By Jake Shiner –
With a young but talented team that has seen a lot of success in the recent past, Comets football hopes for more this season.
“Penn Manor (football) is now looked at as a competitive program which is now respected around the county,” said head coach Todd Mealy.
In his five years coaching at Penn Manor, Mealy has already racked up 3 consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program. He believes this is because of the lessons he and the other coaches teach on and off the field and that these lessons will help them have a successful upcoming season.
Coach Mealy singled out Wilson as the toughest competitor this season.”Wilson is always the team to beat. They haven’t lost a game since 2008 in division play,” said Mealy.
All competition aside, Mealy admits, “There’s no doubt that we really enjoy coaching this group.”
He especially likes his more experienced players that he believes helped a lot in building the football program up to what it is now.
Senior football player Cody Stryker thinks they have a good team this year and hopes for a great season.
“We have a good mix of talent and a lot of experience at important positions,” said Stryker.
“We like our seniors, but this year we only have 9. The smallest group in my five years here,” said Mealy.
But the coach doesn’t see this as a scapegoat for poor performance this year.
“The 101st airborne was dropped in on D-day and they never had any experience and they were still successful, so inexperience isn’t an excuse for anything,” said Mealy, throwing in a bit of his history knowledge.
The team’s biggest concern this year is cutting down on turnovers, and is something the coaching staff is concerned with. Last year they went through a four game stretch where they committed 14 turnovers, resulting in a 1-4 record.
“Three turnovers, you’re guaranteeing a loss. Five and you’re gonna get killed,” commented Mealy.
According to the coach, inexperience won’t be a problem because of how they are teaching the young players discipline on and off the field to cut down on turnovers and improve their play.
Mealy says, “If we teach them to be disciplined outside of football they can apply that to football.”
This would also make them better people in general for life outside of the game that can make them successful in their adult lives.
Coach Mealy has high hopes for the future of Penn Manor football and says “We’ve come close to winning a section title, but we haven’t got there yet. We have to find some way to get Penn Manor a section title.
Sam Valentin also contributed to this article.