Valley Sports Report for Penn York Valley




SECTION IV FOOTBALL: MILLER BELIEVES SVEC HAS CHANCE TO CONTEND AGAIN IN 2017 (2017-09-01)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SPENCER — SVEC suffered heavy graduations losses from a 2016 team that reached the Section IV, Class C title game in the first year of the merger of the S-VE and Candor football programs.

Longtime coach Ron Miller believes the 2017 Eagles have a chance to be successful as well, but they need a few things to go right.

“We lost a lot to gradation,” said Miller. “We have a young team and there are a lot of question marks.

“If we’re going to have a good team, our strength is going to have to be character,” he noted. “We’re going to have to come together and fight for each other. We have to have a gang mentality.

“If we stay healthy and come together as a team, we can compete against every single team on our schedule.

“If we come together, we’ll compete,” added Miller. “If our inner-structure breaks down, it will be a long season.”

Miller believes his team will lean heavily on the running back tandem of senior Thomas Llewellyn and junior Christian Haynes.

“We have to keep our two runnings back healthy,” said Miller. “We don’t have much team speed, our two backs are our fastest guys.”

Llewellyn and Haynes will be running behind a line anchored by senior center Jacob Grier, who will be flanked by senior Noah Pierce and junior Ben VanGalder at guards, and senior Brenden Johnson and Elijah Davis at the tackle spots.

“We don’t have a big line, but we’re quick off the ball,” said Miller.

Junior Cameron Fitzgerald will start at wide receiver, and junior Nathan Mack will start at tight end.

The rest of the offensive positions still has players vying for time.

Junior Kyle Jelliff, and sophomores Kolden Foster, Alex Morse, and Barnett are in the mix at fullback.

The biggest battle has been at quarterback, where sophomore Cameron Doane and junior Wilson Cooper are still competing for job.

“Wilson Cooper was our back-up quarterback last year, but didn’t play much,” said Miller. “Cameron Doane was the quarterback on the modified team. Both of them need some experience.”

Despite the inexperience, Miller believes his offense will score points.

“We have enough skill guys to be effective,” he said.

The Eagles run the Wing-T, and Miller also likes to spread the field and throw the ball. He notes they won’t win with physical superiority.

“We’re going to try to run a play the defense is not covering,” he said. “If the defense is trying to take away something, we’ll find something else that works.

“It’s like a chess match, that’s how I look at it.

“Ive never had a team that’s been able to just come out an punch you in the face,” added Miller. “We’re going to take the what the defense gives us.”

VanGalder and Pierce will anchor SVEC’s 4-4 defense at the tackle spots, while Davis and sophomore Marcus Rypkema will start at defensive end.

Llewelyn and Nathan Mack will play outside linebacker, while Foster, Jelliff, Barnett, Morse are all competing for time at inside linebacker.

Fitzgerald will start at free safety, while Haynes will man one cornerback spot, and junior Caleb Vaow, junior Nick Yartym, and Noah Mack are in the mix for the other cornerback spot.

On special teams, Nathan Mack and Grier will handle the long-snapping duties.

Llewellyn will punt for SVEC, and Haynes is slated to be the place-kicker.

“Our kicking game is not a strength,” said Miller.

Llewellyn and Haynes are set to be the return men for the Eagles.

ON THE 2017 SCHEDULE
“We open with Groton and that game is a must for us,” said Miller. “The Groton game could be a barometer for our season.

“Our other non-league games are Notre Dame and Dryden,” added Miller. “We have a tough schedule.”

ON DIVISION IV
“Our division is going to be better this year,” said Miller.

“Newark Valley lost a lot, but they have a lot of players back who saw a lot of playing time because they had so many blowouts,” noted Miller. “They know the system … they don’t run many plays, but they run them well.

“They’re going to be good,” he continued. “Will they be as good as last year? I don’t think so, but they have the mindset to be good. They’re still the team to beat.

“I think Oneonta is the team to watch and could be one of the teams to beat,” added Miller. “They have a lot back … they run the read-option, no huddle and a spread offense with four receivers. They have a good running back returning, and their back-up quarterback, who was good enough to start last year, is back. They’re going to be tough.”


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