Panthers back on right track

September 07, 2000

Panthers back on right track

By AL DITZEL / Staff Writer

HANCOCK - Five head football coaches debuted in the area last year and combined for five wins - Hancock's Bill Sterner had four of them.

And, if things continue as expected, the Panthers might actually finish the 2000 campaign with a winning record. Still, Sterner will not come right out and say that.

"Our goals are to have the kids play better football each week,'' he said. "We had a real good weight season, a real high percentage of our kids were dedicated to the weight room.

"Our strength coach, Todd McCarty, was the man most responsible for that,'' Sterner said. "You can't lift all the time but we had some kids who stayed after the rest of the kids, leading by example, and we decided to name them our team captains this year.''


Seniors Christopher Dobrzanski, Allen Murphy, Tim Vann and Josh Wills have been elected to lead the Hancock 22 onto the field this year.

The 22 refers to the number of kids on varsity.

"We play a full JV schedule,'' said Sterner, who saw his junior varsity team go 2-2-1 last year, including a 14-8 win over Fort Hill. "This year, we'll play eight games and we'll have 23 players on that level. That helps build a program. We didn't have a JV program two years ago.''

Adding the varsity and JV players together, that's 45 of the 71 boys attending Hancock on the football team.

"This isn't something that we brag about, but we're happy with that kind of percentage,'' Sterner said. "The kids are very enthusiastic.

"Last year's group of kids was very special, but this year's group is just as special,'' Sterner said. "They fed off the seniors from last year's team and have come in with great attitudes.

"We had a great weight training, a great first week and then we didn't do as well as we had hoped in a scrimmage against Williamsport,'' Sterner said. "Instead of the kids getting down on themselves, they came with the attitude of just working to make themselves better.

"Instead of hemming and hawing, they said, "OK, what can we do make it better next time.' There isn't much more you can ask from the kids.''

Of the 22 varsity players, 11 return with some varsity experience, including Josh Hixon, Justin Moore, Jake Pittman, Robert Shoemaker, Jim Bowman, Derek Yost and Ray Curtis.

"We have to play iron-man football here,'' Sterner said. "Still, that's better than in years past when we couldn't practice a full offense against a full defense. There are times when we still can't, but we never could before.

"Some of our kids will play both ways, but we feel like we have some kids who could also play if needed.''

Sterner said he's also proud of the fact that some former Hancock players are coming back to coach, like Ron Trail, Todd Ruppenthal and McCarty. The rest of the staff includes Brian Beck, Dave Faith and R.T. Myers, as well as athletic director John Blake, who is the JV head coach.

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