Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Epilogue for 2010 Shamokin Indians

Now that the dust has settled and Shikellamy is the new District IV Class AAA champions, I would like to offer the good, bad and ugly of the Indian's 2010 campaign. 

There was a lot of good when you look at the program on whole.  Shamokin made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.  Penalties were drastically cut down. The offense produced a 1000-yard for the first time since 2005. There was much improvement on the offensive line.  The freshman program was eliminated but the program had good numbers from 7th through 12th grades. 

The bad was bad when it reared it's ugly head.  The Indians showed as much inconsistency and being consistent.  It seemed Shamokin was a different team on the road than they were at home only winning one game away from Kemp.  After a two touchdown lead, they had to hang on at Montoursville.  The Indian schedule was back end loaded. (You don't get to pick and choose) For the first time in a long time, Shamokin had some "easier" competition in the beginning of the season.  Even though they were winning, it didn't appear they were improving.

Ugly is ugly.  Shamokin went through a two-game stretch where they were outscored 99-7.  Kick in the Mount Carmel game, the first team offense disappeared for three games.  Some of this had to do with predictability.  The defensive backfield had major breakdowns all season and tackling on the whole defense at times was not up to par.  After watching many teams, good defensive backfields are luxury commodity.  In my opinion, it is a generation problem and not so much isolated to Shamokin.  Offensively, the Indians became a very predictable bunch in the end.

The hallmark of the Shamokin football program over the past 30 years hasn't been the great games or the great players but the head coaching shuffle.  Mr. Foor came to Shamokin as an outsider, but has poured a strong foundation.  If you want to define the season in a nutshell, look at the last game.  Any team that was beaten 44-0 could have laid down two weeks later and ended the season.  Shamokin was a first down away from beating the team that won the district.  You don't do that unless you have players that could believe they could do it.  It was a combination of the coaches and the kids working together. 

Most of the great programs around the state have experienced the agony of the big loss before tasting the big victory.  See at what happened to Southern Area, Selinsgrove and Manheim Central to name a few.  Shamokin can build on this defeat.

Being around this game for somewhat of 35 years as a student, fan and reporter, I have observed one thing.  Three teams in the Heartland Conference, who I like to refer to as the "Big Three" in Selinsgrove, Mount Carmel and Southern Area, have kids with one thing in common that give them a leg up on everyone else.  It is pride in the program and the uniform.  Being a Red Tornado, Seal or a Tiger is something bigger than themselves.  Take note all three have won championships under more than one head coach.

A Parade?

On Friday night the Shikellamy Braves went on a parade through their school district after winning the District IV Class AAA title from arch-rival Selinsgrove.  It was the first win over Selinsgrove since 1996.  Shikellamy has a few winning seasons in the last 3 decades.  These Braves worked hard to be on top.  I think it was a good move for the program and district.

Have Mercy!

A few seasons ago, the PIAA adopted a "mercy rule".  When a team is ahead by 35 points in the second half the clock doesn't stop except for timeouts and a change of possession of the football.  The idea was good, but I have seen too many games last much longer than they should and risk injury. It is not designed to keep in starters against the winning team 2nd or 3rd string unless there is a roster shortage.

Although there isn't any formal mercy etiquette, there is something about having some class.

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