2018 Fairview Aggie football team, coaches and cheerleaders (Sullivan Photography)
FAIRVIEW – After coming up short of where they wanted to be in 2017, the Fairview Aggies have been waiting patiently to get back on the field and right the ship. There will be a lot of young players on the field for the Aggies this fall, and Head Coach George Redding made developing those players the focus of the offseason. Redding is entering his 12th season as head coach at Fairview and he is pleased with how quickly the younger guys have come along.
“Summer and fall have been really good. Our big focus in the spring was getting experience, and we’re going to have to get experience Monday through Thursday because it’s too late if we’re waiting on Friday nights to get experience,” Redding said. “We’re a young team and our big focus has been getting our young guys ready so that they can help us immediately. So, every day we’ve been trying to get as much of that needed, game-like experience as fast as possible, and I believe we’ve been able to do that throughout the summer, so we’re getting better.”
Fairview lost 10 seniors from last year’s team and that has created a lot of opportunities for a lot of younger players. Redding is looking for multiple bodies at each position to be ready to play on Friday nights.
“We’ve got about four guys back on offense and five guys back on defense, so you can tell where we’re going to have to fill some spots just from sheer numbers. We just have to work on creating some depth,” Redding said. “Not only do we have to find that guy that can be step in and be that number one, but we’ve got to find depth because nowadays everybody has twos and threes, so that’s the big focus for us is just building that depth along the way.”
The Aggies do have a handful of players returning to the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Those returning veterans will have to take on leadership roles this fall and give the younger players something to lean on. Fairview will have to replace a lot of production at the receiver position, but Redding has seen some guys step up that he’s excited to get the ball to.
“We’re expecting big things out of some guys like Jared Bachelor and Alex Medina; both of those guys will be coming back up front for us on offense. Dayne Black is coming back at the quarterback position, Tyvn Ellis ended the season as a starter at the running back position, so we’re looking for some big things out of him coming back,” Redding said. “We’ve got some guys that will be on the scene this year that were kind of role players at times offensively for us last season. We’re looking for those guys to come in and make an impact early like Donte Dumas, Eli Speegle and Mason Black. Some new guys coming out like Will Bailey and Devan Jennings could help us, as well, and a lot of those same faces you’re going to see on the other side of the ball too. So again, just creating depth is our focus. We’ve really had to fill some spots at our linebacker positions, and we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re making strides.”
Black said the thing the team has worked on the most this offseason is bringing the younger guys up to speed. Black will be throwing the ball to some new faces this year, and he knows that he needs to help bring them along.
“We’ve just been working with a bunch of young guys that we have coming in this year to help us out and trying to get them up to speed on the plays offensively and defensively,” Black said. “They’re going to have to help us this season.”
Black and his team have a simple goal this season: put 2017 behind them and win ball games.
“Our goal is definitely to get back on the winning side of things,” Black said. “We want to go out and try and make the playoffs again this year for sure.”
Last season was a disappointing one for the Aggies, but Redding is confident that as long as the program handles things the right way and their heads are in the right place, things will take care of themselves on the football field.
“Our goals are not going to change. Our biggest thing is we’re going to work extremely hard, and our program is built off of character and building men. We feel like if we’re doing that day in and day out we’re going to win the big game, and the big game is when all this football stuff is over with,” Redding said. “Make no mistake about it, the work ethic, the technique and the time is going to be put in every day to win ball games on Friday nights, as well. We don’t like coming off of a 2-7 year, but that’s just part of it. Last year we worked hard, coached hard and played hard just like in years past and the years that are going to come, but the focus of our program is not going to change. It’s going to be about character and about building men.”
2018 Fairview football schedule
Aug. 23 at West Point
Aug. 31 v. Hanceville
Sept. 7 v. D.A.R.
Sept. 14 at St. John Paul II
Sept. 21 v. Priceville
Oct. 5 at North Jackson
Oct. 12 at West Morgan
Oct.19 v. Randolph
Oct. 26 at Danville
Nov. 2 v. Holly Pond
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