GWOC football: Fairmont offense rallies round its Tank

Fairmont High School sophomore Tank Gant was born with the ultimate running back name. At a chiseled 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds, he ably fulfills that role, too.

“When I was born, they gave me to my mom and she said, get this tank off my chest,” said Gant.

That’s what a lot of Fairmont opposing defenders are likely thinking, too. Gant has become the main option on Fairmont’s run-heavy option attack. He had 34 rushes and put 110 yards rushing on Lakota East in Week 2. He topped that with 36 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 at Northmont.

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That durability and productiveness despite being marked has landed him fifth among all Greater Western Ohio Conference rushers. That also stamps him as a developing player to watch and his recruiting interest should soar.

But that hasn’t meant success for Fairmont (0-3), yet. More realistically, the Firebirds should be a GWOC and Division I playoff contender the next two seasons. If that sounds familiar, it should. Loaded with outstanding underclassmen when head coach Dave Miller took over, Fairmont dipped to 1-9 in 2016, then qualified for the D-I playoffs the last two seasons.

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“That’s a fair comparison,” recalled Fairmont senior linebacker Trey Baker, a rare four-year starter whose father David Baker is a Firebirds running back/receivers coach. “Our seniors are taking us in the right direction to prepare us for the future. We like to do what we do.”

Fairmont is loaded with experienced senior linebackers Garrett Baker, Trey’s cousin, Evan Overholser and Zack Snodgrass.

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Fairmont and Wayne (0-3) are the only winless GWOC teams, and there’s no letup in Week 4 matchups. Fairmont will host Trotwood-Madison (2-1) at Roush Stadium on Friday and Wayne hosts unbeaten Springboro (3-0), the No. 1 team in the Cox Media Group Ohio power rankings. Trotwood defeated Wayne 40-28 in Week 3.

Fairmont also dropped its opener to unbeaten Alter after taking out the Knights the previous two seasons.

Male’k Hillon and Keon Wright have shared taking snaps for Fairmont and both are sophomores. Gant has quickly won Miller over.

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“He’s special,” Miller said. “What’s great about him is as good as a player he is, he is a great young man. His mom has done a superior job of parenting him. He is so bought in and he’s one of our hardest-working kids. You have that going on with his ability and the sky’s the limit.”

• According to MaxPreps.com, which compiles stats for the OHSAA, Greenon quarterback Cade Rice ranks No. 4 among all Ohio quarterbacks with 838 yards passing (49 of 77; 64 percent) and 14 touchdowns through three games. Kenton junior Blaine Huston is first (1,144 yards and 11 TDs.)

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• The Harbin computer football rankings will make its debut on Tuesday following Week 4 games. The Ohio High School Athletic Association uses the popular website JoeEitel.com to compile weekly computer rankings. Another popular site that tracks Ohio football is Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50.

The top eight teams in each region following the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs. Those top four teams will host first-round games.

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• Former Colonel White High School standout and Princeton boys basketball coach Steve Wright has been named the video coordinator for men’s basketball at Cleveland State University. Wright, 36, was the Vikings’ head coach the last two seasons. Princeton (23-4) won the Greater Miami Conference championship in 2018 and was a D-I regional semifinalist.

Wright played collegiately at Bowling Green and transferred to Northern Kentucky as a senior, where he was an NCAA D-II All-American in 2007.

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Former Trotwood-Madison standout Torrey Patton is listed as a junior on the Cleveland State roster. He began his career at Akron and transferred to CSU from Indian Hills Community College (Iowa). Cleveland State plays at Wright State on Jan. 16, 2020.

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