By Mark Pinto
FAIRFIELD, Ohio – Fairfield had not opened the season with three consecutive wins in 20 years.
But the Indians defeated Walnut Hills, 45-0 in a U.S. Marines Backyard Battle at Fairfield Stadium on Friday, improving to 3-0 for the first time since 1993.
“This means everything for our kids to start 3-0,” Fairfield head coach Jason Krause said. “We made adjustments at halftime, and us running the ball in the second half was the difference of the game.”
Fairfield finished the game with 217 rushing yards, 176 of which came in the second half. The rushing attack was led by senior quarterback Ryan Nuss, who had 10 carries for 84 yards, including two touchdowns.
Nuss, the team’s kicker and punter, also kicked a 48-yard field goal in the first half.
The Indians led, 10-0 at halftime, but Fairfield senior wide receiver Tyron Harper took the opening kickoff of the second half 92 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Harper also contributed on the offensive side of the ball, catching five passes for 65 yards.
“Tyron (Harper) has speed and quickness where he can go the distance every time he touches the ball,” Krause said.
Krause continued to rotate his quarterbacks most series, starting Nuss but using his son, sophomore Hunter Krause, more in the second half. Hunter Krause completed 10-of-17 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown.
“The offensive line really gave me some time to create plays,” Hunter Krause said. “Starting the season 3-0 feels great and we will cherish it tonight.”
The Fairfield defense recorded its first shutout since blanking Lakota East in October 2008. The Indians have yet to allow a point in the second half, and enter their game vs. Princeton on Sept. 20 riding a six-quarter shutout streak.
Despite the positives, Fairfield enters Greater Miami Conference play having dropped 26 straight league games over the past three-plus years.
“Our sight is on the Greater Miami Conference,” said Krause. “We know we have our work cut out for us, and we’re ready to have a great week of work from our guys.”
As for Walnut Hills (1-2), the team struggled with offense consistency. Junior quarterback Kevin Blount finished the game with 179 yards passing and led the Eagles with 62 yards on the ground.
Turnovers were critical as Walnut Hills was intercepted once and lost a key fumble on Fairfield’s 8 yard line in the second quarter already trailing by seven.
Walnut Hills will travel to Anderson to open Eastern Cincinnati Conference play on Sept. 20.