MORRISBURG – National Football League Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi once said that an individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work.
Local football player Brody Fairbairn is taking that approach as quarterback for the Myers Riders junior varsity football club in Ottawa this season.
Fairbairn, 14, is backup quarterback for the team in his first season with them. The Riders play in the Ontario Varsity Football League, one of two youth football leagues for American football in Ontario. Fairbairn plays at the junior varsity level, which is for 14 and 15 year old players.
“Football is the ultimate team sport,” said Fairbairn. “Everyone has to do their job for it to be a success.”
His team finished the regular season with a record of eight wins and zero losses. They finished tied with the Etobicoke Eagles for first, but did not earn a quarter-final by in the playoffs due to point differential.
Last week the team hosted the Brampton Bulldogs for the league quarter-finals at the University of Ottawa, winning the game 48-14. This weekend (July 29th) they take on the Toronto Thunder in the semi-finals.
This is Fairbairn’s fifth season playing football. He started with the Cornwall Wildcats program before moving to the Cumberland Panthers last season.
Cumberland moved to the new Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) and Fairbairn had planned to go with Cumberland.
“We were approached to try out for the [Myers] Riders,” said Ian Fairbairn, Brody’s father. “He attended a few early try outs and decided to make the move.”
Making the team was not easy for Brody. Tryouts started in March with final cuts made in May.
“Everyone earns their spot,” said Brody.
This season he is backup quarterback but is logging a lot of playing time on the field. His immediate goal is to be the starting quarterback next season.
Fairbairn is in Ottawa up to five days a week including three practices per week. He also trains at the Ottawa Quarterback Academy two days a week.
Brody’s ultimate goal is to earn a college scholarship, playing football in the NCAA. After that, he would move on to pro football. However he has plans for a career after football as well.
“I would like to be a personal trainer or work in fitness,” Brody said.
After the summer football season, Brody will be going to San Diego, California, to take part in a quarterback camp run by Cree Morris. Morris is a quarterback coach who has worked with NFL quarterbacks including New Orleans Saints star QB Drew Brees. Brody met Morris at a football camp in Michigan.
“He was invited by Cree early in the spring,” said Tara Fairbairn, Brody’s mother. “Brody has been asked many times since.”
Outside of football, Brody attends St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall and will be going into Grade 10 this fall. He likes to play high school basketball as well. He played for the St. Joe’s football team during his Grade 9 year. Brody also likes to hunt with his father.
“I like to keep active.”