FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The East Fairmont Bees enter the 2021 season motivated to do something the program hasn’t done since 2007 — make it to the postseason.
How does that happen? Well, it starts by getting stronger as a unit.
When you see this year’s East Fairmont football team for the first time, you’ll notice something different about them compared to years’ past — they look bigger, stronger, and more together than before.
“Everybody would always like to be a little stronger, a little faster than what we are, but from where we were and where we’re at now with the number of kids and what we’re doing, I think we’re excited about that. Hopefully now we can get that to translate into the mental side of the football game, which is important too,” said head coach Shane Eakle. “We’re physically a little bit better now, but we got to mentally be a little bit better now.”
“We started picking it up when (Eakle) got here, and we’ve been working, getting our weight up, getting stronger and everything. So, I definitely think him being here has helped our weight program and everything all around,” said senior fullback and linebacker, Seth Watkins.
The hope is that all that work in the offseason can translate to success on the field.
How is coach Eakle defining success this season?
“One more game. We play ten, they’d love to play eleven. So, that’s kind of our goal right now,” he said.
“One more. We’re pushing for one more in everything, no matter if it’s in the weight room working out – one more rep -, that’s how we’re playing games this year. We’re pushing for one more game,” Watkins added.
East Fairmont returns sophomore, Ian Crookshanks, as its starting quarterback, and returns most starters from a year ago. Crookshanks says he’s coming off off-season surgery, but has been working to get better all offseason.
“You just got to keep pushing yourself. You got to try to be the best,” said the sophomore QB. “I got together with some guys over the summer. We probably went like one day a week, just so people could still have a little bit of a summer. We came to the field to work on routes, running, mesh points.”
Physically the Bees are in a better position than they were a year ago. It’s what goes on between the ears, however, that could most determine how many wins East Fairmont can claim.
“Good programs expect to win even when stuff goes bad. So, if we have a bad play here or a bad rep there, we’ve got to overcome that and then still continue to battle and play,” said Eakle. “I think our guys hopefully will be more resilient this year, and if we can do that, and play every play hard and get after it, then we’ll hopefully have a chance at the end.”
East Fairmont begins its quest to play one more on Thursday with a Marion County matchup against North Marion.