By Thomas Grant Jr.

As a fan and the parent of a senior college prospect offensive lineman, Jennifer Barbrey is heavily invested in Airport High School football.

On Tuesday, she joined close to 30 other Lady Eagle mothers in getting an up close and interactive view of the program from its new head coach.

Shane Fidler and the coaching staff held a “Mom’s Clinic” at the gymnasium and stadium. For two hours, the moms were given a tour of the facilities, got firsthand game-time preparation experience, and even got to compete against each other in a 7-on-7 touch scrimmage.  

“I learned some defensive plays and offensive plays and came out here today to support the Airport Eagles and my son Dylan Barbrey is a senior and he’s graduating in December and we’re super proud of him,” said Barberry about her Appalachian State-bound son.

Such an important level of support is what Fidler has received since becoming head coach three months ago. In taking over an Eagles’ program which has not posted a winning season since 2019, Fidler has embraced the responsibility of returning Airport football to its former prominence.

“I’ve learned in my three months here on the job that people of Airport love their football team,” Fidler said. “There are people here whose grandparents were here. Parents, and business owners everywhere are all Airport people. They want this place to be really, really good again. It was for such a long time. It’s time to get it back to what it was. They want it there, so they’re buying in.”

Fidler also hoped the mothers found a “comfort level” in seeing how well their sons are taken care of both on the athletic field and in the classroom.

“I have a better idea of what he does,” Jennifer Barbrey said. “He could probably give me some advice because I don’t know what’s really going on. But I’m a supportive mom, so I’m out here supporting him.”

Airport officially opens preseason camp July 28. It will travel to Swansea for the Aug. 18 season-opener.

Free Football Clinic

Airport High School also held a Friday Night Lights Youth Camp with more than 230 youth ages 5-12 signed up to receive instructions in team fundamentals, conditioning and weightlifting.

Both the Youth Camp and Mom’s Clinic could become annual favorites.

“We are very pleased with how the community came out for our Friday Night Lights Youth Camp and our Moms’ Clinic,” Fidler said. “Both of these events were focused at connecting the Airport Football program and the people who support it.
“We look forward to continuing and growing these events as we look to continue the great tradition of Airport Football,” Fidler added. “There is no doubt that people in this area love their Eagles!”

All Photos by Thomas Grant Jr.