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End Zone Seat: Autumn's Heroes Take the Field

Where did the summer go?

It seems like just yesterday the Wyalusing Valley High School baseball team lost its PIAA playoff game in Reading to end the spring sports campaign.

Yet, here we are on the eve of another start to the high school football season.

Not to mention, the opening of the girls' soccer, volleyball and cross country seasons.

Wyalusing golfers have already put three matches into the books.

I have a feeling that the "Ram Nation" will have something to cheer about this fall.

Last autumn was a bummer for the Green and Gold with only the cross country teams posting winning records.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but the Ram resurgence is underway.

Already, the golfers have given every indication that they will be Northern Tier League title contenders.

The Rams have strong upperclass leadership and a talented group of underclassmen.

Their strongest competition appears to be Northern Tioga with the league's best golfer—T.J. Howe—but not much depth.

I suspect Wyalusing coach John Bradley will be seeing a championship banner hoisted in the Layman Gymnasium.

On the girls' soccer front, Beth Trowbridge enters the third year of a program with a solid nucleus of players.

With a strong junior class that has played together for three years, it shouldn't be much of a stretch to see their record improve from 2003's 5-11-1 mark.

It might be a bit much to expect the Lady Rams to make the District Four playoffs, but they should make a run at it.

Jim Schools is optimistic about his cross country teams' chances.

The girls are few in number, but have a lot of talent with a couple of runners capable of qualifying for the PIAA championships.

A league title is probably not in the works with Wellsboro returning most of its PIAA medal-winning squad.

The boys may not have the marquee runners of the girls' team, but they are deep and the door is open to be competitive in the NTL.

Neither team may win a league title, but they are going to make the other contenders work for it if Wyalusing doesn't.

In volleyball, even coach Dave Holdredge admits that it will be a rebuilding year.

Graduation losses and the previous lack of a feeder program at the junior high level will be factors in the team's struggles.

But there are good, young athletes on the team and improvement in the quality of play, if not the win-loss records, should occur as the season progresses.

Turnout for the newly created junior high squad was also very good, giving fans hope for the future.

The football team enters Friday's opener against Canton after a tumultuous off-season.

After a 2-8 record in 2003, there is a new head coach—Gary Otis—and a renewed enthusiasm.

Assessing the Rams' chances entering the season is difficult.

They certainly showed marked improvement in their second scrimmage of the year against Susquehanna Community over the previous scrimmage against Montrose.

Barring injury, the Rams should be able to score points, thanks to a talented corps of skill players.

The defense, which had its struggles last season, swarmed to the ball against the Sabers.

The kicking game appears to be very solid.

But scrimmages are one thing and games are another.

Like every other Wyalusing team, depth has to be a concern. There are a couple of players who will be difficult to replace if they go down.

The league race should be wide open with a number of the better teams from last year dealing with heavy graduation losses.

About the only prediction I will make is that Athens' Cory Raupers, playing half his games on the Wildcats' new carpet, will gain more yards himself than, at least, one league team. He's that good.

Considering where they started, the Rams have nowhere to go but up. How far up, is anyone's guess.

But that's why they play the game. For Wyalusing fans, there should be plenty to cheer for this autumn, regardless, of the sport.



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