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Ram Gridders Hold First Scrimmage

A wise man once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The Wyalusing Valley High School football team's first steps in the 2004 season were uncertain ones, but new head coach Gary Otis was pleased with its efforts in Saturday's home scrimmage with Montrose.

"We saw some things we liked," Otis said afterwards.

A steady rain and a one-dimensional opponent limited some of the work Otis wanted to accomplish.

The rain, which began to lift late in the scrimmage, hindered the passing game.

Meanwhile, Montrose, which annually features a power running game, did little to test the Wyalusing secondary, throwing just one pass.

"We worked hard on the basics and to get in as many people as possible," Otis said.

"We're just trying to build some confidence," he said as the team seeks to rebound from a 2-8 season in 2003.

Long-time assistant coach Dave Behrend, as usual, found some things to harp on in practice this week, but was "pleased with the effort."

Montrose found holes for its running game most of the morning, and Behrend acknowledged that the Rams' tackling and defensive positioning needs improvement.

"The players have to work on discipline and learn their areas," Behrend said.

As expected, the Wyalusing offense was farther along in its progress than the defense.

Quarterbacks Ben Fish and Derek Otis demonstrated mobility and strong arms.

A number of runners had the opportunity to show their skills, and the receiving corps made a number of good catches.

A Fish scramble inside the Montrose 1 on the last play of Wyalusing's first possession was the closest the Rams came to scoring during the scrimmage.

A young offensive line had some breakdowns, especially in pass protection.

"They know who to block," Behrend said. "They have to hold the blocks longer, especially on passing plays."

The Rams will travel to Susquehanna Community on Saturday for its final scrimmage. Action is set to begin at 10 a.m.

The regular season opens on Friday, Sept. 3, at home against Canton.

2004 WVHS Football Roster

Seniors: Mark Decker, Dan Doss, Ben Fish, Matt Heath, Bryan Huyck, Kody Kellogg, Anthony McKennas, Greg Schantz, Thad Slocum, Julio Torres and Mike Wilson.

Juniors: Eric Brigham, Brandon Brown, Brian Cogswell, Justin Crawford, Kelly Green, Brent Heeman, Branden Johnson, Jared Johnson, Aaron LeSuer, Adam Millard, Tim Millard, Jason Naugle, Jesse Northrup, David Phillippe, Zach Reinhart and Josh Taylor.

Sophomores: Joe Brink, Jim Chadwick, Craig Ciprich, John Conner, Adam Crawford, Jared Davis, Bryn Duffield, Grant Goodwin, Don Hillard, Brandon Hillyard, Dan Howard, Nick Kellogg, tom Lambert, Michael Longcoy, Casey Manahan, Matt McMahon, John Meehan, Kevin O'Brien, Derek Otis, Brian Roberts, Dan Singleton, Nate Thompson, Doug Vanderpool and Dan Whipple.

Freshmen: David Brown, Alex Campbell, Tyler Crawford, James DeLair, Derrick Fassett, Josh Goodwin, Ryan Grinde, James Hickey, Matt Hunsinger, Kyle Johnson, Eric Lloyd, Darren Mahoney, Trevor Owen and Mark Wurzler.

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