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Gridiron Preview – The Dogs Are Due

September 21, 2012. That was the last time that the Carmi-White County Bulldogs defeated the Fairfield Mules on the football field. Chase Sailer was a junior quarterback. Dylan Rankin, Lukas Matsel and Ryan Farr were seniors in the backfield. Colton Yates was in 7th grade. Ethan Mahon was in 5th grade. Isaac King was in 2nd grade. You get the idea, it’s been a while, but the Dogs are due for a win. Despite the drought, CWC leads the all-time series against the Mules, 58-50-6. A rivalry that dates back to 1899 is still as intense as it gets, and for the first time in a while, the Bulldogs are heavy favorites to win. 

This Fairfield team is different from what the Bulldogs have seen in the past decade. Head Coach Justin Townsend has made Fairfield a powerhouse since he was hired in 2001 with the “foot-to-foot” offensive set which featured size up front and speed in the backfield. The 2022 Fairfield Mules offense likes to spread things out. Led by senior quarterback, Eric Rodgers, this is a Mules team that can beat you with the run and the pass. Rodgers has thrown for 273 yards and 4 touchdowns with only one interception in 2022. Rodgers has also done damage with his legs, rushing for 220 yards and 4 scores on 50 carries. Fairfield took a hit in the running game in just the first game of the season. Junior running back, Jay Snyder, suffered a season ending knee injury after just 6 carries against Eldorado. But Jay’s brother, Latrael Snyder has stepped up in his absence rushing for 155 yards. Luke Sork and Trey Mason (not the CWC Golf Coach) have also ran the ball well for the black and red. Sork has rushed for 191 yards on 37 carries with one score, and Mason has found the endzone twice on 24 carries with 118 yards. When the Mules do throw it, Reegan Taylor has been Rodgers number one target. He’s caught 10 passes for 101 yards. Outside of Taylor, no one has caught more than 3 passes.

So far this season, the Mules have defeated Eldorado (34-14) and Flora (24-14), but they have lost to Sesser-Valier (15-12) and Johnston City (36-6). 

The biggest thing to watch in this contest is the battle up front between the CWC offensive line and the Fairfield defensive line, and vice versa. Fairfield has struggled to score points, and you could say the exact opposite for the Bulldogs who have scored 44+ points in all four games in 2022. With that being said, Fairfield will have to make things difficult for King, Aud, and Dodgson to find holes. Fairfield has the athletes to make plays in the open field, but if Fairfield can contain the Bulldogs at the line of scrimmage, they’ll give themselves a shot. Fairfield’s best defense can also be their offense. If they can run the clock, and keep the ball away from Carmi, that will limit the amount of points the Bulldogs can score. 

“The biggest concern for us is that they’re good enough to keep the ball away from us,” said CWC head coach Kurt Simon. “We have to win the turnover battle and field position. They haven’t lost to us in 10 years, so I’m sure they’re not lacking any confidence as well.”

It will be Homecoming Night for Carmi-White County, they will have a special halftime show which will feature the crowning of this year’s Homecoming Queen as well as a performance from the CWC Marching Band. Kickoff is set for 7 PM at Harrington-Jeffries Sports Complex. The pre-game show on 97.3 FM WRUL and the WRUL Sports YouTube Channel.

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