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Valley Sports Report
ATHENS — This is Year 22 on the sidelines at Athens for head football coach Jack Young, but he said the first day in pads Monday was just as exciting as ever.

“It doesn’t feel any different than Year 1, the first day in pads is still exciting,” said Young.

“We had a good summer,” he noted. “Last week, we had a really good heat acclimation week. We went late a couple of times, and had a good time, and finished the week with a Friday night practice, a swim in the pool, and some diving competitions.

“This morning was a little sluggish, but I can’t complain,” added Young. “These kids are working hard. I’m super-proud of them.

The Wildcats have good numbers again this year.

“We’re right at 45, and It’s possible we get a couple more,” said Young. “I would have loved to have hit 50 this year, but it doesn’t look like we’ll get there.”

The Athens’ roster will feature several new faces.

“We’ve had some transfer students,” said Young. “Luke Horton, Glen Romberger, Nate Polzella, and Austin Malanoski from Sayre, and Zachary Schultz from North Rome Christian.

“They’re here working their tails off,” he added.

As usual, Young said the focus of the preseason camp is fundamental.

“We know offensively we have a ton of weapons, and that we have to be solid up front,” he said. “Defensively, we’re trying to find a few pieces.

The bottom line is we’re focusing on fundamentals.

“We’ll probably get after it tomorrow, and see who can tackle, and be a little nasty blocking on the line-of-scrimmage,” noted Young.

“we’re just focused on the little things right now,” he added.

The Wildcats have just four more days of practice before the first scrimmage, and only four more after that before their first game.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” said Young. Fortunately, we had a good summer, and we had a good core of guys go to team camp.

“Offensively, we don’t have to worry too much about installing things.

“On defense, we’re just trying to be fundamental, and make sure we take care of the little things,” noted Young. “I don’t care who we’re playing … we need to be more fundamental than the next guy.”

Athens will travel to Susquehanna Saturday for a scrimmage, and will open the 2022 season at home on Aug. 26 against Executive Education Academy.


IN PHOTO 1: Athens coach Jack Young. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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