Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinal football game between Fairfield and Whitehall is a true David vs. Goliath matchup of football programs.
Fairfield has been one of the most successful teams in Class B over the past 15 years, having played in eight state championship games and winning three. Whitehall, on the other hand, has played in one only State B title game – a 28-2 loss to Fairfield in 1982.
Whitehall will be the underdog on Saturday afternoon, but the Trojans, who are the third seed out of the Southern B, have already pulled off one road upset this postseason with their 6-2 win over Shepherd in the opening round.
“We talk about enjoying the experience and the opportunity. That’s how we’re going to go into this one, as well," Whitehall head coach Dan Lacey said. "We’ll enjoy (the win over Shepherd) and we’ll get back at it. We’re just going to take it one day at a time. That’s our mindset, is we’re just going to take it one day at a time. We want to have great practices Monday through Friday and we’re going to go out and compete on Saturday.”
The Trojans were seemingly comfortable on the road last week, which bodes well for their chances down the road in the playoffs. Whitehall’s only chance of a home playoff game is a state title matchup against conference foe Columbus, the Southern B's No. 4 seed, which defeated Red Lodge in the opening round.
“We enjoy the road trips because we’re together," Lacey said. "That’s something that we’ve talked about all the time. We’ve got to stay the course. You get to be around the guys. I like road games because it’s more camaraderie with the team and you kind of know where they’re at and what they’re doing before the game. That’s something with high school kids that you like to have, an understanding of what they’re doing, make sure they get a good meal, proper rest and are in bed early and stuff. They get on me because I always take their cell phones at night. We’re going out to compete.”
If the Trojans are going to pull out another upset, they’ll need sophomore quarterback Miles Hoerauf at his best. Hoerauf threw three interceptions against Shepherd but shook those off to throw the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Hoerauf has that gunslinger mentality and the trust of his teammates and staff to make the big plays when they’re needed.
“Every chance is an opportunity to be successful. You can’t look back. You’ve always got to move forward," Lacey said. "(Hoerauf) does a great job of that. I think that it helps that he has to play defense right afterwards, making plays all over the field for us on the defensive side, too. He’s got that next-play mindset and he’s got a killer instinct for that and made some huge third-down throws to ice the game (against Shepherd) late.”
Lacey and Hoerauf will lead the Trojans into battle at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with a berth in the semifinals on the line.