Fountain Hills Running Game Will Change Longhorn Defense

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Although Fountain Hills quarterback Jason Fairfield (6 feet, 3 inches, 190 pounds) will undoubtedly be airing out the ball this evening against Payson, fans shouldn't expect an "Air Coryell"-type passing offense.

It's not that Fairfield, son of Fountain Hills head coach Jim Fairfield, doesn't have a strong arm -- rather it's the coach has traditionally relied on a strong running game.

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The Payson Longhorns will host Fountain Hills in the season opener tonight with a kickoff time scheduled for 7 p.m. For more information about the Longhorns, see today's Fall Sports Guide in the Roundup print edition.

"He runs powers, traps, trap sweeps and the boot very well, sprinkled in with a little misdirection plays," Longhorn coach Josh Anderson said.

However, with the highly touted Jason Fairfield pulling the trigger on the offense, Jim Fairfield might decided to rely on the aerial game more than he has in past seasons.

"Jim likes to throw the ball when he knows he can trust his QB," Anderson said. "He didn't throw a lot last year, but I believe we are going to see a lot more passing from his offense this year."

Defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes also expects the Falcons to come out throwing.

"We scrimmaged them in passing league and he (Jason Fairfield) is pretty good," Hayes said. "We have to be prepared for him."

PHS scouting reports also show that Jason Fairfield is an intelligent signal caller and is accurate when he has time in the pocket.

"So, when we figure out passing situation tendencies, we're going to need to put some pressure on him," Anderson said. "He does like to throw to the tight end, so our defensive ends will need to not let them (tight ends) release free."

The strategy PHS will employ to slow the tight ends will be to try to knock them down at the line of scrimmage in an effort to disrupt routes and pass timing.

The tight end Jason Fairfield might be looking for is Jim Hubick, a 6-foot, 205-pound senior. Hubick is projected to an all-region performer at season's end.

Last season, Fountain Hills finished 8-4 overall, but many in the Valley are labeling the 2007 Falcon edition much improved over last year.

Anderson is also impressed with the Falcons.

"Fountain Hills is always a solid, well-coached football program and has consistently made it to the playoffs," Anderson said.

"Fountain Hills is one of the few teams outside of the East region that we will always be concerned about when we face them."

Kick off is 7 p.m. on Longhorn field.

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