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: Fairfax boosts roster depth - From The Burlington Free Press  ( 7755 )
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« : August 29, 2014, 01:59:47 PM »

Fairfax boosts roster depth
 Photo in Free Press

 FAIRFAX — Entering last year’s Division III high school football semifinals, BFA-Fairfax only dressed 17 players.

 By the end of their 40-6 road loss to Mill River, the Bullets were left reeling — and not just by the lopsided result. Linemen were forced to play out of position in the secondary when injuries left coach Mike Williams searching for players on the sidelines.

“We were teaching kids on the fly and that was the closest I’ve been from calling a game off,” Williams said. “They were physically much bigger than us and it turned into a safety situation for us.”

A reprieve, from the Vermont Princi­pals’ Association, might have solved Fair­fax’s depth concerns.

 Earlier this month, Fairfax’s waiver for additional players through the mem­ber- to-member initiative was approved by the VPA. Member-to-member agree­ments, a VPA policy since 2003, allows student-athletes to join another school’s sports program when their school doesn’t offer the sport.

 In Fairfax’s case, eight of the 33 play­ers on the football roster are from outside the school. The VPA waiver, granted on a one-year basis, extended Fairfax’s allot­ment of member-to-member players from 7 to as many as 11.

“We are trying to do whatever we can withourmember-to-memberprogramsto save (teams),” said Bob Johnson, the asso­ciate director of the VPA. “We are trying to help schools anyway we can.”

But of the eight, half are first-year football players from Lamoille. Fairfax also welcomes players from Enosburg and Highgate.

“We are not getting superstars, we are getting depth,” Williams said. “It’s an op­portunity for them to play football, that’s why they are here.”

The extra troops will better translate on the practice field, to potentially limit injuries that hurt Bullets down the stretch in a 2013 season that still produced a road playoff win and a 6-4 overall mark.

“All the kids want to be here and they are going to be great. It’s a numbers thing for us,” Wil­liams said.

 Bill Hogan of Lamoille, one of the holdovers from last year’s squad through the member-to-member agree­ment, was one of the linemen who shifted to the second­ary in the playoff loss to Mill River.

“All the coaches said I was the best player with a No. 60 that they’ve ever seen play cornerback,” said Hogan, in reference to the uniform number typically worn by linemen. “And then right after that they’d say because I was the only No. 60 they’ve seen play cornerback.”

Another returnee from member-to-member is junior Jacob Gallow, who moved to Highgate from Enosburg last summer but opted to stay with Fairfax for a third campaign. Gallow attends Missisquoi, which begins its first year of football with a JV program.

“I could have played for MVU, but I chose to play here,” said Gallow, likely the only starter of the eight member-to­member players. “I have a family over here, made some pretty good relation­ships with this team.”

Contact Alex Abrami at 660-1848 or aabra­mi@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aabrami5

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