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IMG_6126BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – For the Palmyra football team, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So, it is the Cougars’ desire to accentuate the familiar and manage the unknown.

And of course, worry about only the things they can control.

IMG_6176In a season highlighted by change, all the Cougars really want to do is ‘keep it going’. And the key to that may just be some elusive consistency.

On Friday night at Camp Hill, Palmyra will open its 2016 campaign in Week Zero, as a Class AAAAA school.  The Cougars are a season removed from a break-through year in which they qualified for the District Three postseason, in Class AAA.

IMG_6122Confusing? Sure. But it’s not an ambiguity a little winning can’t clear up.

“They talk about having a winning season,” said Palmyra head coach Chris Pope of his charges. “But it’s kind of like steps. If we would get to the top of the mountain, we would host a home playoff game. That’s their ultimate goal.

“It takes getting consistently better throughout the season,” continued Pope. “What that takes is an unbelievable amount of focus. You’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to pay attention to film. You’ve got to listen to your coaches. And you’ve got to apply it. It’s about everyone being focused on what they need to do to maximize individual potential, and if you do that, you’ll maximize team potential.”

The success that the Cougars enjoyed last season is the type that can carry over to this year. After starting their campaign red hot, the Cougars ended it at 7-4 and with a loss at Lampeter-Strasburg, in the opening round of the District Three tournament.

IMG_6167From that team, Palmyra returns seven starters on offense and six on defense.

“I thought last year was a great year because we got ourselves back on track,” said Pope, who’s in his tenth season at the Palmyra helm. “Things came around for us. We were able to get back into a playoff situation, which was certainly a positive. It was a good season.

“The more successful you can be, the more it carries over,” Pope continued. “Success makes more success come, and it sets an expectation. We’ve had two seasons where we haven’t had a losing season, so it creates an expectation. Our players want to do as well as the players did last year.”

IMG_6194The heart and soul of the Cougars this season will be a running attack spearheaded by the dynamic senior tandem of Alon Rhette and Carl Reigle. Not only are the two best of friends and perfect compliments, Reigle and Rhette are great changes of pace.

Look for Pope to ride whichever feature back is the hottest at the time. Both are quick, strong and athletic.

“From an Xs and Os standpoint, our strength is our running backs,” said Pope. “We have two very good running backs returning. I also like the leadership of this group. I feel like our team is connected. We have guys who are friends with everyone on the team. There are no cliques.



“In order to attain goals, what you’ve got to do is decide on areas where you need to get better,” added Pope. “We lost a couple of linemen, and we need to replace them. Petey Robertson unselfishly made the move from wide out to quarterback. We had three guys competing there, and he stood out. But we need to get better there.”

Robertson, also a senior, certainly has the smarts and athleticism to man the quarterback position. Some would argue his most important duty will be handing the ball off to Reigle and Rhette.

IMG_6141But Robertson will have to throw the ball at least a little bit, in order to keep opposing defenses honest.

“From an Xs and Os standpoint, Petey’s doing a great job, but he’s still playing catch up,” said Pope. “We believe running to be a major part of our game plan. We only have ten seniors, so we have around 30 younger guys.”

But the Three R’s – Robertson, Rhette and Reigle – won’t be the only skilled people featured in the Cougars’ attack. Also figuring into the scheme will be senior Mason Cooper, senior Nate Hawkins, senior Braden Vernet, sophomore Grant Haus and junior Zach Quinn.

“It’s a little different feel for us, because we only had one scrimmage,” said Pope. “I hope it helps us later in the year with the bye week. The coaching staff was debating how to handle this week. Do we push them (his players) or pull back? We really didn’t have that much time. I’m not quite sure, because it is a new situation.”

IMG_6147The Cougars are hoping their rebuilding project along the line of scrimmage doesn’t turn into a season-long process, and that a number of competitors will step up. When they do, they will be following the leads of veterans Shane Gregris and Tyler Ebling.

“Before, we were comfortably in the middle of AAA,” said Pope of his program’s change in classification. “Now we’re on the cusp and one of the smaller schools in AAAAA. It’s going to be really competitive for everybody. You don’t have a lot of room to mess up. You’ve got to have a pretty good record.

“We’re excited,” concluded Pope. “There’s an excitement about this first game. It almost kind of feels like when we used to play Annville-Cleona. There was a special feel for that game.”

