FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont Senior is not shying away from a challenge this year. The Polar Bears enter a ‘gauntlet’ of a schedule starting this week with Bridgeport.
The next four games on Fairmont Senior’s schedule include four Triple-A teams, three ranked in the top 15 and all of them on the road.
This includes Bridgeport (8), University (1), Wheeling Park (18) and Spring Valley (11). The Polar Bears then host AA No. 1 ranked Robert C. Byrd in week eight.
Fairmont Senior is taking this difficult schedule one game at a time, but head coach Nick Bartic said there’s no time for error.
“Our guys have to understand that they have to have their best show every week. So there’s no let down, no time to recover. They have to come to practice focused, we have to play focused. We’re trying to develop that experience to help them as the season progresses,” Bartic said.
The Polar Bears start with Bridgeport. A familiar opponent for FS as the Polar Bears are 3-1 against the Indians in the last four years.
“There’s obviously a lot of familiarity between us. It’s always intense and it’s no different than any other year. It is only week four but at the same time it is an intense game, it’s a big one. Obviously you always have to stop the run with them first but a little different than most seasons, they can throw the ball a little bit. We’ve seen them at the WVU seven on seven and they did a pretty good job there throwing the ball so it’s a whole other element we have to prepare with them,” Bartic said.
Bridgeport took the win last season at East-West Stadium so Bartic said his players are motivated to go to their house and win.
“We know last year they got the better of us so we have a little incentive to try and make it happen this year in our favor. Regardless of who’s won in the previous season or whatever standing might be, this is an intense game. It’s a local rivalry, it’s a good community rivalry so our guys are always ready to go,” Bartic said.
Fairmont Senior is 2-1 on the season with last week’s win over North Marion. Not the prettiest win for Fairmont, nonetheless a needed win. Bartic did see positives in last Friday’s game.
“What really looked good on Friday in the run game was the blocking on the perimeter with our DB’s doing a good job and of course up front, we did a nice job of blocking, hand placement, feet moving, we had physical play up front. So when that’s happening, you’re going to have more success on the offensive side of the ball,” Bartic said.
Penalties hurt the Polar Bears early on against North Marion. That’s something Bartic and crew have to fix in order to be successful against Bridgeport.
“Any time you have turnovers or penalties, that’s going to hurt you. Especially in a big game. That’s something that we’re going to focus on this week and what will help us to accomplish what we need to on Friday,” Bartic said.
Fairmont Senior travels to Bridgeport Friday, September 17. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.