FAIRVIEW -- Since Fairview’s football season ended in the semifinals last year, the Warriors have had one goal in mind: bring a state championship to Fairview.
Fairview spent the summer in the weight room in preparation for another deep playoff run. The Warriors return 10 seniors from last year’s team and have even added two more seniors to this year’s roster. That explains the quick 4-0 start and sky-high expectations in 2019.
“We came into the season and the playbook was already pretty much known by everybody,” Fairview head coach Levi Seitz said. “We had so many returning guys. We went to the Rocky (Mountain College) camp and other coaches were like, ‘Jesus, you guys look like you’re in midseason form.’”
The Warriors haven’t missed a beat since. They’re averaging a robust 61 points per game and are giving up just seven. The explosion is no surprise, as the Warriors brought back all-state running back Cody Asbeck. But a big part of Fairview’s offensive outburst is due to the Warriors becoming less one-dimensional.
Perhaps the biggest addition to Fairview’s roster was senior Josh Herron. Herron is an all-state athlete in both basketball and track. Seitz knew Herron could be a game-breaker on offense in the passing game, but he’s has had an instant impact on the other side of the ball, where his natural athleticism can shine.
“It’s definitely been a learning process for (Herron) because he’s pretty new to everything. His athleticism makes up for a lot of it,” Seitz said. “We were just planning on using him on the offensive side, but we’ve thrown him at D-end and he’s shown some pretty good moves getting to the passer. … I think offensively we’re a little less one-dimensional. Now we have some of these pieces, we can kind of hit you in all different ways. We can line up and run right downhill, right at you, or we can spread it out with our receivers and go four-wide.”
Asbeck and Herron have been important pieces, but when Asbeck was nursing an injury early in the season, junior running back Brady Buxbaum stepped in and filled the void. Buxbaum ran with tremendous speed and power, giving Seitz confidence in the depth his team has built. It also allows the Fairview coaching staff to mix and match different offensive packages.
One player that could be irreplaceable, though, is quarterback Alex Schriver. Schriver has been given near complete control of the offense and is the engine that makes Fairview go. He’s been outstanding on the defensive side of the ball, too, as he recently broke Fairview’s school record for career interceptions.
“He knows the playbook like the back of his hand and takes charge of the huddle,” Seitz said of Schriver. “He makes great suggestions during the games. He’ll see something and he’s so smart. We’ll give him the freedom to suggest plays or change the play at the line of scrimmage, and there’s been several times that he’s done that, and it’s worked like a charm. He’s just such a great ball handler -- good at selling fakes, good at scrambling and getting out of trouble. He’s super valuable. Defensively he’s just a ball hawk.”
Schriver, Asbeck, Herron and the other Fairview seniors entered the season on a mission, and it’s been evident in the results. Although Fairview’s level of play has far exceeded its opponents', the coaching staff and players have been locked in, not allowing complacency to creep in. Fairview has not won a football state championship in the school’s history, but this year’s version of the Warriors are fixated on bringing a title back home.
“Before the season starts, we talk about our goals. I think everybody’s team goal was to win the state championship, obviously. After that, though, we don’t talk about it at all. We take it one game at a time, win our conference, all those other things,” Seitz said. “But they know, and you can tell at practice how focused they are. As coaches we remind them we haven’t had the most competition yet. That’s what we stress; come out and play fast and hard right away. Don’t take your foot of the pedal.”