Firebirds pumped up for Alter football showdown

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Photo: Sam Barton

Fairmont’s Varsity Football Coach Andy Aracri shouts encouragement to the exercising team in the wake of the long-awaited Fairmont vs. Alter game on Friday, August 30th.

The Fairmont-Alter Varsity Football game is the epitome of school spirit in Kettering, and it looks like this year’s contest between the crosstown rivals will be no different. The Firebirds take the field against the Knights at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30.

Despite Fairmont’s record in the big game over the  last 10 years (1-9), optimism in the halls of FHS is “as high as it’s ever been,” according to Fairmont Head Football Coach Andy Aracri. “That’s one thing I’ve seen change a lot.”

Going into the 2013 season, the Firebirds are facing a change at the quarterback position. With the previous quarterback, Tom West graduating, junior Jaryd Murphy will be taking the helm for Fairmont.

“He really just separated himself from the group as the guy to lead our offense,” said Aracri. “During the summer, he really improved on his footwork, his drop[back]s, and understanding the new playbook.”

Speaking of playbooks, the playbook over at Alter seems to have stayed the same since its founding in 1962. And they have a point, don’t fix something that’s not broken. “Alter doesn’t do a lot, but what they do, they do well,” said Aracri. Fairmont expects to be lining up against the wishbone offense more than once during their season-opener.

The Firebird playbook, on the other hand, seems to have changed. “Expect a real aggressive nature on the offensive side,” said Aracri.

The players on this year’s FHS squad feel they’re more than ready for the Alter game. Twitter has been buzzing with player’s tweets, such as: “Don’t sleep on us” and “Alter’s going down this year.”

Senior offensive lineman Shane North is especially ready. “It’s going to be one big show,” said North. “Everyone on the team looks forward to this game.”

Last year’s game went down to the final Alter possession, but the Firebirds came up on the losing end. That close finish is a reason for confidence in this year’s game, but this isn’t Coach Aracri’s first rodeo.

“I love this group of guys we have,” said Aracri. “Optimism should be high. But we know confidence and optimism does not guarantee us anything. We have to go out and play 48 minutes of smart, aggressive Fairmont football.”

Aracri also understands the importance of fan support. “What’s important to us is an incredible home-field advantage,” he said. “And the build-up in the halls of Fairmont can fuel just that.”