Gilbert, Defense Lead Mules To 2-0 Start

Fairfield senior wingback Wyatt Gilbert busted loose for 170 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while coordinator Donnie Lyons’ defense put up their second shutout in as many weeks this season, leading Justin Townsend’s Mules to a 40-0 road win at Johnston City.

The Mules scored 20 points in the first quarter alone, and had a running clock for the entire fourth quarter as they won their 22nd straight BDC game. They continue their march toward the conference record of 26 straight, currently held by Johnston City.

Fairfield dominated every facet of the game, running for 356 yards and adding 58 through the air for 414 total yards. The uber-elusive Gilbert had long runs of 44 and 57 yards, scoring on both,

Wyatt Gilbert ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns against Johnston City.

The defense held Johnston City to 94 total yards, 55 in the air as they held one of the best athletes in the conference, sophomore Austin Brown, in check. He was just 7-of-21 throwing the ball, including two interceptions. Colin Massie and Cade Carter each had a pick.

Ryan Conrad and Blake Pruitt get pressure on JC quarterback Austin Brown.

Fairfield took the opening kickoff and quickly marched 50 yards in six plays, needing less than three minutes before Gilbert scored his first touchdown from nine yards out.

The Mules punted on their second possession after a run for no gain and two incomplete passes, but the pass defense forced Johnston City to punt on each of their first two possessions.

That gave the Mules the ball once again at midfield and they drove 49 yards in eight plays for their second score. They converted two third-downs on the drive, the second of which was a 23-yard scoring run from Landon Zurliene who pulled it down on a pass play and got the left edge against the Indians for a 14-0 lead.

Landon Zurliene runs in a 23-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

The Indians ran less than a minute off the clock on their next drive, with four straight incompletions. Fairfield needed even less time, as Gilbert took the first handoff of the next series, made two defenders miss in the open field and he scored from 44 yards out for a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.

Fairfield went to the air for a score in the second quarter, with Zurliene hitting senior Kane Hixenbaugh on a 22-yard touchdown at 5:27. It was their second hookup on the drive, after an eight-yard completion two plays earlier.

Kane Hixenbaugh had three catches and a touchdown.

The Indians had a golden scoring opportunity slip through their fingers late in the second quarter, when Brown hit Caide Sloan on a 33-yard pass completion to the one-yard line. In fact, both teams thought it was a touchdown. The Indians took a delay of game penalty in the confusion, backing them up the six-yard-line. Two plays later, Carter picked off Brown in the end zone to preserve a 28-0 lead heading into halftime.

Blake Pruitt celebrates after successfully sniffing out a screen pass.

Fairfield pushed the lead to 34-0 when Gilbert scored midway through the third quarter, capping off a six-play, 48-yard drive set up three-and-out and a short punt from the Indians.

Fairfield’s second interception came in the third quarter when Massie picked off Brown on a 40-plus-yard bomb.

The Mules returned the favor, however, when Dalton Frick picked off Zurliene three minutes later, but they again were not able to come away with a first down, turning it over on Fairfield’s 37 on downs.

Facing a fourth-and-one, Townsend turned to Gilbert to get the first down, but then he squirted loose and raced 52 yards for his fourth touchdown with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.

AJ Gonzalez clears a path for Wyatt Gilbert.

The Fairfield subs put together an 11-play drive in the fourth, but fumbled it at the Johnston City 24 after a busted play had backup quarter Dylan Best trying to handoff to a non-existent running back.

Kaleb Wells added 55 yards rushing and Carter had 40, with each averaging more than five yards a carry. Zurliene finished 4-of-12 throwing the ball, with one touchdown and one interception.

Konnor Dagg lays the smack down.

Fairfield (2-0) will hit the road once again Friday, making their longest trek of the year as they travel to Chester. The Yellow Jackets are 1-1, coming off a 38-14 loss to Eldorado Friday.

In other BDC action, Edwards County beat Hamilton County, 14-12; Sesser-Valier beat Carmi, 28-14; and CZR beat Vienna, 63-8.

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