FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Fairmont Senior Polar Bears have advanced to the Double-A semi-final game each of the past five years.
And after this group of seniors got a taste of Wheeling Island Stadium as freshmen and sophomores, getting back is what’s on their minds heading into this season.
“I haven’t won a state championship as a quarterback, yet. That’s on the top of my list,” said senior quarterback, Gage Michael.
“The past four years, every year they say we’re not going to make it back. I believe we get better and better each year. And we’re more hungry this year after what happened last year,” said senior tailback and linebacker, Nick Scott.
Michael will command a Fairmont Senior offense that is replacing a lot of talent in Jacob Gomolak, Camden Longwell and most of the offensive line; but is also bringing a lot of talent back in Michael, Kayson Nealy and Kieshawn Cottingham.
“I feel great, we have a lot of skill players. Keishawn, Kayson’s back. Nick Scott and some new faces,” said Michael. “(They) are going to be big for us down the stretch. We have a plethora of guys that can come in and all able to make great plays.”
“In terms of the offense, the guys we have back know what’s going on,” said Polar Bears head coach Nick Bartic. “We have a lot of new faces in positions they haven’t been in before, in terms of something’s expected of them. Guys are going to have to play a bigger role. so, if those guys are able to handle that responsibility and pressure, then we’ll be alright.”
Defensively, the Polar Bears will be without Zach Frazier, Dominick Owens, and Nate Kowalski — all three college football players. But they return Scott, Aiden Green and Eric Smith, along with a majority of the secondary.
“Our secondary, you know, that’s probably who we feel most confident with. Those guys have the most experience,” said Bartic. “But we’ll see, some of those guys have more expected out of them, how they respond, especially against a team that likes to throw the ball, that’s going to be good to see how the secondary gets tested right off the bat.”
Bartic and company look to reload, and return to Wheeling Island Stadium, going one game at a time as Bartic likes to say.
But a re-worked schedule features games against five playoff teams from a year ago. And that schedule begins on Friday against Lincoln.