High school: Fairmont Firebirds
Division: D-I, Region: 3 (no change from last season).
Affiliation: Greater Western Ohio Conference, National East.
Head coach: Dave Miller, beginning second year at Fairmont; 126-45 overall record also as a head coach at Cross Country Conference teams Covington and Twin Valley South. Had most of that success at Covington, where the Buccs appeared in the postseason all nine seasons under Miller, won six CCC titles, had five teams that went 10-0 in the regular season and mounted a 43-game CCC win streak.
»SEE PHOTO GALLERY BELOW
Assistant coaches/positions: Pat Roncagli, assistant head coach/DL; Keith Bertram, DC/LBs; Dave Baker, special teams coordinator/FBs; George Reinke, OL; Jake Feldmeyer, assistant OL; Jeff Schwartz, HBs; David Fleming, safeties; Josh Jackson, WRs; Nick Bower, CBs; Dalton Bordelon, assistant DL.
2016 record: 0-4 GWOC National East, 1-9 overall.
5 key returners:
Emmanuel Beade, 6-0, 240, sr., OL
Trey Baker, 6-0, 210, so., FB/LB
David Stamer, 6-0, 170, sr., HB
Connor Bunts, 5-11, 250, jr., OL
Josh Baker, 6-3, 210, sr., DE
Transfers: Miles Johnson, jr., QB, transferred to Northmont.
About the Firebirds: Among the area’s most noteworthy reboots last season with Miller succeeding Andy Aracri, who’s now in his second season as an assistant at Centerville. However, unlike what Miller built at the small and rural program at Covington, immediate success was fleeting for the Firebirds.
Playing mostly untested underclassmen, Fairmont was relatively game in most of its losses, falling by seven points each at Hamilton, Beavercreek (OT) and at Springfield in the season finale.
Senior RB David Stamer is the leading returning rusher (41-326, 1 TD) and also led the ground-oriented Firebirds in receiving (8-155). Sophomore LB Trey Baker led Fairmont in total tackles (55) as a freshman. Fairmont returns 21 lettermen, most of whom were starters or had significant playing time last season.
There is one schedule change. Milford replaces Sycamore in a non-conference Week 3 contest. Sycamore (8-5) lost to eventual D-I state champ Cin. St. Xavier 35-28 in OT in a regional final last season. Milford, an Eastern Cincinnati Conference member and also a D-I program, was 2-8 last season.
The traditional opener against Alter at Roush Stadium also will serve as the kickoff to the FOX 45 Thursday Night Lights.
Schedule: All games 7 p.m.
Week 1: Thu., Aug. 24, Alter, Ch. 45.2, Ch. 995 (Spectrum), live on mytvdayton.com
Week 2: Fri., Sept. 1, Hamilton
Week 3: Fri., Sept. 8, at Milford
Week 4: Fri., Sept. 15, Springboro
Week 5: Fri., Sept. 22, at Beavercreek
Week 6: Fri., Sept. 29, Miamisburg
Week 7: Fri., Oct. 6, at West Carrollton
Week 8: Fri., Oct. 13, Wayne
Week 9: Fri., Oct. 20, at Centerville
Week 10: Fri., Oct. 27, Springfield