 

 

 

IMG_6130To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-11/.

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_61852016 Palmyra Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
08/26 *
@Camp Hill
7:00 PM Camp Hill High School
09/02
@West Perry
7:00 PM West Perry High School
09/09
@Elco
7:00 PM Elco High School
09/16
Donegal
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
09/30 *
Boiling Springs
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
10/07 *
@Middletown
7:00 PM Middletown High School
10/14 *
Steel-High
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
10/21 *
@East Pennsboro
7:00 PM East Pennsboro High School
10/28 *
Trinity
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
11/04 *
Milton Hershey
7:00 PM Palmyra High School

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IMG_61152015 Palmyra Results 

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/04
@East Pennsboro
7:00 PM W 27-6
09/11
Elco
7:00 PM W 30-22
09/18
@Donegal
7:00 PM W 31-0
09/25 *
Trinity
7:00 PM W 49-23
10/02 *
@Steel-High
7:00 PM W 17-6
10/09 *
@Boiling Springs
7:00 PM W 19-0
10/16 *
Camp Hill
7:00 PM L 24-28
10/24 *
@Middletown
2:00 PM L 13-49
10/30 *
Milton Hershey
7:00 PM L 7-28
11/06 *
West Perry
7:00 PM W 42-23
11/13 #
@Lampeter-Strasburg
7:00 PM L 20-41

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IMG_61622016 Palmyra Football Roster

Name Grade Height Weight Position
Sean Carter 10 5′ 8″ 135 WR/DB
Nate Hawkins 12 5′ 10″ 150 WR/DB
Devon Sosnoski 11 5′ 4″ 135 RB/LB
Griffin Weidler 10 5′ 7″ 185 K
Peter Robertson 12 6′ 0″ 170 QB/DB
Caleb Hawkins 10 5′ 4″ 120 RB/DB
Hunter Dorn 10 5′ 9″ 145 QB/DB
Evan Keener 11 5′ 9″ 145 WR/DB
Braden Vernet 12 6′ 3″ 185 WR/DB
Robert Taylor 11 6′ 0″ 175 RB/LB
Kyle Wasilewski 10 5′ 10″ 155 WR/DB
Alberto Perez 11 6′ 0″ 160 WR/DB
Nijir Brown 10 5″ 10″ 140 WR/DB
Trevor Binner 10 5′ 5″ 140 RB/DB
Grant Haus 10 6′ 0″ 155 QB/DB
Sean Stauffer 10 6′ 1″ 160 RB/LB
Mason Cooper 12 6′ 5″ 210 TE/DE
Carl Reigle 12 5′ 10″ 185 RB/DB
Damien Carpenter 10 6′ 0″ 155 WR/LB
Eddie Cannon 11 5′ 8″ 155 RB/LB
Jared Bowman 12 5′ 10″ 145 K
Matt Hines 9 5′ 10″ 145 K
Dylan Templin 11 5′ 9″ 200 RB/LB
Alon Rhette 12 5′ 8″ 185 RB/LB
Zach Quinn 11 6′ 0″ 175 RB/LB
Sean Reedy 11 6′ 0″ 175 RB/LB
Derek Offei 12 5′ 10″ 270 OL/DL
Logan Kaylor 11 6′ 2″ 185 OL/DL
John Pallone 10 6″ 0″ 235 OL/DL
Logan Cavalier 10 5″ 10″ 175 OL/DL
Braden Barker 11 6′ 2″ 245 OL/DL
Nick Henry 11 5″ 10″ 270 OL/DL
Garrett Miller 10 6″ 0″ 220 OL/DL
Brandon Blauch 12 6′ 3″ 210 OL/DL
Xavier Vazquez 11 6′ 1″ 215 OL/DL
Tyler Ebling 12 6′ 4″ 240 OL/DL
Zach Speece 10 6′ 1″ 215 OL/DL
Cory Frey 11 5′ 11″ 350 OL/DL
Matt Weaver 11 6″ 0″ 250 OL/DL
Gabe Leffew 10 6″ 0″ 275 OL/DL
Shane Gregris 12 6′ 3″ 225 OL/DL
Kris Day 11 6′ 3″ 245 OL/DL
Mason Blanchard 10 6′ 0″ 165 TE/DL
Peyton Stretch 11 5′ 11″ 155 WR/DB
Jared Stauffer 11 6′ 5″ 185 TE/DB

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