COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: After tumultuous summer in 2018, Fairfield hopes to gain stability

  • Fairfield nearly didn't have a varsity football team in 2018.
  • The Green Knights struggled to find enough players to field a varsity team.
  • Fairfield finished 2018 at 2-8, earning a berth in the District 3 1-A final.
Fairfield head football coach Jason Thurston.

Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:

After a tumultuous summer in 2018, the Fairfield football program is seeking to improve upon a performance that saw the Green Knights earn a second-straight District 3 Class 1-A title game appearance.

Last summer, Fairfield wasn't even sure it would have enough players to compete at the varsity level. Eventually, however, the Knights were able to cobble together enough players to complete a varsity season under first-year head coach Jason Thurston.

Given the fact that Fairfield had a new coach, a new system and a thin roster, the team's final 2-8 overall record was certainly predictable.

That said, however, the Fairfield boys came oh-so-close in to two more victories in heartbreaking losses against Biglerville and Hanover.

“We lost two really close games in the final minutes last season,” Thurston said. “And we hope that, with a little more experience, (we can) pull those out this year.”

With quarterback Zach Koons and leading rusher Joey Quealy both gone because of graduation, this year’s team figures to feature new faces and hopefully better results. The Stadler brothers, Garrett and Peyton, return, along with senior Brent Hamilton. Most of the line returns as well, which should bode well for the player that wins the quarterback competition in camp.

“We hope to see big things from some key new guys like Jake and Will Myers, Cody Valentin and Holden Gibson,” Thurston said.

As for guys such as Hamilton and Garrett Stadler, who is also a senior, playing one final season for the small Adams County district is more than enough motivation to succeed this fall.

“This our last year and our last go around,” Hamilton said. “So we’re looking to make something happen.”

Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 Fairfield season.

Team: Fairfield Green Knights.

Coach: Jason Thurston, second season.

2018 record: 2-8 overall, 1-6 in York-Adams Division III.

Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): Ethan Favorite, linebacker; Joey Quealy, running back/linebacker, Nic Wheeler, wide receiver/defensive back; Zach Koons, quarterback; Zach Rutherford, offensive/defensive lineman.

Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): Garrett Stadler, offensive/defensive lineman; Peyton Stadler, running back/linebacker; Elijah Jarosz, wide receiver/defensive back; Brent Hamilton, tight end/defensive back; Jared Estes, offensive/defensive lineman; Nathan Roberts, offensive/defensive lineman; Koty Mongan, offensive/defensive lineman.

2019 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 23 at Penns Valley; Aug. 30 vs. Bishop Carroll; Sept. 6 vs. James Buchanan; Sept. 13 at Biglerville; Sept. 20 vs. Bermudian Springs; Sept. 27 at Hanover; Oct. 4 at York Catholic; Oct. 11 vs. Delone Catholic; Oct. 19 at York Tech (10 a.m.); Oct. 25 vs. Littlestown.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at