The 2017 high school football season finally began last weekend with some solid defense and a seemingly impossible amount of points scored in the first 48 game-minutes of the season.
Some coaches walked away from their field of play with the joy of victory, while others had to take a second look at their teams and try to resolve whether the coaching staff had over-estimated their ability or underestimated their opposition.
Here is a quick look at news of the first week of the season and/or of the preseason.
Valley View vs. Lakeland
The rivalry between the Cougars and Chiefs is one of the hardest-fought on the schedule. Valley View’s George Howanitz and Lakeland’s Jeff Wasilchak are highly successful, but Howanitz had the team that lost last year’s overtime game between these two teams and came out a little more motivated.
“Offensively, we’re going to have to be able to score some more points,” said Howanitz, a former all-state player for the Cougars. “I think we have a lot of pretty good linemen back, so I’m hoping our running game will be a little stronger than it was last year, and our quarterback coming back will give us a lot of stability back in the backfield.”
The Cougars did score points — 63 of them, including 49 in the first half — and drilled the Chiefs, 63-14, as they rushed for 383 yards on 40 carries. Among those scoring for Valley View was Mason Kordish, the son of the late Randy Kordish, who was a football and wrestling star at Valley View.
Mid Valley vs. Lackawanna Trail
Dave Rebar’s Mid Valley team is coming off a fine season that was ended by Dunmore in the District 2 Class 2A semifinals. But the year ahead doesn’t figure to be an easy one as the Spartans had heavy losses due to graduation. This will be a challenge, but Rebar seems to have the Spartans headed in the right direction.
“We’re young, very young, so it’s just hanging in there, kids learning their plays,” Rebar said. “That’s the big thing because we are so young; we have ninth-graders and sophomores; so the big thing is getting them to know where they are going. Conditioningwise, we’re looking very good; strengthwise, good.”
Lackawanna Trail entered the game with high hopes, based on returning most of their linemen from last year’s district title team, and junior quarterback Nathan Rolka.
Mid Valley overcame a two-touchdown deficit to take the lead, but Rolka was outstanding, scoring three touchdowns, including the game-winner midway through the third quarter of the Lions’ 25-21 victory.
“I think Rolka has proven he can win. We’re looking for him to have a big junior season,” Lions head coach Steve Jervis said recently.
The remainder of the schools in the area played in games where there was no doubt who the dominant team was.
• Despite a 4-7 record last year, the Old Forge Blue Devils made their opener against Hanover Area a work of art. Of the seven touchdowns they scored, six went at least 28 yards in the 44-0 shutout.
• Carbondale has high hopes this season, and the experienced Chargers headed for Western Wayne to start the season.
“We have 17, 18 starters back, and we’re excited about their experience and the fact that we’re a senior-laden team, which we haven’t had in a long time,” Chargers head coach Larry Gabriel III said recently. “We feel that when your best players are the seniors, everybody else has to follow. We need to get out of the gates quick.” The Chargers were blanked, 35-0.
• The last area teams that opened were Riverside and Abington Heights, and both lost.
The Vikings fell to North Pocono, 42-19, scoring three touchdowns over the final 28 minutes.
Scranton Prep blitzed the Comets, 50-0.