Fairview Warriors football team will take the field one more time this season at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m., in the Class C eight-man State Championship against the Alberton-Superior co-op team.
Fairview head coach Levi Seitz understands that for these kids, it’s been a goal all of their lives to make it to the championship game and senior captain Jesse Selting couldn’t be more excited.
“It’s awesome,” he said. We’re pretty lucky to be in this position going to the state championship.”
Alex Shriver, fellow senior captain, is excited for the game, but he finds himself looking back on the season as well.
“It’s gone really fast, but it’s also been really enjoyable,” he said. “I’m just trying to take it all in.”
As for the third senior captain, Cody Asbeck, he can’t help but think what a great season this has been regardless.
“You can’t really ask for much more than the opportunity to play in the state championship, nonetheless in our senior year,” he said. “So, it’s good to end it on a good note.”
Both teams come into this game with high-powered offenses with Fairview averaging 61.5 points per game in a total of 10 games played and Alberton-Superior averaging 52.1 points per game in the 12 games they’ve played. They also both come in undefeated. Fairview is the number-one ranked Class C team in the state, while Alberton Superior is ranked fourth.
Fairview’s offense was dominant throughout the season, but the defense was just as stout, only allowing opponents 62 points total in 10 games and a 6.2 average on the year. The scoring differential between Fairview and their opponents so far this season is 615-62.
“If you looked at our defensive stats, they might be pretty shocking to some people,” Seitz said. “Our starters this year have only been scored on defense twice all year.”
Fairview reached the quarter-finals two years ago and lost in the semi-finals last year to Great Falls Central. This season feels different for Seitz because he knows his team has continually improved.
“First of all, I got to thank my assistant coaches who do a great job; not only are they smart assistant coaches, but they care,” he said. “But I would also say more so just the experience. They’ve been through some tough games, but they’ve only lost a few games in their career, but some of those were heartbreaking at the end of the season and I think that experience of not wanting that to happen again. I think this group of guys hates to lose more than they like to win.”
Many of the players on Fairview are two-way players, but one group has primarily remained consistent for the Warriors and Seitz gives a lot of the credit to the players on the offensive and defensive lines.
“Our offensive line is pretty much our offensive line with a few guys rotating,” he said. “They’re fresh when they come out for offense. On the defensive line, we got some long, athletic, strong guys that can get after the quarterback and stop the run.”
Seitz can’t pinpoint why this team is so balanced on each side of the ball, but one thing he is certain about this team is that they’re all playmakers.
“They all want to make the play,” he said. “On defense, they all want to make the play, but they also know the difference of not getting out of position trying to make a play. Same goes for offense, we’ve stressed this year of our receivers blocking downfield and it’s night and day from last year.”
Seitz sees a lot of improvement in this year’s team and he can’t say he’s surprised by any of it.
“Going into the season and throughout the summer, seeing how committed these guys were to getting in the weight room and we had a great group of guys go to camp,” he said. “When you only lose a couple guys from the year before and you make it to the semi-finals, you expect to at least get back there. Every year we have taken a step, so now that we have made it to the championship, we better get it done.”
Regardless of what happens in the game on Saturday, this season has garnered a lot of memories for all involved.
“Just being with the guys at practice, games, hanging out, it’s just been awesome this year,” Selting said.
Asbeck feels the same way.
“Just the guys,” he said. “Now reflecting on it, the grind we put in for it, all the offseason work and especially now that where we’ve made it where we are and just looking back on all the work we’ve put in up to this point.”
Shriver agrees, especially after the victories.
“The moments after the game where we just take it all in,” he said.
While they’re all looking back on the season and these last four years as a Fairview student and athlete, they still have that one goal in mind on Saturday and they’re ready for the challenge.
“Defense is going to be huge, they have a pretty solid team,” Selting said.
Shriver understands that this team on both sides of the ball needs to be prepared.
“We obviously have to move the ball on offense, but their offense is pretty dang good,” he said. “We just have to watch film and game plan for them.”
Asbeck sees the film sessions as an integral part of their success against Alberton Superior, and most importantly, just continuing what they’ve done all season
“We’ve been watching a lot of film lately and last week with Fort Benton, we knew what they were going to do before they did it,” he said. “We just got to keep watching film and continuing to execute the way we have been the last few weeks.”
Defensively, Alberton-Superior has allowed 307 points this year, averaging 25.5 points per game and Seitz knows his team needs to be clicking on all cylinders to win this game.
“I think our guys are ready for a close game,” he said. “They know that Alberton-Superior is a good team offensively and defensively. I know they bring a lot of different things to the table as far as their offense goes, which makes it a little difficult to prepare for.”
Fairview hasn’t dealt with adversity this year as far as with a close, competitive game, but Seitz and his guys expect this one to be a closer, so they’ll be prepared.
“We got smart guys and they get it,” he said. “I think these guys are willing to do whatever it takes to win. We expected our last four games to be close, so we go into it thinking we’ll start fast and we just try not to stop. They’re going to go into it with the same mentality.”
Seitz is anticipating and expecting at least half the town of Fairview will be attending the championship game on Saturday and he’s hopeful this team will put on a show with a win.
“We can go in there and do what we do and control the ball and don’t make mistakes, convert on our two-point conversions and just be ready for whatever their offense is going to throw at us.”
Fairview coach hoping for championship birthday present
Fairview head football coach Levi Seitz grew up a short distance from where his team is playing in the state championship game.
“Rocky Mountain College is only three blocks away from the house that I grew up in,” he said. Rocky is kind of my neighborhood and I know I’m going to have a lot of friends and relatives there and almost the whole town of Fairview.”
Seitz moved to Fairview four years ago in 2016 to accept a teaching position.
“In my time here, I have literally taught every grade,” he said. “I have taught kindergarten through 12th grade and it’s only my fourth year here. This year has been pretty constant for me as I’m teaching middle school social studies and technology and also elementary technology.”
Seitz went to college at the University of Montana in Missoula, where he received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in media arts, but football was also a subject he was passionate about.
During high school, Seitz admitted all he wanted to do was play college football, but he knew it was in his best interest to focus on school no matter how much he missed the game of football and the competition that comes along with it.
“I didn’t play in college. I thought about it, but I didn’t,” he said. “I played for Billings Senior and we went to the state championship in 2007 and lost to Helena Catholic after an onside kick. That’s another thing that I stress to our players about special teams because it can make a big difference.”
Combing the teaching and coaching profession together, worked out perfectly for Seitz.
“I always had a feeling I was going to be a teacher,” he said. “It’s the perfect job if you’re going to be a coach, to be a teacher is the perfect job because you’re on the same schedule with everybody. If I can’t be playing, I might as well and try and help guys who are playing and teach them what I know.”
Fulfillment comes in the same form for Seitz, whether it’s teaching in the classroom or teaching on the field.
“To just see them improve, just to see that growth, to see them commit to something is all part of it for me.”
Seitz turns 30 years old this Friday, Nov. 22, the day before the state championship and a win would be icing on the cake.
“I’m going to spend my 30th birthday driving to Billings and practicing getting ready for the big game,” he said. “All I want for my birthday is a win.”