BY JEFF FALK
MYERSTOWN – Saying ‘putting all important things first, outcomes will take care of themselves’, that’s lip service. But tearing it all down, rebuilding it all and doing it all over again, that’s an early step in the process of commitment.
Inherent in that message is that actions are always more powerful than words. And anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Elco’s 2018 football campaign was a unique one for a couple of reasons. Not only did the Raiders recommit themselves to the program and redefine what they’re all about, their new-found success manifested itself into an 8-3 overall record and the school’s first home playoff game in the sport.
It was, in many estimations, the most successful Elco football season in recent memory, or at least since Bob Miller took over as head coach.
“When we were are at team camp I referenced Vince Lombardi,” said Miller, who’s in his eighth season of steering the Raiders. “I talked about how he would address his players at the beginning of camp, ‘Gentlemen, this is a football.’ We started with the most basic of things. Our team camp is just as important for team bonding as Xs and Os. We wanted to start from the very beginning.
“At the start of camp this year, it didn’t feel the same,” Miller continued. “We were pressing for that team bond because we didn’t have it Day One. But they (his players) compete every day. They’re starting to love the game of football.”
With a strong senior class, the Raiders are expecting to field a roster numbering in the mid 30s this season. What they’re stressing is quality over quantity.
Elco returns eight starters on offense and six on defense.
“There’s times we’ve had bigger rosters, but the kids weren’t as committed,” said Miller. “But I also don’t want to have 12 kids. I’ll take whatever number, as long as the kids are as committed as these are.
“I think the mindset is that there is a carry over from last season,” continued Miller. “But I think it’s important to start over again and rebuild again. It’s the same guys in different roles. We’re starting to see the bond already. We’re in a great position right now, as far as building that bond goes. We have a strong work ethic.”