While Ethan Fabrizius is an important cog in the Manhattan High football team’s dominant defense as a starting safety, the senior also sees the field on special teams at a position far less flashy.
In a spot that only gets attention when a mistake is made, Fabrizius continues to hone a craft he’s been practicing since his days playing youth football.
He’s Manhattan’s long snapper.
“Ever since I was young and started playing, I decided I wanted to long snap,” Fabrizius said. “Troy Ward’s dad is actually who taught me how to long snap, and just to make sure to get a good snap every time. If you snap it over his head, you’ve got a problem.”
While the position doesn’t come with much glory, Fabrizius has been working at it for years now. Regardless of how the position is perceived, Schartz is glad to have a reliable athlete at the position, which is clearly more important than it gets credit for.
“He’s a back up running back for us and he’s also our long snapper, which is very important,” Schartz said. “He’s been our long snapper for the last two years and he’s done a nice job for us. He’s got a lot of talent there.”
What Fabrizius is really known for is his tackling ability as a safety, a position he’s locked down since last season as a junior. This season, he was elected a team captain and continues to help lead one of the Centennial League’s top defenses. Schartz said he appreciates Fabrizius’ character as much as his football talents.
“First and foremost, Ethan is a good person,” Schartz said. “He was elected a captain by his teammates, and that’s an honor when your peers show that type of respect for you, and he’s earned it. Ethan’s a good student and he’s also a good football player.”
At 6-foot and 180 pounds, Fabrizius isn’t the biggest guy out on the field, but his instincts as a tackler and his abilities in coverage have made him an asset to the Indians’ defense.
“That’s the strength of this football team,” Schartz said. “We have a number of guys that aren’t the biggest, but they’re pretty talented. Ethan fits that mold and he’s capable of playing multiple positions, which he does for us on this team.”
In addition to his work on defense and special teams, the senior also has played in a back-up role on offense.
Last week against Topeka West, Fabrizius scored his first two touchdowns of the season.
Fabrizius doesn’t typically get the ball much, even when he enters the game on offense in certain formations, though Schartz said he may see more time offensively, especially in light of recent offensive struggles.
“He got some more playing time last week at running back because we used our double-tight T set, which he is in, and he got some time at H-back,” Schartz said. “And he did a nice job. He’s talented, and as you get along through the season, you need extra bodies to step up and make plays for you, and there’s no doubt that Ethan has that capability.”
While he admits offense is fun, Fabrizius said defense is his bread and butter.
“I prefer defense, I’ve always liked to hit people and tackle,” he said. “Playing safety, you’re in charge of all the (defensive) backs and you’re always helping out with the whole defense. So I’m trying to be a leader back there and communicate and get the defense lined up.”
Fabrizius said the toughest part about playing safety comes when teams have game-changing receivers that are hard to keep up with and keep covered.
“It’s tough when you get fast receivers and guys,” he said. “You have to stay with them.”
Outside of football, Fabrizius is an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing. The senior also plays baseball in the spring, though he admitted he enjoys football more.
“I like baseball a lot, too,” Fabrizius said. “But I like football better.”
Manhattan travels to Topeka for a matchup with Shawnee Heights, with kick off set for 7 p.m.