KENTON — As a youngster, Luke Fackler roamed the Kenton sidelines, working as the football team’s water boy and ball boy.
During those days, Fackler not only witnessed some explosive Kenton football teams, but he also watched his older brothers, Mark and Brice, wreak havoc on the gridiron. Both of his brothers went on to play football at Kent State University.
Along with watching his older brothers play, Fackler had the unique opportunity to watch his father (Brent) coach. Brent Fackler was a long-time defensive coordinator under legendary Kenton head coach Mike Mauk, before taking over the reins as the head coach in 2014.
When Luke Fackler got to high school, then he was the one who wreaked havoc on opponents, while playing for his father.
This past season as a senior, Fackler closed out his high school football career with a few accolades.
Fackler, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 210-pound linebacker for the Wildcats, led the Western Buckeye League in tackles this past season with 142.
This fall, Fackler was named the WBL Defensive Back of the Year. In the Northwest District, he received co-defensive player of the year honors in Division IV.
Those two honors helped Fackler be named The Lima News Dream Team Defensive Player of the Year.
His father was named WBL Co-Coach of the Year with Wapakoneta’s Travis Moyer this past season. Kenton shared the WBL title with Wapakoneta.
Football has been a way of life for Fackler.
“My first year on the sidelines, I was in kindergarten,” Fackler said with a grin. “It was crazy, because every game we played in, no matter what, the stadium was always packed. It was just awesome to be in that moment. As a little kid, you weren’t really thinking as much about those things. You were just doing your job on the sideline and hanging out with some of the guys.”
Fackler noted that being the younger brother, meant he had to pay his dues.
“With me being the younger guy – Brice is six years older and Mark is eight years older – there were a few years when they were able to beat me up and pick on me. … It was very competitive,” he said with a smile.
“Mark was a middle linebacker in high school, just like I was. Then, he transitioned to defensive end at Kent State. Brice was a free safety and also was a wideout in high school. Then he went on to play tight end at Kent State.”
This past season, Kenton was 8-3 overall and 8-1 in the WBL. The Wildcats notched their first league title since 2013. They lost to Cincinnati Indian Hill in the first round of the playoffs.
“It was really big,” Fackler said in reference to Kenton winning the WBL crown. “In 2015, we had a 2-8 season. I think from about 1987 up to about that year, we had winning seasons. And to have a WBL championship this season, was really big for our program.”
Fackler said there was no extra pressure playing for his father. His brother Brice is the defensive backs coach at Kenton.
“It wouldn’t be any different if the coach wasn’t my Dad. He was never, technically, my coach until my sophomore year, when I started playing varsity,” Fackler said.
Fackler also played on the offensive side of the football.
“Last year, I had to play a little bit of O-line, when they needed me,” he said. “This past season, I had to play both ways. I was able to get rotated in with another kid on the offensive line, but I played defense the whole time.”
Fackler gives a great deal of credit to his teammates for his personal success.
“It’s crazy to be able to have those honors,” Fackler said. “I know that I put in a lot of hard work, but receiving those honors is amazing. I definitely could not have done it without the help from the other players. Our defensive line – I could not do my job without them, for sure. Then, the defensive backs – they’re the ones forcing the football back to me. It was about everyone else doing their jobs.”
Fackler would like to play football at the college level. He wants to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. He also plays basketball and baseball.