Fairfield athletic director says Green Knights will field varsity football team in 2018

  • Fairfield AD Crystal Heller said the school expects to field a varsity football team in 2018.
  • Fairfield's ability to field a varsity football team was cast in doubt last week.
  • A week ago, Fairfield had 25 players on the varsity football roster, with 14 of those freshmen.

It looks like the York-Adams League will have a full complement of 23 varsity football teams this season.

Fairfield players celebrate a touchdown last season during a 30-22 victory over York Tech. For a while, it didn't look like Fairfield would be doing any celebrating this season. The Green Knights' varsity season was very much in doubt because of a small roster size. Fairfield athletic director Crystal Heller, however, announced Monday that the Knights plan to field a varsity football team this season. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

That determination was made Monday morning when Fairfield High School athletic director Crystal Heller sent out an email confirming that the Green Knights would field a varsity team in 2018. 

The Knights' varsity status was cast in doubt last week when Heller said only 25 players were committed to the team for this fall, including 14 freshmen. At the time, she said such a small roster, with more than 50 percent of the players being just freshmen, would constitute a injury liability issue.

A meeting was held last week, headed by new Fairfield head coach Jason Thurston, in an attempt to recruit more upperclassmen.

Monday, Heller sent out the following email:

"The decision has been made. Fairfield will support a varsity football team. The meeting brought out more upperclassman and some of the freshman have decided not to play.

"We will still have lower numbers, but will do everything we can to play out the season.  We will not have (a) JV (team) this year.

"Sorry for the scare, but this was a last-minute change in the talent/size and number of players.

"It may be a tough season, but we are committed to making the best (of it), and with a whole new coaching staff we are hopeful that the future will be bright.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding."

The Fairfield defense brings down York Tech's Julio Pascual last season. The Green Knights finished the 2017 season at 4-7. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

Thurston, a former head coach at New Oxford High School, was unanimously approved as the Knights' head coach just last Monday, July 23. He compiled a 10-21 record in three years with the Colonials. He was the only applicant for the Knights' head-coaching position.

He replaces Darwin Seiler as Fairfield's head coach. Seiler resigned in the spring.

Fairfield fielded some competitive teams in six seasons under Seiler. Last year, the Knights finished 4-7 and fell in the District 3 Class 1-A championship game. They were 5-5 in 2014 and 6-5 in 2013. Since 2013, Fairfield has an overall record of 20-32. Seiler’s first team in 2012 finished 1-9, but ended a 37-game losing streak. Fairfield started varsity football in 2004.

By enrollment, the Class 1-A Knights are the smallest football school in the York-Adams League. 

The news is almost certainly welcome news for the other schools in York-Adams League Division III: York Catholic, York Tech, Hanover, Delone Catholic, Bermudian Springs, Littlestown and Biglerville.

If Fairfield didn't field a varsity team this fall, the other D-III schools would've faced the challenging task of trying to fill last-minute open dates on their schedules. Now, apparently, the other D-III programs won't have to worry about that difficult scenario.

Fairfield's decision comes less than a month before the regular-season openers on Friday, Aug. 24. The first official day of practice is Monday, Aug. 13, but the heat acclimation process starts the previous week.

Attempts to reach Heller for additional comment were not immediately successful.

Reach Steve Heiser at