Sports

Trojans invade Washington Friday

GTNS photo by Doug Brenneman

Washington’s Trashaun Willis (7) returns a kickoff against West Liberty Sept. 14 at Case Field during a 34-27 overtime win. Willis returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown Friday against Fort Madison. The Demons host Fairfield Friday.
GTNS photo by Doug Brenneman Washington’s Trashaun Willis (7) returns a kickoff against West Liberty Sept. 14 at Case Field during a 34-27 overtime win. Willis returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown Friday against Fort Madison. The Demons host Fairfield Friday.

Both teams have 4-3 overall records. Both teams are 2-1 in Class 3A District 6. Both teams defeated Ft. Madison by a similar margin. Both teams held Keokuk to six points.

Fairfield comes to Washington Friday and it should be a battle to the end. The Trojans downed Ft. Madison by 28 points, while Washington beat the Bloodhounds by 25. Fairfield defeated Keokuk last week 19-6. The Demons won 28-6.

In the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s new Ratings Percentage Index, Fairfield’s rank is 22 and the Demons are at 24 among the 54 Class 3A schools.

Both quaterbacks have a roughly 137 passer rating with 15 yards per completion.

Fairfield, which operates mostly out of the ‘I’ formation on offense, has run the ball 57 more times total then the Demons. Washington has thrown 44 more passes than the Trojans.

“They have a physical, run-oriented attack,” Washington coach James Harris said. “No. 44 (Tristan Waugh) is a good running back. He is big at 6-foot, 240 pounds and athletic.”

Waugh is fifth in Class 3A and leads the district with 900 yards rushing. Solon’s Adam Bock is second with 582. Fairfield’s Leone Gichure is third with 462. Washington’s Luke Turner is fifth with 399.

“Waugh also plays D-line and jumps off the film with his get-off relentless effort,” Harris said. “Fairfield’s offensive and defensive lines are both really physical and will be looking to get after it. Their No. 75 (junior tackle Nic Schillerstrom, 6-2, 230) is one of the best offensive lineman we have seen this year. No. 33 (junior Landon Kooiker, 6-2, 160) is their leading receiver and their quarterback (No. 10, senior Carson Crile, 6-4, 200) is big and athletic as well.”

The Demons must play a clean game from a penalty standpoint and be on the plus side of the turnover ratio if they want to come out ahead on the scoreboard.

“Our biggest challenge will be matching their physicality up front,” Harris said.

Senior Cole Engle (No. 4, 6-2, 170) leads the Trojans with 41.5 tackles, but Waugh is second with 36.5 including 11 solo tackles for loss, three assisted TFL and seven solo sacks.

“Washington is a tough and aggressive team,” Fairfield coach Matt Jones said. “They have some quick, tough, and athletic student/athletes on their team. They can run it and throw it, and their running back (Tristin Westphal-Edwards) and quarterback are both tough in the run game.”

Fairfield runs a 3-4 defense with both odd and even fronts.

“We will need to be gap sound, get off the block, sprint to the football, and tackle well,” Jones said of what his team has to do to win. “We will need to cover well as well. It will also help us to defend the least amount of snaps possible, so we will need to control the line of scrimmage on offense and possess the ball.”

Washington likes to change fronts on defense and move people around.

“We will need to communicate well and get off on the count to combat that,” Jones said. “We need to limit mistakes - turnovers and penalties - and do a good job mixing it up on offense and we need to pursue and tackle well on defense.”

Harris said his team has enjoyed last week’s win. Players could be seen frolicking in the largest mud puddle on the field after the Ft. Madison win.

“Winning is great for team bonding,” Harris said. “I think our team is coming together more every week.”