FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Our 2020 high school football previews continue with the East Fairmont Bees, who went 4-6 last year in the first season under head coach, Shane Eakle.

The 2019 season was the best the Bees have had in more than a decade.

Four wins in a seven-week span ended a lengthy losing streak, and gave the Bees their most wins in a single season since 2008. The players were a big part of that, but they know the turn around starts at the top.

Shane Eakle led the Bees to a 4-6 record in his first year in charge of East Fairmont. That was the most wins in a single season since 2008. (Photo via Ryan Decker / WBOY)

“I think it changed a lot of people’s opinions about east side,” EFHS sophomore OL/MLB, Matthew Collins, said about last season. “I’d have to say that’s because of Coach Eakle.”

Eakle and his staff only have a small number of seniors on the roster, meaning they’ll need younger players to step up all over the board. That includes junior running back William Sarsfield.

“That’s where it all comes down, we need to prove that we’re going to do it again. We’re coming after the next teams,” said Sarsfield. “We’re a more physical group this year, and that was the big thing. It can’t be a cake walk of a game. Everything needs to be a dog fight, and we need to be mentally tough.”

Another young player that will be asked to step up is Collins, who started last year as a freshman for the Bees.

“Last year we had, like, eleven freshmen and sophomores playing, so it’s really just the same group of kids working — building up,” said Collins. “I’ve just been focus on making sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing — no one’s slacking off. And doing extra. Staying after practice, working on stuff, plays, all that stuff.”

The Bees also usher in a new quarterback in junior Clay Hershberger, who takes over for Dominick Postlewait, one of thirteen seniors that departed from last year’s team.

Clay Hershberger throws a pass against a pass rush at practice on Monday. Hershberger is in line to be the Bees starting quarterback. (Photo by Ryan Decker / WBOY)

“Clay, you know, he’s coming back. This is year two for him. So, he’s the guy that’s going to have to go through some of the growing pains. He went through some in the JV process, and worked with Dom last year, and I think he’s getting better. He’s worked hard in the offseason,” said Eakle.

Whe asked about young players stepping up this year and last, Eakle said:

“Whether it was necessity, or because they were the right guy for the spot, they started as freshmen for us by the end of the year last year. So, there are some guys on this squad that could be four-year starters if they stick with it and stay healthy. Down the road that could help us, and we hope that can help us some this year, because we’re a year older — even though we’re young, we’re a year older — and hopefully a little bit better.”

Replacing those 13 seniors won’t be easy, but Eakle and company are looking to improve in year two.

That starts with a scrimmage this Friday against Doddridge County, and then starting the regular season with two road contests, including the season opener at Grafton on September 4.