CONKLIN, N.Y. – At this time last year, the Susquehanna Valley football team was preparing for a new challenge, playing at the Class C level.
Head coach Mike Ford said that the team would have a target on their backs after coming down from Class B, and the Sabers responded.
S.V. ripped off 13-straight wins, capping the year off with a state championship inside the Carrier Dome.
This year, the target has gotten even larger as the Sabers prepare to defend their title.
“Absolutely. You know, we’re not a mystery anymore, we’re not a surprise. People are aware of who we are, and it does put a big target on your back. Teams are going to be geared up to play us, in our section and beyond. So, we accept that challenge, and we know that every game is going to be a dog fight this year. They’re coming after us, and we’re going to have to step it up a lot,” said Ford.
One of the biggest strengths of the S.V. team from a year ago was their potent offense.
As a whole, the team tallied up over 600 points on the season.
With the departures of Jarred Freije, Ed Lavin, Billy Sheridan, and countless other pieces, people may expect a drop off in offense this year.
Not so fast though, because S.V. is welcoming back players at some of the most important positions on the field.
“We have a lot of experience on the line I think. Most of the running backs and all the linebackers have been playing for awhile. So, I think they know what to do,” OL/DL Mitch Enright said.
“They can expect a very good, experienced line, and some pretty good backs to run behind them,” says OL/MLB Pat Enright.
With a strong offensive line and running game, the Sabers should be able to continue putting points on the board.
The team also expects to have a strong defense again.
A group of younger Varsity players are coming up from a JV squad that gave up only 26 points total a season ago.
As far as overall expectations go, this season may come down to the veterans on the team using experience from last year to guide them through their schedule.
“We have a lot of experience on the line and with the backs. So, if things get tough or something, we can push each other. We know what to expect.”
“Later in the season, even in the beginning of the season, we’re just going to work hard, come together, and lead the younger guys out on the field,”
“I think it certainly helps to have the experience of being in that situation, those kind of games. We were fortunate to have the sophomores with us the last 5 weeks of the season last year. So, it gave them a head jump on varsity, and got them up to varsity speed a little bit. Then, we came in this year ahead of the curve from where we normally start because we do have so many kids that came up, and finished the last month and a half with us,” Coach Ford said.