FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield Eagles are headed back to the Class B football state championship game once again, the program’s eighth championship appearance since 2005.
A big part of the Eagles’ success this season has been from senior Ryder Meyer. When Fairfield took the Class B title in 2015, Meyer was a freshman on the team, playing receiver and defensive back. But now he leads the Eagles into the last game of the year as the starting quarterback. It’s a whole different feeling, and Meyer is enjoying the ride.
“It’s kind of surreal, you know? One of those things you kind of think about growing up. Being a part of a state championship-running team, I can’t really put into words,” said Meyer. “It’s just everything that this team has worked for from the time we were in fourth grade to now. I’m super excited to be a part of this team and the 2015 team, as well.”
Fairfield’s opponent in the championship will be Missoula Loyola. The two teams have already met this year. Back in early September, the Eagles came away with a big 38-6 victory on the road.
Over the years Meyer has become friends with many of the players on that Rams team. With the title game being back in Missoula, the place where Meyer will be playing football next year for the Montana Grizzlies, it’s even more special.
“Playing a non-conference opponent four times in the last three years, you begin to develop relationships with them,” Meyer said. “They’re a great program, great school. So it’s a neat opportunity to be able to play them for the state title game and to be able to play them twice in one season.”
Plus, one of the Loyola players already reached out to Meyer to have some friendly competitive banter: Meyer’s future Griz teammate and current Rams workhorse Ryan Tirrell.
“We’ll ask each other what the game plan is and both of us will just say, ‘We’re probably going to punt on every down,’ or, ‘Hopefully we can get a first down against you guys,'” said Meyer. “It’s all clean fun talking to him. Ryan is a good buddy of mine, he’s a man among boys playing football. It’’ll be good to play against him again. It’s always good competing against him.”
That previous game was so early in the season that both teams have changed a lot since then. Meyer understands that this time might not be so easy. He and the Eagles are ready for the challenge.
“It’s always hard to beat a team twice, especially with a team like Loyola. They have great coaches and obviously great athletes. They’re a brand-new team at this point in the year. At the same time, I think we’re a new team, too. We have new wrinkles in since the last time we played,” said Meyer. “We just have to play and we have to execute. We have to do what we do better than they do and they’re thinking the same thing, so it’ll be a great game, four-quarter ballgame.”