FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The East Fairmont Bees are buzzing ahead of the high school football season. The team is returning key starters, such as senior QB Ian Crookshanks, following a playoff season last year.

Speaking of Crookshanks, not many high school quarterbacks in West Virginia more experience as him. That’s something that makes East Fairmont head coach Shane Eakle extremely comfortable with his team.

“The quarterback has a huge role in whatever offense your doing, especially in ours and you know he’s been the guy now for two and a half years,” Eakle said. “He’s been smart with the football, and hopefully understands what we’re trying to do and help spread the ball out to different players that we have so we can get the ball out of his hands and get into other guys hands to be successful.”

With multiple years of experiences and Eakle’s guidance, Crookshanks is honing down on pre-snap reads to better understand defenses and mismatches within them.

“I did it some, but with (coach) emphasizing it, definitely has brought me a better connection with the receivers to see the defense, where they are going to be at before they snap the ball so I have an idea,” Crookshanks said.

Aside from Crookshanks, around half of East Fairmont’s starters will be returning. On Thursday, Aug. 24, the Bees face a daunting rivalry matchup in week one against a fellow playoff team in North Marion.

“Always a tough place to play to go up to Coach (Roy) Michael field and get after the huskies,” Eakle said. “It’s a good test for us in week one.”

Whether if they are facing North Marion or any other opponent, teams can expect to see East Fairmont battle for 48 minutes.

“We don’t give up,” Crookshanks said. “Most teams from the past expect us to just give up and roll over, but we keep fighting.”

The goal for the Bees is to make the playoffs once again, but some players have bigger expectations that just getting a ticket to the dance.

“My goal is to win a playoff game, not just make it there,” senior WR/CB Hoyt Michael said. “Last year (playoffs) was definitely a good goal for us, first time we made the playoffs in awhile, so I think if we can win one this year that would be very special for the program.”