SETH – There are various ways to view Sherman High School’s athletic program.
The Tide has been successful over the years as a Class AA school that has now been designated Single A. Those who consider that fact often insist that Sherman should “dominate” its Class A opponents in “every sport” because “they’re almost Double A.”
Realistically, however, there has been an adjustment period for the Tide that has not always resulted in overwhelming seasons. But Sherman softball finally made its first trip to the state playoffs last year at Vienna and veteran observers think the Tide athletic history will play a key role in improving the future records of all squads.
There’s no doubt Sherman has produced some top-quality football players over the years, at any high school level, and the Tide has dominated opponents on more than one occasion.
Obviously, Head Coach J.D. Fairchild enters the 2014 season hoping for improvement, a winning record and a shot at the playoff field after the regular season ends. He said he is “encouraged by the number of kids (more than 40) we have out. I think that’s a real good sign.”
Fairchild said the bigger number of athletes “gives us a chance to do some things we haven’t had the numbers to do in the past.”
The returning coach will be surrounded by a staff that includes Eddie Weikle, Brian Jarrell, Jaimie Barker and Brian Guthrie. Not around, however, will be long-time Sherman mainstay Jim Henderson. Henderson, who has coached various sports at Sherman over the years, opted to remain head softball coach while giving up his assistant’s job with football.
Henderson commented, “I will miss the regular ins and outs, but I’m still a Sherman man. I’ll be helping out in other ways, doing all I can to help Coach Fairchild and the Tide.”
SHS fans are anxious for a return to winning football at Sherman and Fairchild and staff share those goals.
“Of course, you always want to make the playoffs. Of course, you always want to win the state championship,” said the head coach. “I’m certainly not predicting a state title, but I think fans will like what they see this year.”
The season gets underway August 29 when an always-tough Tug Valley team comes calling. Fairchild said he thinks “fans will get a chance to really evaluate us then. I don’t mean that one game makes the whole season but I believe we’ll see how the squad looks that night.”
Former playoff contender Calhoun County is the destination September 5 for the well-traveled Sherman team. That means the long journey to Grantsville. Athletic officials at both Boone County Single A teams have bemoaned the absence of Class A opponents locally. High School consolidation has dramatically lowered those numbers in recent years.
Perhaps needing a week to rest, the Tide entertains Valley (Fayette) the following week at Seth. But it’s on the road again, as Willie Nelson sang, for Sherman on August 19. This time, it’s the three-hour bus ride to Glenville as Sherman takes on Gilmer County High.
Closer to home the following week, the Tide goes to Liberty (Raleigh) for their annual match-up. There’s a break in travel the weeks of October 3 and 10. On the first Friday, Independence visits the Tide. Then, on October 10, county rival Van, the other Class A team in Boone, comes to visit.
The always-difficult Man Hillbillies, under Head Coach Harvey Irons, will play host to the Tide on October 17.
Then, in keeping with the musical theme, Sherman will watch Buffalo “shuffle” into town on the last day of October for what is expected to a tough contest.
The season ends on November 7 when Meadow Bridge comes to town. By that time, Fairchild and others hope Tide fans will be pleased with the season’s outcome.
Although the head coach will not make season or playoff predictions, it is clear he and the team are focused on making the state field this time out. For a squad with a hallowed history, a trip deep into the Single A playoffs with be a just reward for longtime fans and former players alike.