Camp opens for area teams
The first day of the fall sports season generally means the start of the school year, so if Monday meant anything for schools across the state of Pennsylvania, it would probably translate into the summer being over.
For coaches throughout the Valley though, this is the exciting time of year where players get back together and test their fitness, skill and desire in preparation for season openers nearly three weeks away.
With the high school football season just around the corner Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom and Liberty football coaches each had similar sentiments after day one of play.
Freedom's 2011 season was a memorable one for the Patriots, as they savored a regular season ending victory over Liberty en route to clinching a berth in the District 2-4-11 subregional 4A playoffs.
Head coach Jason Roeder feels some of that momentum has spilled over to his new troops as they opened camp this week.
"I think last year's team got us back on track to where we want this program to be," Roeder said in reference to last year's 8-3 team that lost to Easton 35-28 in the first round of the playoffs. "We want to build off what we did last year and take positive steps forward each day in camp.
"Camp is short that you can't afford to take steps back."
Bethlehem Catholic hopes year-two under head coach Joe Henrich is a positive step forward as well. The Hawks struggled during a 3-7 campaign a year ago, but Henrich feels that a second year of his system should translate to better results.
"We're pretty much doing the same thing we did a year ago and that's a good thing for a lot of our kids," Henrich said. "Having that familiarity helps with the transition process, but we also graduated 15 kids that played a lot for us last year, so we have a lot of new faces that are learning the system too. But anytime you can have continuity, it adds to the team chemistry."
Liberty's Dave Brown is undergoing his own transition, as the Hurricanes will have plenty of fresh faces on the field this year, one of which is former Pius X all-state wide receiver Boise Ross.
With Liberty's offensive identity being altered with the graduation of key skill positions, Ross is the one individual that Brown expects a lot from.
"Ross brings some of the attitude and swagger that this team needs," he said. "We need leadership this year and I think he can fill a big role for us. Plus, he's a very talented player."
Day one is always an exciting point of the season, but the daily grind is what all coaches will keep their eyes on as the days and weeks progress.
"Day two, three and four is when you really see how guys will hold up," said Brown. "You just have to hope that it doesn't take too big of a toll on the guys."