Opening week brings us the annual battle of Fairmont vs. Alter once again


Photo: Jeff Allen

Senior Billy Martin runs the ball for the Firebirds in their pre-season scrimmage at Xenia.

A late August tradition for Fairmont is bending God’s ear talking about Alter for two weeks before the city of Kettering gathers at Roush Stadium to watch the cross-town rivals. It’s time again, the Fairmont Firebirds will take on the Alter Knights on August 28th at 7 p.m.

The high school football game is a classic in the state of Ohio. The fans go nuts, it’s often a topic of discussion in classrooms during the week, and the stands are filled from top to bottom.

Firebirds Head Coach Andrew Aracri said that the game is a great football environment.

“There aren’t too many high schools that get to play in the environment that Fairmont and Alter get to play in,” Aracri said. “I played college football, and there are a lot of similarities between those Saturday’s and week one in Roush Stadium.”

As always, the game plan is a key component to success on the football field, but Aracri stated that the game plan isn’t complicated.

“The game plan is just based off personnel and what you can do, so the game plan as a whole doesn’t change,” Aracri said. “In the end you still have to line up and block people, you have to throw the ball, you have to catch the ball, you have to protect the ball, and on defense you still have to run around and tackle.”

Coach Aracri emphasized preparation.

“Whether it’s week one or week ten, the key to winning is your preparation throughout the week,” Aracri said. “You have to have your hard hat on and your lunch pail and you got to go to work to get better at the things you need to be successful at.”

One of the major story lines of last year’s game was the 67 yard run by Alter’s Dusty Hayes right out of the gate. Despite Fairmont’s preparation, Aracri said that plays like that happen.

“Just like any other game, it only takes one bad read or mistake or one slip to make a big play in football,” Aracri said.

Although Alter is the favorite as usual, senior wide receiver Wes Ewing said that the Firebirds are more prepared.

“I think the team is a lot closer and a lot more ready for the Alter game this year,” Ewing said.

He also emphasized how psyched the team is for the game and the season itself.

“The rivalry part definitely makes us play harder,” Ewing said. “But the first game in general just gets everyone pumped for the year.”

The events leading up to the game are their favorite parts of the showdown, he said.

“Our favorite aspects are the lifts, getting ready, and everything that comes with the preparation,” Ewing said. 

Coach Aracri emphasized that the atmosphere is his favorite aspect.

“There’s nothing better than a Friday night when Roush Stadium is rocking and rolling with the loud crowd and positive support,” Aracri said.

This season Fairmont has some momentum on their side, coming off a solid 6-4 campaign last year. But Aracri wants to move forward and focus on being successful this season as well.

“There’s a lot of excitement, there’s always excitement when you win and that was a great experience for that team,” Aracri said. “Last year was team 93 and this year is team 94.”