While the 2018 Southmoreland football season is still several months away, the team has already taken to the weight room with a new coaching staff in place, new positive mindset, and even a new section taking effect
“The guys are already putting in time in the weight room” said head coach Mr. Dave Keefer. “I want to build excitement and numbers now before the season is even close.”
At least 15 to 20 boys have been consistently showing up for after school workouts including eighth graders being bused over from the middle school supervised by Mr. Keefer and assistants coach Frederick and coach Mark Keefer.
“It takes consistency to build a program” said Mr. Dave Keefer. “It takes a staff that is accessible and developing the team in the off season. Right now we’re focused on gaining numbers.”
A banner has been hung in the weight room reading: “Beat the Vikings; Hustle, hit never quit” in recognition of the upcoming season’s first scrimmage against the long standing Southmoreland rival, Mt. Pleasant.
“I want that sign in there for the guys when they are working out,” said Mr. Keefer. “That way it makes them work that much harder because our first game is such a big one.”
Returning starters to the team include Ronnie Robinson, Lane Vance, Ryan Szolek and Chase Calhoun among others. However, the team will be losing starting quarterback Jaden Datz.
“It would obviously be nice to have Datz back next year,” said Mr. Keefer. “He’s a good leader and he knows what he’s doing, but I’m pretty happy with the mix of talent we have.”
This year, there are plans to integrate the midget football program in the district with the high school team in hopes of solidifying a single Southmoreland football program rather than individual teams.
“I want continuity between the programs,” said Mr. Keefer. “They will have independence from my program, but I want them to have some knowledge of my terminology and know what I expect both offensively and defensively.”
The midget league joined a new conference, the WGYFL (Washington/Greene Youth Football League) in 2016 and has since gained two championships and several play off positions within the league among the three age divisions.
“I really, really happy about the midget’s success,” said Mr. Keefer. “I’ve talked to some people from the youth program, and I think we have a good understanding. I want to have a football clinic at the high school with our boys this summer for a few days to bring some interest and excitement.”
With the new section in mind, coach Keefer has an optimistic feeling about the upcoming season and the direction of the Southmoreland football program in general in the coming years.
“We really like the section change,” said Mr. Keefer. “It gives us an opportunity to compete and maybe even make playoffs. I did make sure our first scrimmage of the year will be Mt. Pleasant though, so that will be an exciting game to put us into the season.”