The Fairfield High School Eagles fall season is underway with good numbers out for volleyball and football.
The volleyball team has 30 active members on the team and the football team has 45, including three from Augusta.
The Lady Eagles will start their season at the Choteau junior varsity/C scramble this Thursday and the varsity preseason invitational volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday. Coach Courtney Bake said she has five returning seniors, six juniors, one sophomore and 12 freshmen. They also have two players on injured reserve. The team includes five returning starters.
Bake said one of the team’s strengths is the players’ off-season work. “A good group of our players worked hard in the off-season lifting weights and working out,” she said. “On the flip side, our weakness will be our consistency.”
At the opening tournament this weekend, Bake plans to work on rotation options which will allow the girls to get used to each other in a game setting.
The team’s first regular season match will be at home on Sept. 5 against Choteau. “We have a tough one right out the gate,” Bake said.
In fact, she sees Choteau as the perennial powerhouse in District 1B. Bake said Shelby has 10 seniors with experience, Cut Bank always puts together a nice squad and the conference welcomes Great Falls Central Catholic to the 1B.
Bake has been coaching 12 years at Fairfield off and on with this her fifth consecutive year of this go around. She will be assisted by returning coaches Caroline Rogers and Mary Mathison.
The Fairfield/Augusta football team includes seven seniors, 12 juniors, nine sophomores and 17 freshmen. In the second year of the co-op, the team has three Augusta athletes: a junior, sophomore and freshman.
“We have four starters on offense and three on defense returning to the team,” Coach Les Meyer said. “Our strength remains to be seen I would say. We do not return many starters. However, we have several that saw quite a bit of time throughout last season. We return some experience on the line and experience at the linebacking positions so we will see how it all comes together as the season progresses.”
Meyer said the team is working on fundamentals and making sure they understand schemes and the concepts behind what they are trying to do. “We do have some speed at the skill positions on both sides of the ball, but they just lack experience even though they did play some snaps last year,” he added.
“We lost 12 seniors off of last year’s team,” Meyer said. “We lost all of our secondary and some skill positions on offense. We also lost some key linemen from the ‘18 squad.”
The Eagles’ first game is Sept. 6 at home against Missoula Loyola.
“They will be highly motivated since the last time we played them,” Meyer said. The Eagles defeated Loyola 30-13 in the state Class B championship game last year.
“Loyola plays Huntley Project on Aug. 30, and we don’t play until Sept. 6, meaning Loyola will have a game under their belt and we won’t,” Meyer said. “In the past several years we have had a game or two under our belt before playing Loyola. The following week we play Cut Bank, who has 43 players out and are in their second year with Coach Johnston and will be vastly improved.
Meyer said their conference will be improved over a year ago. “We had some first-year coaches in the league and now they have had a chance to implement their system,” he said. “Also, almost everyone was relatively young and now their players will have some experience going into the 2019 football season.”
Meyer is going into 23 years as head coach for the Eagles. Chuck Brown returns for his 22nd year and RJ Rogers for his 20th year as assistant coach. Tim Love from Augusta is in his second year with the Fairfield/Augusta team, but has coached multiple sports for several years in Augusta and other schools.