The seniors and third-year starting quarterback Talon Fisher’s experience will be the difference, Krause said.
Fisher threw for 1,381 yards and six touchdowns last year as a sophomore, recording the fourth most passing yards in the GMC while also adding 550 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. His freshman year, he relied on his athleticism to move the offense with 915 yards rushing and just 401 yards through the air.
“It’s super important in our conference to have a trigger man like that,” Krause said. “Two seasons under his belt, the fact he played as a freshman, it’s all paid off. We’ve worked through those times and now he’s an experienced quarterback, and I think people are going to be surprised to see he’s develop nicely as a passer, not just an athlete back there.”
Krause said the senior leadership around Fisher and across the board gives Fairfield a well-balanced squad.
Fisher is helped by the return of three senior starters on the offensive line, including center Dalton Davis, guard Harrison Mensah and tackle Collin Robinson. All three played an integral part in the offense last year, Krause said.
Running back Jordan Jackson (West Virginia) also returns after rushing for a team-leading 973 yards and six touchdowns last year.
Defensively, Krause said the box will be loaded with players like senior linebackers Kavi Bivins and Ray Coney (Army) and three senior defensive linemen James Thomas, Aamir Rogers and Josh Maupin. Cornerback Josiah Jackson (West Virginia) and free safety Ki’Arran Love are seniors in the secondary. Senior athlete Isaiah Glover also will be one to watch on both sides of the ball.
“It’s a really good experienced bunch across the board,” Krause said. “It’s a great senior class, good leadership, a lot of good players in that class, so we feel good where they’ve directed the program to this point. We expect a lot from them, and it’s a good bunch.”
Competing for the job to start opposite of Josiah Jackson are two newcomers: Deshawne Crim, a standout on the basketball team with Rogers and Coney, and Xavier Isaacs, who is coming off a solid junior track season. Crim started Fairfield’s preseason finale Friday against LaSalle.
Junior linebacker JoJo Baker, a transfer from Hamilton, and receiver Noah King, the only sophomore expected to play, are other new players to watch as Fairfield opens Thursday at home against Huber Heights Wayne.
“It’s super important we take it one week at a time,” Krause said. “It’s a tough schedule, the conference is loaded top to bottom, more than any other year I’ve been in the conference. We open with Wayne, ranked in every poll in the state and 8-3 last year and obviously have good players with Ohio State and UC commits. We’ll see how we perform and evaluate from there and hopefully we keep improving every week.”