COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Fairfield Green Knights football preview

Countdown to kickoff

This is the fifth installment of our daily, preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Sept. 4. Today, we're spotlighting the Fairfield Green Knights.

Who: Fairfield Green Knights.

2014 record: 5-5 overall, 3-4 Division III.

Coach: Darwin Seiler, fourth season.

Key returners: Tom Shultz, senior, offensive/defensive tackle; Matt Petrie, senior, running back/cornerback; Aaron Moore, senior, wide receiver/free safety.

Notable losses: Mason Flickinger, quarterback; Antijuan Washington, tight end; Alex Irwin, wide receiver.

2014 All-Stars: Mason Flickinger, quarterback/safety; Antijuan Washington, tight end; Alex Irwin, wide receiver; Ryan Hovis, offensive guard; Tom Shultz, defensive tackle; Brandon Hummell, defensive end; Aaron Moore, cornerback; Brandon Selman, inside linebacker; Mike Quealy, safety.

2015 schedule: Sept. 4, vs. Newport (7 p.m.); Sept. 11, vs. James Buchanan (7 p.m.); TBA, vs. Silver Oak Academy (Maryland) (TBA); Sept. 25, at Biglerville (7 p.m.); Oct. 2, vs. Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Oct. 9, at Hanover (7 p.m.); Oct. 17, at York Tech (10 a.m.); Oct. 23, vs. Delone Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 30, at York Catholic (7 p.m.); Nov. 6, vs. Littlestown (7 p.m.).

Outlook: Fairfield is in the midst of some of its best football in program history. After posting a six-win season in 2013 and making the playoffs, the Green Knights were a win away from returning in 2014. Instead, they came up just short because of a 25-20 defeat in Week 10 to Littlestown.

If Fairfield wants to continue to build the program in a positive direction, it's going to need several players to step up and fill major holes. The Green Knights lost their leading passer and rusher in quarterback Mason Flickinger, as well as their top-two receivers in Antijuan Washington and Alex Irwin from 2014. On top of that, five other all-stars from the 2014 season aren't returning. Replacing Flickinger under center will be sophomore Darian Mort, who contributed in all facets of the game last year, including scoring two touchdowns.

If there is a positive going into 2015 for Fairfield, it's that defense wins championships and it will have one of the best ones returning from last season. In 2014, the Green Knights had the fifth-best passing defense in the York-Adams League and finished the year with a plus-11 turnover differential. Certainly, that's something to build on.

Coach speak: "We're gonna have to scale back a bit early on and allow him to grow a little bit in that role. Physically, I think he's as gifted as anybody we've had." — Fairfield head coach Darwin Seiler on sophomore Darian Mort who is taking over at quarterback.