BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – There’s a lot to be said for consistency. When it comes to Lebanon County football programs, you know what you’re getting out of the Palmyra Cougars, year-in, year-out, week-in, week-out.
Palmyra has made a habit of beating the teams its better than, surprising the teams who are better than it and competing every time out. The key to the Cougars’ success has originated from three basic sources – stability, preparation and an uncanny ability to flip a switch when the lights come on.
As Palmyra prepares for its 2019 campaign, the Cougars are simply looking for more of the same. Sometimes maintaining can be a difficult task, but it can also be a precursor to taking the next step.
“I appreciate that,” said Palmyra head coach Chris Pope. “We work very hard to get everything out of what we have. Every school is going to have ebbs and flows, go up and down. We work really hard to maximize our ability.
“I think we’re (the program) in a good place right now,” added Pope. “We’ve had to change the climate of the program and the culture of the program. I remember one year we went 6-4 and the players were upset because they thought we underachieved. I feel like what’s expected has changed. Wins are an expectation that we want to achieve at this level.”
Last year’s campaign was merely an extension of that process.
Palmyra went 8-2 during the regular season and again qualified for the District Three postseason. But there are some notable voids that remain to be filled.
“We did a great job of getting that team to perform,” said Pope, who’s in his 13th seaon of heading the program. “I have a great coaching staff and they did a good job of getting people where they needed to be. But we’d all like to see the program get into the playoffs and advance past the first round.
“We want to take that next step,” Pope added. “We’ve done a good job of getting the program pointed in the right direction. We’d like to push into the playoffs, not just get into the playoffs.”