Lakota West (4-0 overall, 1-0 in GMC), which is ranked No. 5 in The Cincinnati Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll, will visit Fairfield (2-2 overall, 0-1 in GMC) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Firebirds are coming off a convincing 30-13 win against rival Mason, while Fairfield lost last week to Middletown by the score of 41-26.
Lakota West: The Firebirds are off to their best start since 2006. If they can defeat Fairfield this Friday, the Firebirds will be 5-0 for the first time since 2004. Due to that start, Lakota West opened this Tuesday No. 3 in Region 4 of the OHSAA computer rankings (top eight teams qualify for postseason). In the win against Mason, Lakota West was leading 30-0 in the fourth quarter. So far this year, Lakota West has outscored its opponents 145-54. Helping the offense has been the play of juniors Mikel Horton, Malik Grove and Tyler Jones. Horton has 541 yards and seven touchdowns on 106 carries, while Jones has 10 receptions for 119 yards. Grove has completed 33-of-68 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns and has only one interception. Junior kicker Justin Martin has also been a bright spot – converting four of his five field goal attempts and making 13 of 15 extra points. Defensively, Lakota West has nine sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and five interceptions. Leading the secondary, senior Tyler Cross has three interceptions including two last week and one in Week 1 against La Salle that went for a 17-yard score. As a team, Lakota West is averaging around 341 yards of total offense and giving up approximately 256 yards on defense.
Fairfield: After starting the year 2-0, the Indians have lost back-to-back games. The latest loss, 41-26, to Middletown, Fairfield trailed 34-0 at halftime. The Indians were able to add six points in the third quarter and 20 in the fourth. Offensively, Fairfield likes to spread the ball around. Overall, a total of eight Indians have at least one carry. Senior running back Todd Hoard leads the team with 189 yards and three touchdowns on 43 carries. As a team, Fairfield has rushed for 637 yards and eight touchdowns on 151 carries. A total of six players have rushed for more than 60 yards. The team also uses two quarterbacks. Junior Ryan Nuss has completed 17-of-35 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, but he has thrown three interceptions. Senior Miles Harris has completed 19-of-33 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Fairfield has recorded 10 sacks, forced two fumbles, recovered four fumbles and has three interceptions. Statistically, senior Mike Williams leads the Indians’ defense with three sacks, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
Bottom line: After finishing 1-9 in 2011 and 2-8 in 2010, Fairfield appeared to be on the mend when it won its first two games this season. Similarly, Lakota West, which has had back-to-back 3-7 seasons, got off to a 2-0 start this year with a 46-34 win against La Salle and a 34-0 win at Glen Este in Week 2. Unlike Fairfield, Lakota West has appeared to get stronger – defeating Anderson 35-7 and rival Mason 30-13 in last two weeks. With the Firebirds playing so well, they have to be considered the favorite. However, they can’t overlook any team in the GMC.