Coach (season, record): Jim Brinling (2nd season, 7-3)
2010 overall record: 7-3
2010 region record (place): 4-2 (third)
2010 playoff results: Lost 40-3 to Hickory in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Jordan Kerner, Dominic Kiser, Steven Turner, Neil Kruse, Jake Stanko, Josh Gdanetz
Top returning players: Tom Weidle, Dan Rosendahl, Derek Kruse, Joe Kocan, Luke Cramer, Shannon Jackson, Mickey Ferrare, Carl Nerthling
Assistant coaches: Malcolm Beall, Luke Beall, Dave Hudson, Scott Bollheimer, Mike Parmeter, Zach Waters, Sean Belveal, Dan Skelton
Outlook: Fairview’s biggest loss from last year is Jordan Kerner. The fullback/linebacker is in Happy Valley and leaves a big hole from a talent standpoint and leadership standpoint. Kerner was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 787 yards and nine touchdowns, while pulling down five catches for 49 yards and one TD. He also had 82 tackles and five sacks as a senior. Fairview will also have to replace all-district lineman Dominic Kiser. Kerner was named to the all-district team as a linebacker. The Tigers also need to replace all-region selections Steven Turner (offensive/defensive line), Josh Gdanetz (kicker/punter) as well as leading receiver Neil Kruse and Jake Stanko.
What will help the Tigers this season is a strong duo returning in the backfield. Quarterback Tom Weidle is back after a solid junior season, which he was named all-region as a defensive back. Weidle complete 34-of-76 passes for 518 yards, including four touchdowns, while pulling down two interceptions. Joining him in the backfield is Dan Rosendahl, Fairview’s second-leading rusher last year. Rosendahl ran for 733 yards and six touchdowns in 2010, while Joe Kocan is also back after rushing for 120 yards on 35 carries and one TD.
Mickey Ferrare, Carl Nerthling and Derek Kruse are back to anchor the offensive line, while Kruse quietly had a big year as a linebacker to led the Tigers in tackles. The trio brings back plenty of experience, while Luke Cramer and Shannon Jackson could be impact players on defense. Fairview’s defense only allowed 108 points in the regular season last year and could be the Tigers’ strong point once again. Fairview’s offensive line needs to develop in camp, while the Tigers’ younger players on defense will need to step up this fall.
Fairview, once again, has an ambitious non-region schedule. The Tigers will take on Region 5 contender Meadville to start the season – possibly on their new turf – while also taking on St. Francis (N.Y.) and East. The good news about the schedule is Fairview will take on powerhouses North East and General McLane over a month apart. If the Tigers can develop their role positions and use its tough schedule to become a better team, they could be a team to beat in October and beyond.
– Tom Reisenweber