Coach: Darwin Seiler (12-19 in three seasons) // YAIAA Division III // District 3 // Class A
Colin Snyder / For GameTimePA.com
The past two seasons have raised the bar for the Fairfield football program.
Two years ago, the Green Knights won six games and qualified for the District 3 Class A playoffs. Last season, Fairfield watched a fourth-quarter Delone Catholic touchdown result in a come-from-behind, 17-14 win by the Squires.
That win by Delone Catholic was the difference in the Squires making the district playoffs and Fairfield sitting at home. Delone Catholic finished fourth in the Class A power rankings and got to meet top-seed and eventual champion Camp Hill in the four-team playoff field while the Green Knights wound up fifth in the power rankings.
Fighting for district berths is right where head coach Darwin Seiler would like to be, but with just four starters returning on each side of the ball, the path to the postseason could be harder.
"The program is heading in the right direction," Seiler said. "We want to maintain that. That's our task. We're looking for consistency. We were blessed with two great classes of athletes that bought in and helped make that happen."
Seiler said it is a small senior class as well as junior class, but the incoming freshman class is sizable. Approximately 35 players are out, which is slightly down from the past few campaigns.
"We are going to be young, but I think we are more athletic than we have been," Seiler said. "How healthy we stay will be key."
Quarterback >> Mason Flickinger is gone, taking with him 15 touchdown passes and more than 1,000 yards of offense. Sophomore Darian Mort appears to be the frontrunner to replace him. Mort saw varsity playing time at wide receiver last season.
Running back >> Seiler said 205-pounder Tyler Karsteter should be lining up at fullback while returning starter Matt Petrie is at tailback. Seiler plans to try and feed Petrie the ball a number of different ways, such as screen passes and out of the I-formation. Petrie had 99 yards of offense (on 20 touches) and two touchdowns against York Tech last year.
Receivers >> Senior Aaron Moore will be at split end. Moore started defensively last season as a cornerback and earned second-team honors from league coaches. Junior tight end and all-league first-teamer Antijuan Washington finished 13th in the league in receiving yards last fall with 396 on 25 receptions but has moved out of the school district.
Offensive line >> Seniors Ian Clemens and Tom Shultz return to block for Petrie and Mort. Seiler indicated that Clemens and Shultz will play side-by-side at guard and tackle on one side of the line. Jake Nicholls, a 260-pounder as a freshman last season, has the inside track at center. Another sophomore, John Marcharsky, is the other likely starter at guard.
Defensive line >> Clemens and Shultz return to bolster a Green Knights defensive front that allowed 215 yards per game on the ground last season. Shultz was an all-league second team defensive tackle in 2014. Karsteter will also see time on the line.
Linebackers >> Marcharsky, sophomore Dylan Cree and junior Alex Godard will anchor this group.
Secondary >> Moore is sliding into the free safety position from cornerback this season. He'll see time back there with Petrie, Mort, junior Jacob Irwin and junior Jordan Angerett.
Seiler and his coaching staff will need to replace departed senior Brandon Hummel, who handled the kicking duties in 2014.
Save the date >> On Oct. 23 the Green Knights host Delone Catholic for homecoming. If this inexperienced Fairfield team comes together, this late-season game could once again have district implications.
Bottom line >> With a thin roster and a large contingent of freshmen players, starting the season with back-to-back home games with Newport and James Buchanan should be helpful. Week 4 at Biglerville signals the start of Division III play. The season ends with a tough three-game stretch against Delone Catholic, York Catholic and Littlestown. A third-straight season of .500 or better football might take some work in 2015.
Date/Result // Opponent // Time/Score
L // Newport // 0-42
W // James Buchanan // 34-6
L // @ Silver Oak Academy (Md.) // 7-47
L // @ Biglerville // 0-47
L // Bermudian Springs // 12-42
L // @ Hanover // 14-53
L // @ York County Tech // 14-30
*L // Delone Catholic // 28-51
L // @ York Catholic // 14-59
L // Littlestown // 36-72
Result // Opponent // Score
L // Newport // 21-24
W // James Buchanan // 16-12
W // Carson Long Military Academy // 49-20
W // Biglerville // 20-19
L // Bermudian Springs // 0-48
W // Hanover // 18-14
W // York County Tech // 34-8
L // Delone Catholic // 14-17
L // York Catholic // 19-42
L // Littlestown // 20-25