Southmoreland football players, from the ages of 7 to 18, watched eagerly as varsity head coach Dave Keefer paced the stadium singing along to Joan Jett and chanting what parents and players alike are saying is the new slogan for Southmoreland football.
It’s a good day to get better.
The first of many clinics was held recently at Russ Grimm stadium for Southmoreland football players of all ages. For two hours in the chilly morning, coaches and 53 players from every division came together to focus on the fundamentals of the game and create a sense of cohesion and community within the growing program.
“There’s been a disconnect between the teams and difficulty transitioning,” said varsity head coach Dave Keefer. “We are trying to make a singular program with familiarity and a smoother transition between teams.”
“We’re trying to create excitement,” said assistant varsity coach and offensive coordinator Tim Bukowski. “We wanted to include the midgets and middle school boys so they can get used to us as coaches and learn from how the varsity kids work when they step on the field.”
Attendance is expected to grow as more all-inclusive practices are held, and if the crowded high school weight room after school Monday through Friday is any indication, the boys agree that every day is a good day to get better.
“We’re taking varsity back to the fundamentals of the game,” said Coach Bukowski. “We’re starting them young so they know our expectations and while this clinics were my idea, the whole varsity staff was immediately excited about it.”
Coaches from all age groups are beginning to build a sense of accessibility and unity within the program, showing how much they care about the growth and success of the program. Southmoreland is heading into its second season under head coach Dave Keefer, and now a new middle school staff has been chosen in hopes of building success at an even younger level.
New middle school head coach Adam McCune is no stranger to the program. For the 2018 season, he was a videographer and Hudl coordinator for the varsity team and has been coaching midget football at Southmoreland for several years, including leading the way to a Division I championship in the WGYFL (Wesmoreland/ Greene counties Youth Football League).
“My staff will include myself, Tubby Hall, and on more that will be named at a later date,” said Coach McCune. “One thing that sets us apart from every other program is that we will also have our varsity staff on hand every day. We truly want to be one unit from 7th grade through 12th.”
Coach McCune and his staff could not agree more with the new slogan and will be working hard with the boys in the off season to recover from a no-win season in 2018.
“I expect us to get better every day,” said Coach McCune. “We have committed a lot to offseason workouts, and the kids have really come ready to work. I expect us to give ourselves the opportunity to win every time we take the field.”
With preseason workouts in full swing and more unity in the program than Southmoreland football has seen before, there is a lot of excitement within the community and high hopes for the 2019 season.
“I appreciate what Jason has done for us” said coach Keefer. “But Adam has been with the youth program for a while, and his dedication to Southmoreland football will help a lot with the kids transitioning between age levels.”
Coach McCune believes paying attention to the youth program will benefit the varsity program in the future.
“I want to change the perception of Southmoreland football, and I think culture change has been huge for us in the past couple of years.” said Coach McCune. “I want kids to be breaking down the doors wanting to be a part of the program, and I want them to know that we are more than just their football coaches. We are preparing them for life outside of football. I want to see boys that wear the name Southmoreland across their chests succeed on and off the field using tools they learned from playing the greatest sport in the world – football.”
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