After an abrupt switch in the Fairfield Eagles’ football schedule, the squad (0-1) will take to the field for the field for the second time this season at Eagle Stadium Friday night. The team will welcome the Athens Hornets (2-0), who the Eagles defeated 45-25 on friendly turf last September. Action begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Hornets were a 6-5 (2-3 district) unit in 2019, dropping their lone playoff came to Carthage, 49-14. In their last matchup against Athens, held Sept. 13, 2019, the Eagles ran and kept running until the victory was achieved. Fairfield went for 450 yards on the ground that night, with Justin Abram (23 carries, 275 yards, four touchdowns) and JarMychael Hudson (12 carries, 127 yards, one score) doing the heavy lifting.
With Abram and Hudson gone, the backfield attention goes to a rotation featuring Tyler Smith and Eli Martin. As a freshman against Athens, Martin ran for 33 yards on seven carries.
Athens’ offensive game has received an overhaul for 2020 due to the emergence of sophomore quarterback Tivon Arroyo, who is a key dual-threat playmaker for the Hornets.
In the team’s opener against Brownsboro, a 42-28 victory, Arroyo showed what he could do on his feet, rushing for 160 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries. Last week against Life Waxahachie, Arroyo stayed poised in the pocket, completing 10 of 15 passes for 148 yards, while adding 55 yards on the ground.
The sophomore signal-caller has stayed efficient through two weeks, completing 17 of 27 passes for 204 yards, and rushing for 215 yards on 21 carries. Arroyo has been responsible for six Hornets touchdowns thus far. His top target has been senior Jarred Duff, who caught six balls for 108 yards and a score last Friday.
The team also returns senior running back Nathan Sims, who ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles last season. After a down game in the opener, Sims exploded for 163 yards and two touchdowns against Life Waxahachie on just 11 carries.
The combination of Arroyo and Sims will be key to stop for an Eagles squad that allowed 229 yards on the ground to Rusk in the team’s opener.