SETH — Coming off a one win season, Sherman Tide varsity boys’ football head coach J.D. Fairchild II says this year’s team has no where to go but up.
“We expect to win,” Fairchild said. “We have to make them believe that they can win. They have the talent, strength and speed. They just have to go out there on the field and do it.”
Fairchild says one way he is going to accomplish his goal of having a winning team is to bring back the old Sherman Tide football traditions.
“In the past, Sherman High football players have always been known for being strong kids that hit hard and play with pride,” he said. “We are going to get back to the old ways around here.”
One way is doing it in the weight room.
“We are lifting lots of weights,” Fairchild said. “We lifted in the off season, we are lifting before practice and we feel it’s that important. This team is much faster and stronger than last year’s squad.”
Fairchild said last year’s team was in most games through the first half, but just let games slip away in the last two quarters of play.
“We just could close out games,” he said. “Just some bad breaks and not staying focused the entire game.”
Fairchild lost two coaches he had been with for 25 years.
“We are going to have some new assistants this year,” he said. “They helped out last year and all of them are Sherman Tide graduates and former Tide football players.”
Assistant coaches include Michael Showalter, Dustin Trail and Kevin Buzzard.
The Tide offense is expected to be lead by senior runningback Kyle Davis and junior quarterback Bailey Kirk.
“Kyle is running hard and seeing the holes really well,” Fairchild said. “Bailey is throwing real well and reading defenses.”
A core of receivers that includes Jacob Barnett, Austin Cooper, Will Hensley, J.T. Hensley, Jordan Clark, Tyler Pettry, Josh Priestley, Adam Miller, Dustin Harvey, John Dickens, Corey Pristley Logan Kauff, Cordell Parsons, Lance Hudson, Jarred Vickers and Seth Rinchich gives Kirk plenty of weapons to pass the ball.
Willen Christian, Nate Dickens, Tommy Harper, Claude West, Ben Salmon, Phillip Casto and Aaron Hensley will also give depth behind Davis at runningback.
This year’s Sherman Tide offensive line is a little bigger than last year, Fairchild added.
“We have Logan Buzzard and Joseph Thomas on the leftside, Chase Buzzard at center and two new starters on the right side, including 300 pound freshman Layne Daniel,” said Fairchild.
Fairchild’s defense will operate out of his 3-4 scheme.
“I have been running a 3-4 defense for 25 years, I don’t think I am going to change it,” he said.
The defense features linebackers Nate Dickens and Ben Salmons, along with bookend outside linebackers John Dickens and Cordell Parsons.
“We have speed and strength at linebacker and those guys are finding the ball quickly and making plays,” Fairchild said.
The Tide are returning all of its defensive backs from last season.
“We are hoping their experience is going to pay off this year,” Fairchild added.
Fairchild also mentioned Tide nose guard Kazz Workman. The 5-foot 9-inch, 270 pound junior is expected to be a force in the center of the Sherman defense.
“He is just brut strong,” the coach said. “We are very excited about what he has the potential to do this season.”
Sherman has a very tough schedule again this season. Eight of the team’s 10 oppenents this season had a winning or .500 record last year.
“We open up with Tug Valley at Tug, so we should know right off the bat where we stand,” Fairchild said. “We had them on the ropes last season and let them slip away. This year we plan to go there with confidence and expect to win.”
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at email@example.com or @fcpace62 on Twitter.