COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: A preview look at the 2017 Fairfield Green Knights football team
- Fairfield is coming off a 4-6 season in 2016, including a 1-6 mark in York-Adams Division III.
- The Green Knights, however, lost their final six games in 2016.
- This season, the Knights return a number of skill position players, including QB Darian Mort.
This is the second installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.
Who: Fairfield Green Knights.
2016 record: 4-6 overall, 1-6 Division III.
Coach: Darwin Seiler, sixth season
Key returners (2016 Division III All-Stars in bold): Jake Nicholls, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Darian Mort, senior, quarterback/cornerback/kicker; Charlie Burnett, junior, running back/linebacker/return specialist; John Macharsky, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Malachi Fodor, junior, offensive/defensive lineman; Joe Quealy, junior, wide receiver/safety.
Notable losses (2016 Division III All-Stars in bold): Trystan Griffith, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Jake Irwin, senior, wide receiver/linebacker; Alex Godard, senior, linebacker; Jordan Angerette, senior, tight end/linebacker; Logan Councellar, senior, defensive end; .
2017 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 25 at Marian Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 2 vs. St. Joseph's Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 vs. James Buchanan (7 p.m.); Sept. 22 at Biglerville (7 p.m.); Sept. 29 vs. Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Oct. 6 at Hanover (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 at York Tech (10 a.m.); Oct. 20 vs. Delone Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 27 at York Catholic (7 p.m.); Nov. 3 vs. Littlestown (7 p.m.).
Outlook: It's not how many wins Fairfield had in 2016, but it's how many more wins the team needed to qualify for the District 3 Class 1-A title game. After beginning the season 4-0, the Knights were destined for a district championship game appearance, but they lost their final six contests and missed out on the postseason by one win.
A large part of that had to do with injuries mounting on a roster that was already very light on depth. As the only 1-A school in the Y-A League, numbers are scarce for Fairfield, and as 2016 wore on, the grueling season took its toll on the small roster. Lack of depth will again be an issue for the Knights in 2017, but Seiler is hoping his team can remain healthier.
Fairfield returns six all-stars from 2016, including two-year starting quarterback Darian Mort. This looks like a team that can at least crack the .500 mark, which could be enough to earn it one of the two postseason spots in 1-A for the District 3 tournament. Playing in Week 0 will give the Knights one less week to prepare to start the season, but a bye week after the third game will be a nice rest period before the start of Division III play.
Coach speak: "I think, particularly, both offensively and defensively in the traditional skilled positions, we're more athletic than we've ever been since I've been here." — Darwin Seiler.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com