kids. All of that means our defenders are going to have to be good students of the game.”
Fairfield had a kicking game by committee with 5-5 (182) junior David Sceniak handling kickoffs and 5-10 (234) sophomore Reid Kammerdiener PATs. Regular punter 6-1 (173) senior Thomas Martin missed the opener due to a wrist injury and is questionable for this week so 6-3 (179) sophomore Sam Brown is expected to handle those duties again. He averaged 28 yards on two punts last week.
“David has some talent for kicking off, Reid did well on the short kicks and Sam did a great job of jumping in,” Miller said.
Memorial (0-1) at Concord (1-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Series record: Concord 14-5
Last season: Concord 47-0
This one has become the traditional NLC opener.
“We would like to move the game, but it is what it is,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said. “Our kids are taking the approach that this is just another Friday night.”
The Concord Minutemen have won three straight NLC titles. No team had captured three in a row since NorthWood’s impressive streak of six consecutive (two shared and four outright) from 1991-96.
“We know we have a target on our back,” the coach said. “But our kids understand what it has taken to get us to this place.”
Concord posted a 42-6 win over South Bend Washington in Week 1. The offense gained 314 total yards (171 rushing and 43 passing) while the “Strike Force” defense yielded 170 (minus 27 on the ground and 197 in the air).
“Our kids made some mistakes,” Dawson said. “We had some blown coverages on both sides of the ball. Our athletes need to communicate better on the field.
“The defense set up a lot of our scores. We only had one drive where we were backed up in our own territory. The rest of the time we took possession of the ball around midfield or in the Washington end of the field.
“Our first TD was on special teams (46-yard punt return by 5-9, 154, junior Jarrell Pointdexter) but that is the part of the game I would like to see have the biggest improvement from Week 1 to 2.”
The Memorial Crimson Chargers dropped a 13-0 decision to crosstown rival Elkhart Central last Friday.
“Memorial had some opportunities,” Dawson said. “They had a couple of turnovers they couldn’t turn into points and had trouble sustaining drives on offense.”
Two Concord starters — 6-2 (185) senior wideout Adam Glanders and 5-10 (170) senior running back Jackson Marlow are likely out of action for this week. Glanders caught three passes for 66 yards and Marlow carried the ball nine times for 54 yards against Washington.
“Neither injuries are serious, but in looking at the big picture it’s better to hold them out this week than play them and risk losing them possibly for the season.”
The injuries mean 5-11 (165) junior Kyle Moreno will see more time at wide receiver and 6-1 (210) senior Larry Smith at running back.
SB Riley (0-1) at Northridge (1-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Series record: Northridge 4-0
Last meeting: Northridge 42-21 in 2010
The Tom Wogomon era began in Middlebury with a 14-7 win last Friday over South Bend Adams at School Field. The South Bend Riley Wildcats lost 34-27 in Week 1 at Whiteland.
The Raiders have never opened the season with back-to-back games against South Bend schools.
Northridge rushed for 143 yards and passed for 75 in the Adams contest. Both TDs were scored by 6-0 (171) senior quarterback Tanner Love on runs of 12 and 1 yards. Love connected on 5 of 13 passes for 75 yards.
Leading rushers for Northridge were 5-11 (173) junior Travis Schlabach with 89 yards on 21 attempts and 5-8 (185) classmate Cam Ridenour 33 on six. The top receiver was 6-0 (140) junior Payton Carson with one catch for 35 yards.
Northridge’s defense limited Adams to 78 yards on the ground and 68 via the pass.
Culver Military (1-0) at NorthWood (1-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Series record: NorthWood 16-4
Last season: Culver Military 27-20
While NorthWood started the season with a 21-20 win over Jimtown, the Culver Military Academy Eagles recorded a 36-29 victory over Tippecanoe Valley.
“I liked the passion our kids played with last week,” NorthWood coach Scott Hoover said. “We executed fairly well and really only had a couple of bad plays. We lost a fumble and gave up a couple of long runs, but overall I was fairly pleased.
“Culver Military has some very athletic kids and they like to get them into positions where they can challenge you 1-on-1. On defense, they blitz a lot out of a 3-4. That’s one good thing about facing Jimtown last week. The Jimmies blitz a lot so we are fairly comfortable with our kids picking up the blitzes. Also (6-2, 205, senior quarterback) Will Kirkwood made some good reads about when to get rid on the ball.”
Kirkwood completed 14 of 19 passes for 165 yards against the Jimmies. He tossed a 20-yard scoring pass to 5-8 (170) sophomore Tanner Cleveland.
Kirkwood was the top rusher with 61 yards on 18 carries while Cleveland chipped in with 30 on 10.
The Panthers had 46 yards of penalties in Week 1.
“Besides taking away big plays on defense and holding on to the ball on offense we need to cut down on the dead-ball penalties,” the coach added.
Wawasee (1-0) at SB St. Joseph (1-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Series record: SB St. Joseph 2-0
Last season: SB St. Joseph 35-7
Josh Ekovich started his coaching career off with a win last week as the Wawasee Warriors defeated Whitko 42-20.
Six-one (155) junior quarterback Gage Reinhard connected on 9 of 14 passes for 209 yards in the opener. His two favorite targets were 6-3 (175) junior Clayton Cook three receptions for 90 yards and 5-10 (150) sophomore Sam Clark four for 89. Cook scored on a 34-yard pass from Reinhard and on a 95-yard kick return and Clark on a 56-yard pass from Reinhard.
The Warriors were full of big plays as 5-9 (160) senior Brandin McCulloch scored on a 66-yard run.
St. Joseph defeated Chesterton 22-17 last Friday.
The Indians finished 7-5 last seasons after making back-to-back appearances in the Class 3A state championship in 2011 and 2012.