Junior Zac Fearon wants to leave no doubt this season.
After the Seneca running back and safety spent the majority of his varsity time on the defensive side of the ball in the last two years, he has entered the 2022-’23 season with what he admits are lofty goals.
Ahead of the team’s season-opening game at Sterling this year, Fearon made sure he wrote out his goals and placed them where he would be reminded of them every day.
“They’re actually the screensaver on my phone right now … I want to be an All-State safety and an All-State running back,” he said. “I want to be committed to where I’ll go to college by 2023, and I want to lead the district in both tackles and touchdowns.
“I just want to be the best possible safety and running back that there can be, because that’ll mean I’ve done the most that I can to help my team win.”
After a 40-0 victory over Sterling — Seneca’s first season-opening victory since the 2018-’19 season — it’s safe to say Fearon and the Golden Eagles have left no doubt that this year’s team may be different from those in recent years at Seneca.
Fearon rushed for 117 yards on just 10 carries, including four touchdowns, in the win, while also contributing to a shutout performance on defense. He believes he was both stronger and quicker during the game, thanks to a tedious offseason routine he followed to prepare for what could be his breakout season.
“I really put a lot more work and time into everything that I did last season, both in the weight room, but also with a speed trainer every week,” Fearon said. “So I was focusing on both aspects. Right away, I just felt faster out there than I think I had been the first two years, and I also feel like a more physical back as well, which helps.”
Fearon’s 117 yards in the single game so far this season are more than what he had amassed over 26 carries during his freshman and sophomore years at the varsity level. After the graduation last year of Adam Klenk, who took the majority of touches at running back last season for Seneca, head coach Bill Fisher said it was expected this season that Fearon would get the full opportunity early on to show what he could do in the backfield.
It had been a long time coming, for Fisher, to finally see Fearon leading the backfield for the Golden Eagles.
“The good thing about our community is that our youth teams play and practice on our fields, so I’ve had the chance to watch him play for a while now leading up to him getting to Seneca, and you could just tell that he was going to be a special football player one day,” Fisher said. “We knew 100 percent going into the season that he was going to be our go-to guy offensively.
“Our offense revolves around him quite honestly,” the coach added. “We want to find as many ways to get him the ball as possible.”
After taking a 34-0 lead at halftime during the season opener, Fisher said the team opted to get carries to other players out of the backfield, limiting Fearon to just 10 carries after an incredibly productive first two quarters. In more competitive games, Fisher is eager to see what Fearon can do with a full-game workload of carries.
The Golden Eagles start their season with four straight road games before playing at home on Friday, Sept. 30, against Cherry Hill West. The season-opening victory, both Fisher and Fearon hope, will be one that can power Seneca to a stronger year than the 3-7 and 2-5 records of its two most recent seasons.
“Coming off a 3-7 season, it feels like we kind of took our lumps last season with a pretty large underclassmen roster, so we were really excited coming into this season to start off on the right foot,” Fisher said. “These kids are excited about already being 1-0.”
“It’s the first time I’ve been 1-0 in high school, and that’s something that should give us all a lot of momentum, which is such a big thing in high-school football,” Fearon said.