1-Can you briefly explain how the co-op between Clymer Central/Sherman/Panama came to be and why it is only for football? Sadly my state, Ohio does not allow this.
So, back in 2015, all 3 schools realized that there just weren’t enough numbers to maintain individual programs. We each graduate between 30 and 40 kids per year. At that time (thankfully) 8-man football hadn’t really materialized around here, so merging was the solution to saving football in all 3 communities. We are now merged in football, cross-country, track and field, and this spring, baseball will be merged for the first time.
2-How hard has it been if it has been hard getting all of the kids on the same page?
The kids have always been the easiest part of the merge. They just want to play football. I will say this- we didn’t get full player buy-in to our program until about midway through our 2nd season (in 2016).
3-One thing I have noticed while covering you is that you seem to be able to get a lot of different players in the game. Do you believe that has played a part in keeping the non-starters a little more interested and has helped them step in when it is their time to start?
As a coaching staff, we’ve really tried to make a concerted effort to get everyone involved, even if it’s on the extra point team. I think it definitely keeps kids more invested if they can take ownership of a role on the team, no matter how large the role is. We’ve also been fortunate the past few seasons in that we’ve been in a position in a lot of games to get our 2s and 3s time in the 2nd half.
4-Coaching takes a lot of hours as most of us have been able to learn. Other than the hours what is the toughest part of coaching?
This is a great question. I absolutely love coaching football. I’d say the only real negative is the time away from my family. I have 3 young sons (5 and twin 3-year-olds), and it’s tough not seeing them as much as I’d like to in the fall. That was the silver lining in this pandemic craziness. Every day last fall (because there was no football in NYS), I’d come home from work and play outside with my kids. I’ve never been able to do that before. My wife is also pretty incredible. She definitely gets frustrated with my schedule sometimes, but she’s been so supportive. It’s impossible to do things the right way without a real understanding and supportive spouse. She deserves a lot of credit.
5-For the readers from states other than New York can you tell everyone what the price of a ticket is at your league games?
Free. We don’t charge admission to our games
6-Of all of your wins which one comes to mind first?
Another great question. There are a few, for sure. The State Championships were surreal. The state semifinal game in 2019 was the best game that I’ve ever coached in. We were down by 2 scores at the half and came back to win by 1 on a 2-point conversion in the 4th quarter against a REALLY good, well-coached team (Tioga-NYS Section 4). The sectional championship in 2019 was probably the most satisfying. We were playing an undefeated team that had beaten us soundly earlier in the season (Franklinville/Ellicottville), and most people didn’t give us much of a chance in that game. We had never beaten them prior to that game at New Era Field, and we shut them out, 22-0. The other one that comes to mind was the turning point for our program, back in 2016. We were playing Randolph in Sherman, and they are as successful as any program in the state (they won back-to-back-to-back state championships from 2012 to 2014). We beat them 41-6 and that was the day that I felt like we had arrived as a program.
7-On the other end of the spectrum. What loss kept you up the most?
We lost in the Section 6 semifinals in 2017 to Maple Grove (another very successful program in our area-they have won multiple state championships and were state runners-up in 2016 & 2017). They beat us 26-20 and went on to a state championship appearance. That ate at me for a long time-probably until our 2018 opener. I do think it made our guys hungrier for success, though. We started a lot of underclassmen in 2017 and those guys worked hard in the offseason and we ended up winning state in 2018. That was a tough loss, though.
8- What are your thoughts on playing out-of-state opponents?
I love the idea. New York state football doesn’t get a lot of love, relative to our neighbors in Ohio and PA. Football is football, though, and if you’re good, you’re good. I’d love to see where we stack up with programs our size in PA and Ohio. Good competition makes everyone better.
9-If, not football would you be coaching another sport?
I coached varsity baseball for 4 years. Football is a year-round job for me, now, but baseball is a great game, too.
10- Who is the one school that you want to play but have not been able to yet?
Well, it’s funny you ask. We’re going to play Southwestern for the first time in week 3, and I’ve always admired their program. They’re well-coached, and they have a great culture over there. I’m very excited about that opportunity. We also play Fredonia for the first time in week 5, and that’s my alma mater. That will be fun, too. Right now, I’m just focusing on our next opponent and trying to beat Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton on Friday night, but we’ve got a fun schedule, this spring.