Skyhawks taking new attitude into season


By Steven Wright - [email protected]



Senior Dominique Johnson (left) takes a handoff from junior JT Smith (right) during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11. The Skyhawks will kick off the season on Friday when it travels to Tecumseh. Fairborn’s first home game is August 26 against Troy.


Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Senior Dominique Johnson (right) sits up after making the tackle on a Beavercreek receiver during a scrimmage on August 11.


Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Senior Michael Wardle (19) throws a pass into the flat during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11.


Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Fairborn’s defense gets excited after recovering a fumble during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11.


Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

The Fairborn Skyhawks are almost ready to go for the 2022 season. Fairborn kicks off at Tecumseh on Friday.


Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

FAIRBORN — There is a level of toughness Fairborn is aiming to reach on the football field.

Getting there takes time, but the gains from the first week or scrimmages into the second was a definite step in the right direction that new head coach Larry Cox said he wanted to see from his team as the regular season approaches.

“There’s a lot of positives to build off of and the kids’ attitude and effort has been good,” he said.

The Skyhawks had a bumpy 2021 season where it not only struggled on the field, but off of it as well with two games needing to be canceled and midseasoncoaching changes also getting mixed in.

A level of mental toughness because of those issues can be thought of as being just of as much importance to reach as physical toughness. Stability and everyday consistency can help with that, Cox said, and part of assisting it is addressing the physical side of things.

With that mindset in place, Cox said teaching the basics of the game isn’t ever too elementary to address.

“We’ve learned that the shoulder pads are there for a reason,” he said. “You’ve got to teach them that and we have. … Football hasn’t gotten that far advanced as it’s still the team that blocks and tackles the best wins the games.”

Cox is also happy about the way his players have quickly taken to the new coaches and the way his staff has done the same. He thinks it will lead to a fun year.

Fairborn has enough participants this year to create a freshman only team, getting a foundation underway which Cox said he knows will take time still to build up.

He said he is looking forward to building the program up one brick at a time, and hopes an identity begins to be formed in the process.

“Progression will happen. It’ll never happen at a rate that we’re happy with, but progression will happen,” Cox said. “We’re going to run into some good football teams this year, but at the same time, I wouldn’t shy away from them because that shows the true identity of where you’re at as a team comes from playing against the best.”

Fairborn Skyhawks

Coach: Larry Cox (1st year, 0-0)

2021 Record: 1-9; Points Per Game: 5.6 (Off.) 35.6 (Def.)

What to expect: Fairborn ended the season with its lone win and had a rough go due to two cancellations. Six of the top seven tacklers have all graduated.

Key Players: JT Smith, Jr., QB (2021 stats: 9-23 passing, 70 yards, TD, 2INT; 57 carries, 61 yds, 2 TD); Michael Wardle, Sr., QB (15-51, 176 yds, TD, 7 INT; 66 car., 62 yds, TD); Nathan Speakman, Sr., WR (12 receptions, 148 yds); Eithan Sorrells, Sr., DB (18tkls, 12 solo); Ethan Tousley, Sr., OL/DL; Dominique Johnson, Sr., WR (2 rec., 23 yds, 19 car., 11 yds, 11 kick returns, 303 yds);

Schedule

Aug. 19 — at Tecumseh — 7 p.m.

Aug, 26 — BUTLER — 7 p.m.

Sept. 2 — at Xenia — 7 p.m.

Sept. 9 — GREENVILLE — 7 p.m.

Sept. 16 — at Troy — 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 — PIQUA — 7 p.m.

Sept. 30 — at Stebbins — 7 p.m.

Oct. 7 — SIDNEY — 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 — at Tippecanoe — 7 p.m.

Oct. 21 — WEST CARROLLTON — 7 p.m.

https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_FairbornLogo.jpg

Senior Dominique Johnson (left) takes a handoff from junior JT Smith (right) during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11. The Skyhawks will kick off the season on Friday when it travels to Tecumseh. Fairborn’s first home game is August 26 against Troy.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_CMYKDSC_0026_edited.jpgSenior Dominique Johnson (left) takes a handoff from junior JT Smith (right) during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11. The Skyhawks will kick off the season on Friday when it travels to Tecumseh. Fairborn’s first home game is August 26 against Troy. Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Senior Dominique Johnson (right) sits up after making the tackle on a Beavercreek receiver during a scrimmage on August 11.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_CMYKDSC_0037_edited.jpgSenior Dominique Johnson (right) sits up after making the tackle on a Beavercreek receiver during a scrimmage on August 11. Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Senior Michael Wardle (19) throws a pass into the flat during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_CMYKDSC_0113_edited-1.jpgSenior Michael Wardle (19) throws a pass into the flat during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11. Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

Fairborn’s defense gets excited after recovering a fumble during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_CMYKDSC_0110_edited.jpgFairborn’s defense gets excited after recovering a fumble during a scrimmage against Beavercreek on August 11. Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

The Fairborn Skyhawks are almost ready to go for the 2022 season. Fairborn kicks off at Tecumseh on Friday.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2022/08/web1_CMYKDSC_0046_edited.jpgThe Fairborn Skyhawks are almost ready to go for the 2022 season. Fairborn kicks off at Tecumseh on Friday.Photos by Steven Wright | Greene County News

By Steven Wright

[email protected]

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.