FAIRVIEW — Alex Schriver and his Fairview teammates were in the midst of a banner year.
The Warriors won the first 8-Man football state championship in program history in November, dominating Alberton-Superior 70-6 for the title. Then in March, Fairview claimed a share of the Class C boys basketball state championship, splitting the title with Scobey when the state basketball tournaments were canceled after Friday’s semifinal games in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
It marked just the third time in Montana history a school won 8-Man and Class C boys basketball titles in the same school year. But Fairview seemed poised for even more hardware this spring.
The Warriors were set to contend on the golf links, as well, but the Montana High School Association ultimately canceled its spring sports seasons.
“It was pretty devastating, actually, because me and my team had high hopes going into state this year since we barely missed out last year on a trophy,” said Schriver, who placed second in 2018 and tied for fifth last year. “So, we worked really hard this offseason to get better.”
A true multi-sport standout — Schriver earned all-state recognition in both basketball and football his junior and senior seasons — Schriver is most comfortable on the golf course. He started swinging clubs as a youngster with his dad, and the more time he spent on the course, the more he fell in love with the game.
By the time he was in high school, Schriver was a threat on the course. He finished in a tie for 11th at the state meet when he was a freshman, playing through difficult weather conditions at Double Arrow Golf Course at Seeley Lake. His sophomore year in 2018, Schriver put together a solid two rounds and finished just one stroke back of state champion Caidin Hill of Manhattan Christian. Fairview finished fourth as a team that year.
The Warriors again finished fourth last year, lagging just one stroke behind Westby-Grenora for a spot on the podium. Schriver finished in a four-way tie for fifth place, leaving him with plenty of motivation for his senior season.
“I wanted to take state, actually. I had gotten pretty close the year before. Last year wasn’t the best, but the year before I had finished pretty close. I just worked really hard in the offseason and felt like I could do it if I had a chance,” Schriver said.
“Mostly my irons and my wedges,” he said of how his game had improved since last year. “I got really good at hitting those closer wedge shots onto the green, getting on the green, allowing myself to use the flat stick, I guess.”
Schriver is certainly disappointed with the incomplete close to his high school golf career, but he said he’s actually been able to golf more during the coronavirus pandemic than he probably would have had his season gone on as normal. Golf courses have remained open during the stay-at-home orders, and Schriver has taken advantage.
“I’ve actually been playing a lot of golf and doing a lot of fishing," he said, adding that the fishing hasn't gone nearly as well as the golfing. "The golf courses opened up a while back, so I’ve been able to go in and play golf whenever I want for however long I want."
And his golf career won’t stop here. He’s signed to play at Dickinson (N.D.) State University, where he’ll team up and room with friend Jack Solberg of Westby-Grenora. Two of Schriver’s Fairview teammates — Cody Asbeck and Lak Kloker — are set to become Blue Hawks this fall, as well.
Asbeck will continue his football career at DSU after teaming with Schriver to form a formidable backfield for Fairview. Asbeck returned the opening kickoff of the state championship game for a touchdown to set an early tone and then caught three touchdown passes from Schriver as the Warriors cruised to the title, exorcising a few demons along the way.
Fairview had turned into a perennial 8-Man power and advanced to back-to-back championship games in 2011 and 2012 with Schriver’s older brother Brock at quarterback. The Warriors had made the playoffs every year since, thrice advancing to the semifinal round. Last fall’s championship felt like a long time coming.
“This community’s been waiting for this a while. Because my brother’s class had a chance twice at it, and the other previous classes all got extremely close. It was about time,” Schriver said. “It was kind of cool when we got back in the gym, the community just came to the gym and gave us a nice, warm welcome and told us how proud they were of us and how much it meant to them. It was really cool.”
As it turns out, that championship game was likely the last time Schriver will don the football pads. The Bob Cleverley 8-Man All-Star Game has been canceled and so too has the Montana East-West Shrine Game, where Schriver was an alternate. He’s an alternate on the Montana roster for the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl, too, but that game’s future is probably precarious, as well.
“Honestly, I wasn’t too hyped up to play any of those all-star games, but once they got canceled, I realized how much I wanted to,” Schriver said. “I wanted to play, but it wasn’t like one of my main priorities. But once it got canceled, it flipped a switch. Then I realized how much I wanted to play in that.”
While it’s a bittersweet end to a sensational senior year, it’s still easy for Schriver to look ahead with excitement to his next courses at Dickinson State, and with good reason.
His favorite course is Bully Pulpit Golf Course at Medora, N.D, less than an hour from his future home.