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Faces in KS: Mason Fairchild

Mason Fairchild is one of the top football players in the state headed into 2018 season.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Jun 25, 2018

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Mason Fairchild has seen and been a part of Andale football throughout his entire life. His father, Tim, is the Indians’ longtime defensive coordinator. Mason is one of seven siblings from a highly athletic family. Tim played college football and his wife, Tina, participated in collegiate volleyball.

His two older brothers, Matt and Grant, were former Andale standouts. Matt played at Missouri Western and Hutchinson Community College after being  Top 11 pick for Andale. Grant, who graduated this past May, signed with Pittsburg State. The oldest sister, Adrian, played soccer at Independence Community College and Division II East Central (Okla.) University. Mason has two younger sisters.

“Pretty fun,” Mason said. “We are always competing with each other.”

Tim assisted longtime coach Gary O’Hair as he won three state titles with the Indians in 2006, ’07 and ’14. O’Hair announced he was moving to New Mexico, and Dylan Schmidt, a former Andale graduate and assistant, took over last year.

“As a child, all you dreamed about is playing for the Indians on Friday night,” Fairchild said.

In 2016, Andale lost in the first round of the playoffs and finished 8-2. It marked the earliest exit for the tradition-rich program since 2004. The Indians permitted 20.3 points a contest. Last year, Andale, which was outside of the top-5 most of the season, finished 12-1 and took Class 4A, Division I runner-up behind Bishop Miege.

“We just came out with a chip on our shoulder, because we don’t want the same thing to happen as the year before, and we wanted to make it to that state game,” Fairchild said. “And obviously it worked pretty well for us.”

Andale’s defense, known for turnover creation last fall, yielded a marked improvement to 11.3 points a game, while the offense averaged 39.8 points a contest.

“Everyone ingrained in their head ‘do their assignment, do their assignment,’ and we had two philosophies – fly to the football, and take the ball away,” Fairchild said. “And I think we did that really, really well last year.”

Grant and Mason were key pieces for the Indians’ four-win improvement. Last year, Schmidt, Carroll’s Dusty Trail and Colgan’s Shawn Seematter led teams to a title game in their first fall as head coach. It marked the first time the feat occurred in any classification since 2014.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been awesome, and it’s been fun,” Fairchild said playing for the Indians.

Grant earned a Shrine Bowl nomination as a tight end/linebacker, while Mason is one of Andale’s key returning pieces. Grant and Mason finished fourth and fifth in Class 4A shot put in the spring, respectively. Their younger sister, Katelyn, took sixth in the discus and fourth in the javelin. Katelyn was one of the top freshman javelin throwers in the United States this spring.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end/defensive end will enter his third year as a starter. He has four official offers from Kansas, South Dakota, South Illinois and Central Missouri. He committed to South Dakota over the weekend. Fairchild can bench 275, clean 345 and squat 420 with a 4.78 40-yard dash.

A 4.0 student, he is undecided on a college. KU was the first to offer when assistant coach Bill Miller came to Andale in person and offered Fairchild on the last day of school.

“It just surprised me a bit,” Fairchild said.

Fairchild broke his arm in Week 2 and didn’t return until a key district win against Buhler in Week 7.

“To be able to play and win that game was just amazing,” Fairchild said.

Even with missing time, he still earned first team all-state tight end and was a non-senior pick at Sports in Kansas. He is part of a corps that returns six offensive and four defensive starters.

“Win state – that’s pretty much it,” Fairchild said. “Put all the individual things aside and just work and focus on the team.”

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This feature is presented by Tim Fairchild Construction. Proud to support Andale HS Football

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Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas on Fairchild

"He is one of those kids that definitely stands out and it helps with his size. Not only in the weight room and football field, but he has a 4.0 GPA. He's a kid we have had our eye on in recruiting since last fall and have followed throughout the last spring in track and field. He missed some time last year but he was dominating enough in games he played to make our Non-Senior team last fall. He may have been surprised by the Division I interest but we weren't. South Dakota landed a hidden gem and it was nice to see KU jump on this kid before anyone besides media like ourselves were talking about him. He's big, fast, athletic and strong. Andale has a heck of a tradition and it's kids like him that make their athletic programs strong in all the sports. I love the fact that he doesn't specialize. It seems like the kids we see every year at Andale on relays, throwing events, running events etc are always big contributors every fall for the football team. I am looking for a big fall for him and their program once again." 

Q&A w/ Fairchild:

How did you get involved in football?

My dad’s been a coach at Andale for quite a few years so I started playing football here in second grade.

What are your goals this season?

To win a state championship.

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?

Definitely.

What makes you such a force as a player?

My size and physicality.

What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?

It’s amazing, at home games our bleachers are always filled because everyone in and around Andale loves Indian Football and the bleachers are filled pretty well at away games and our crowds are always great and our student section is amazing.

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?

Because we play great team football that’s fun to watch and our student section is always pretty interesting.

Who are other key players on your team?

Ethan Baalmann, Ethan Shackelford, Cooper Venjohn, Devin Marx, Sawyer Simon, Cayden Albers, Mac Brand, and Easton Hunter just to name a few.

Favorite thing about football?

The camaraderie and the bonds that you make with the guys you play with.

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that?

I also do basketball and track, I was injured most of last year in basketball but I made it back to play a bit at the end of the year and in track I got 5th at state in shot put.

What is it like to play for your coach?

Coach Schmidt is a great coach to play for. He’s the leader you need in a head coach and he’s a fun guy as well.

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better and plans to get better this summer?

We started our summer weights a few weeks ago and our offseason football stuff is starting up.

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?

I’m seeing some interest from some colleges and I’m committed to South Dakota.

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?

Hanging out with friends.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Successful, happy, and hopefully coaching.

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?

Chemistry, I can sometimes wait until the last moment to do homework but it gets the job done, 4.0.

Who is your role model?

I have 3, my dad, Tim, and my two brothers, Matt and Grant.

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?

Little Bear.

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?

One of my nicknames is King Arthur.