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IMG_9898BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Want to know where a team is headed? Just check out where it’s been.

One certainly doesn’t have to be a visionary to see which direction the Palmyra football team is headed. All the tell-tale signs are there and easy to read.

The Cougars are exactly one season removed from a two-year stretch in which they won just one game in 20 outings. But 2014 was a turnaround year for Palmyra, and the Cougars rebounded with a 5-5 campaign.

IMG_9870All that means that the prognosis for 2015 is quite positive.

“I think our kids have already keyed on that,” said Palmyra head coach Chris Pope of carrying 2014’s momentum into this season. “We lost one linemen from last year, quarterback Mike Lewis and receiver Mitchell Cooper. A lot of our skill guys are explosive juniors. We keep talking about potential. There’s an excitement which has been generated, in part from last year.

“That’s (5-5) a step in the right direction,” added Pope. “Those two years before were rough, just keeping things going. Last year we got the excitement back into what we’re doing. We were .500. You never want to hang your hats on would’ves, should’ves, could’ves, but if we finish three drives, we win three more games.”

IMG_9936All this optimism stems from a strong line that will allow the Cougars to run the ball and bring balance to their offense. Seniors Vance Hermanson, Noah Reale, Prestyn Crawford and Tyler McGaw all like playing in the dirt, and love mixing it up.

“I think we have a lot of potential with this team,” said Pope. “We have two really good running backs. Obviously our line should be a strength. But we’re still looking for guys who will play those roles. We should be able to establish a running game. And we have some receivers, so we should be balanced. When you can run the football, you don’t have to pass. You want to run the ball, and mix in the pass.

IMG_9883“When you look at that, and you have a lot of returning players, you know what you need to work on,” Pope continued. “Every team has its own personality. No year is ever the same. I guess the question is: ‘What is this team’s personality?’ This 2015 team will have some strengths and we want to amplify them. And it has some weaknesses we want to work to improve.”

With the big guys paving the way, the running game appears to be in the capable hands of juniors Alon Rhette and Carl Reigle. Not only are they both good change-of-pace backs, but they’re both also athletic and versatile.

IMG_9904“We have really good leadership,” said Pope. “We have 17 seniors, and 12-15 of them are mainstay players. I feel like we did a good job in the off-season and the pre-season of getting ready for this year. But not just that. They hang out with each other off the field. They’re close, which is something that’s really good.

“Last year’s team didn’t let things rattle them,” continued Pope. “They were really steady. They were like, ‘we need more people to step up and move forward’. We’re excited, our coaching staff, our players. We want to see what we can do.”

Running the offensive show for the Cougars will be senior quarterback Tyler Gallagher. Gallagher, who saw action last season at a myriad of skill positions, will replace Lewis with his legs and smarts.

When he does drop back to pass, or roll out of the pocket, Gallagher will be looking for senior Ethan Harro, junior Peter Robertson and tight-end Mason Cooper.

IMG_9952Palmyra will also receive large contributions from seniors Mason Sosnoski and Sean Taylor.

“I feel really comfortable with Tyler Gallagher,” said Pope. “He’s a really good quarterback in his own right. Tyler probably has more mobility, more athleticism. We want to spring him out and get him in the open.

“I feel we need to improve in our discipline,” Pope added. “Things like people jumping off sides and holding. In our scrimmage on Saturday, a couple of players allowed outside things to affect them. I hope we can work on that right away. You can’t win football games going backwards. We’ve got to clean some things up.”

IMG_9901Exactly how much Palmyra can improve this season seems to be up to them. Qualifying for the Class AAA postseason appears to be a reasonable and attainable goal.

That would probably require a 7-3 or 8-2 overall record, something not totally out of the realm of possibility competing in the Capital Division of the Mid-Penn Conference.

“Our seniors have gotten together and talked about it,” said Pope. “We want to improve on last year. We want to have a winning season. This team has the ability to possibly get into the playoffs. Kids always want to get into the playoffs, but I think it’s a realistic goal.

“It really comes down to getting better each week,” continued Pope. “We’ve got to improve. There’s some good teams in our division. You’re going to have to get better to compete. We have some good teams on our schedule.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.

2015 Palmyra Football Roster

NO NAME POS GRAD YEAR
57 Braden Barker DT, OG 2018
88 Jake Blauch DE, TE 2016
80 Brandon Blouch DE, TE 2018
56 Coby Booth DE, TE 2016
68 Dylan Bross C, DT 2016
24 Eddie Cannon OLB, RB 2018
9 Gerry Cassel CB, WR 2017
Nate Chavis
30 Sean Cleveland 2017
76 Scott Collier DT, OT 2017
Christopher Connell 2017
21 Mason Cooper DE, TE 2017
78 Prestyn Crawford DE, OT 2016
81 Noah Davis DE, TE 2016
75 Dris Day 2018
71 Zach Depew C, DT 2016
66 Tyler Ebling DE 2017
17 Ian Fogleman SS, WR 2016
8 Tyler Gallagher SS, WR 2016
19 Zach Haney OLB, QB 2017
3 Ethan Harro CB, WR 2016
7 Malik Hatcher CB, WR 2016
19 Grant Haus CB, QB, WR 2019
2 Nate Hawkins CB, QB 2017
59 Nick Henry DT, OG 2018
82 Vance Hermanson DE, TE 2016
87 Nick Hurst CB, WR 2016
84 Logan Kaylor DE, TE 2018
9 Evan Keener CB, WR 2018
84 Wade Kurzinger CB, WR 2017
29 Cooper Mason OLB 2018
75 Tyler McGaw C, DT 2016
Joe McNew SS, WR 2016
27 Garret Miller OLB, RB 2019
72 Jarrod Musko DT 2018
50 Derek Offei DT 2017
Jeremy Plummer MLB, RB 2017
43 Zach Quinn OLB, RB 2018
Noah Reale 2016
47 Sean Reedy DE, TE 2018
73 Kyle Reheard DT, OG 2017
22 Carl Reigle CB, RB 2017
42 Alon Rhette MLB, RB 2017
Jared Richard 2016
9 Peter Robertson FS, WR 2017
41 Ethan Schell FS, WR 2016
20 Devan Sosnoski RB, SS 2018
Mason Sosnoski
83 Jared Stauffer FS, WR 2018
82 Peyton Stretch CB, WR 2018
12 Robert Taylor FS, QB 2018
10 Sean Taylor FS, WR 2016
4 Austin Teahl 2017
Team
32 Dylan Templin FB, MLB 2018
Braden Vernet 2017
70 Matt Weaver C, DT 2018
12 Zachary Yingst QB, RB, SS

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2015 Palmyra Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/04
@East Pennsboro
7:00 PM East Pennsboro High School
09/11
Elco
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
09/18
@Donegal
7:00 PM Donegal High School
09/25 *
Trinity
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
10/02 *
@Steel-High
7:00 PM Steel-High High School
10/09 *
@Boiling Springs
7:00 PM Boiling Springs High School
10/16 *
Camp Hill
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
10/24 *
@Middletown
2:00 PM Middletown High School
10/30 *
Milton Hershey
7:00 PM Palmyra High School
11/06 *
West Perry
7:00 PM Palmyra High School

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