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August 6, 2013

PREP FOOTBALL: Loss of 18 seniors leaves Aggies starting over (PHOTO GALLERY)

FAIRVIEW — The black clouds that hung over the Fairview football team this offseason weren’t going anywhere on Tuesday morning.

As if losing an overwhelming 18 seniors wasn’t enough, the Aggies were welcomed to their second day of fall practice by a steady dose of drizzle.

But storms — as small as they may be — cannot last forever. Clouds eventually clear. The sun eventually shines. Life goes on as normal.

Roster overhaul or not, coach George Redding is confident there is still plenty of sun to be shone on the Purple and Gold football program.

“I definitely do. I think we’ve got a really good group of seniors, and I like where those guys are at in their leadership abilities right now,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of new faces, but what I like is those older guys have taken them under their wing. They’re kind of saying, ‘Here’s where we’ve got to be. Here’s at what level we’ve got to play at. This is how you’ve got to produce in order for us to compete.’ I think they’ve done a great job of that in the last couple of days at camp.”

Some of the seniors Redding was referring to were C.J. Waters, Christian Seals, Riley Howse, Ethan Widner and Adam Johnson. Coincidentally, those first three names are staples on the offensive line. Throw junior Cody Nichols into the mix, and Fairview is returning four of five starters to the unit.

Those hosses up front will have a new man to protect behind center in Hayden Maples, a junior faced with the tall task of replacing All-State stud Luke Bailey. Before Bailey, the position was owned by Trett Hardman, now a tight end at Samford, leaving Maples two pretty big pairs of shoes to fill at quarterback.

“It feels great. I’ve been waiting a long time for it,” Maples said of taking over the Aggie offense. “Everybody is going to expect a lot of you no matter who comes before you. You just gotta do what you gotta do and do what you’re supposed to do.”

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