PREP FOOTBALL: Aggies ready to kick things off, get back to postseason in 2019

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The Fairview Aggies will kick off the season at home in the 3rd annual Brandin' Iron Bowl against West Point Thursday night. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. — After turning around a slow start to the 2018 season and winning three of their last four, the Fairview Aggies built some momentum going into the offseason and now they’re ready to ride that wave into this fall. Head Coach George Redding is entering his 13th season with the Aggies and he’s really pleased with where his team is mentally as they prepare to host the West Point Warriors in week one.

“We’re looking forward to the season. As always, these guys are going to work hard this time of year, our energy is good, we’ve had tremendous effort and I just like where this group has been,” Redding said. “The chemistry is good, and I just like the progress that we’ve made from the spring through this summer. We have 10 seniors, seven juniors, 13 sophomores and 10 freshmen with seven guys returning on offense and six guys returning on defense. So, we’re excited about where we’re at and where we’re headed.”

The Aggies ended the season by winning three of their last four games and Redding thinks those games gave his team some momentum going into the offseason. With a more experienced group retuning up front, Fairview is looking forward to a solid year offensively.

“I think our biggest thing is just trying to build on that foundation that I felt like we ended the season last year with, especially up front on our offensive line,” Redding said. “They were young, new and inexperienced and I was very happy with the way we ended winning four of our last six games and I think that gave us some good momentum going into spring training. I think just having a little bit more experience up front is going to help us. We do return more than 50% of our skill guys as well so we feel like those guys can be playmakers for us if we give them that opportunity.”

One of the things that Redding talks about with his guys is making sure they don’t try to do too much. He wants his players to let the game come to them and avoid mistakes to give themselves the best chance to win each week.

“It’s important for us to kind of play within ourselves. We do a lot of focusing on ourselves, we don’t do a lot of talking about other people and if we can do the things we need to do to play at a high level, things are going to work out as good as they can for us,” Redding said. “I think if we can stay focused on that and just make some plays when we have the opportunities and not play behind the chains. The big focus for us is staying away from bad football and I know that sounds easy but it’s important. We want to try and eliminate the bad things that happen; the turnovers, playing behind the chains and things like that. If we can stay in the area of good football, then we’ve got a shot.”

One of the most noticeable losses for the Aggies this season will be quarterback Dayne Black. His departure in May left the quarterback position open but Redding has been very encouraged by what he’s seen from two candidates in the offseason.

“We lost a couple wide receivers from last year and lost a guy at the quarterback position and left tackle so those are some areas that we definitely have to fill. We’re asking some young guys to step up to get lots of reps and make plays and I know that Oakley (Mullican) has served a lot at the quarterback position and has probably had as good a summer as I’ve seen him have throwing the football as well as Parker Martin who will be a sophomore. Those guys have slung it around for us all summer and have done a really good job of that,” Redding said. “I’d say skill-wise that’s kind of where we’re at with the right side of our receiving corps and our quarterback position. I feel like we made huge progress up front and I’m very pleased with where we’re at. We’re not ready, we still have a long way to go but I like where we’re at right now.”

The culture and attitude of the program is very important to Redding and his staff, so they spend time coaching the players about more than their performance on the field. He believes that establishing a strong culture off the field and in the locker room will only help them when they get under the lights on Fridays.

“We harp on them all the time about vocal leadership. In this day and age, it’s always silent and if I text them what to do, they’ll probably get it done better than if I tell them but there’s time where we need to put everything else aside and speak up. I think we’re built on character, that’s why we do what we do and just learning how to become men,” Redding said. “If things need to get done, let’s get it done and if we need to make a stand, let’s make a stand. So, I just want to make sure we’re doing that each and every day I see the growth in these guys on a daily basis, so we’re excited about where we’re headed.”

Redding is anxious to see what this year’s Aggie team can do but for him, football is always about more than just the game on Friday night. He feels good about his program knowing that his kids are doing everything they can to compete while also learning lessons they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

“Everything we build on is just trying to play at a very high level and compete. Our first thing is about character and then we want to compete. Competing, to me, is about so much more than just showing up on a Friday night,” Redding said. “We’ve asked our young men to kind of suffer for the things you say you’re passionate about and trust me, we’re talking about more than football when we talk about that.”

Fairview (Class 4A, Region 7)

2018 record: 5-5 (3-4)

2018 opponents record: 47-60

Averaged 23.2 points per game, allowed 31.6 points per game. Missed postseason, ended regular season with 21-20 win over Holly Pond.

George Redding entering 13th season as head coach.

Departing seniors: Devan Jennings, Dayne Black, Dante Dumas, Alex Medina, Jared Bachelor, Elvis Pesina.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 22nd – vs. West Point

Aug. 30th – @ Hanceville

Sept. 6th – @ DAR *

Sept. 13th – vs. St. John Paul *

Sept. 20th – @ Priceville *

Oct. 4th – vs. North Jackson *

Oct. 11th – vs. West Morgan *

Oct. 18th – @ Randolph *

Oct. 25th – vs. Danville *

Nov. 1st – @ Holly Pond

Sullivan Photography

Fairview Varsity Cheerleaders

Katelynn Sims, Mattie Sims, Shelby Plunkett, Sadey Sizemore, Kaytlin Ford, Kaylee Chamness, Canaan Carroll, Hope Smith and Tatin Walker.

2019 Fairview Football Roster

No.      Name                          Grade

1          Elijah Guyton             10

2          Caden Jennings           9

3          Bryson Chamness       10

4          Dalton King                12

6          Mason Black               12

7          Joey Simmons             11

8          Caiden Hall                 9

9          Parker Martin              10

10        Miguel Gonzalez         9

11        JT White                     11

12        Oakley Mullican          12

17        Michael Chambers      10

20        Tyvn Ellis                    12

22        Dalton Payne              10

23        Devyn Ellis                 9

24        Tyler Simmons            10

28        Eli Speegle                  11

32        Mason Roberts            12

33        Jadon Smith                10

50        Charles Dukes             12

51        Brandon Threadgill     12

54        Justin Cloud                10

56        Will Bailey                  11

59        Gavin Young              12

62        Bradley Smith             9

63        Jacob McPherson        10

64        Landon Green             9

65        Levi Garner                 11

66        Wyatt Bachelor           9

70        Tyde Bagwell              10

73        Ethan Bice                   10

74        Adam Parker               11

75        Zane Roberts               9

77        Nathan Free                 9

78        Carson Jennings          9

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