FAIRFIELD — You could forgive Max Weaton for being a little bit winded on Friday night.
Not only did Weaton play in his first football game of his sophomore season, he made his first trip up the steps at Trojan Stadium to a victory bell that hasn’t been rung in nearly two years.
Weaton’s nine-yard touchdown catch late in the first half proved to be the deciding score for the Fairfield football team in a thrilling 15-7 win over Knoxville. The win snaps an 11-game losing streak for the Trojans that including a 16-9 loss to the Panthers to kick off an 0-9 season in 2019.
Now, Fairfield is undefeated in 2020. The Trojans are 1-0 with a date against West Burlington (1-8 last season) currently scheduled for next Friday.
“After going 0-9 last year, we were all down in the dumps. We didn’t know what to do right,” Weaton said. “This is all goes to our great senior class. We can’t do any of this without them. We’re moving people all around the line with those guys leading the way up front. Without the seniors, we’re nothing.”
Fairfield drove right down the field on the first drive of the season. Weaton’s 24-yard catch on third down kept the drive alive before Landen Schafer followed his own 46-yard run down the field with a nine-yard dash to the corner of the endzone, giving Fairfield a sudden 7-0 lead.
Knoxville tied the score in the second quarter on a fourth-down one-yard run for a touchdown by Keegan Cox, but could not find the go-ahead score thanks to four stops on fourth down by the Trojan defense and three Panther turnovers deep in Fairfield territory. After a short punt late in the second quarter set up Fairfield at Knoxville’s 25-yard-line, the Trojans went ahead for good on Weaton’s nine-yard touchdown catch and a two-point run by sophomore quarterback Isaac Harris, who earned his first varsity win at Fairfield signal caller.
Knoxville was stopped inside the Trojan 25 when Panther freshman quarterback Noah Keefer fumbled while dropping back to pass on fourth down. Tate Richardson picked off a pass by Keefer with under four minutes left at the Trojan 38 to stop another Panther drive before Knoxville was stopped on the final play of the game when Keegan Cox fumbled the ball through the end zone at the Fairfield 2-yard-line on the final play, which would have been negated by a motion penalty on the snap.