The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 14, 2013

Harold Raker's high school football column: Selinsgrove never gave up

I don't know about you, but I have always liked a TV series which kept you guessing until the final episode. The more plot twists, the better.

High school football seasons can be that way, too.

For example, take the Selinsgrove Seals. Coming into the season, they were young but loaded with talent and picked to contend for the Heartland Athletic Conference Division I championship.

Before the first whistle on opening night, they had lost one of the main reasons for their lofty ranking. Sophomore running back Juvon Batts was gone for the season because of a heart ailment which was to require surgery. Another promising sophomore running back, David Klinger, was lost in the preseason to a season-ending injury. Along comes sophomore Zach Adams to help carry the load, only to have an injury in the Week 5 game at Berwick bump him to the sideline for the rest of the season.

There were others, but the Seals were a hurting team.

So expectations by many of the fans plummeted lower than the combined approval rating of Congress. The season was over. Wait until next year.

Yes, many of the fans were disheartened. But not those who mattered most.

Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said this week, as his team prepared to defend its District 4 Class AAA championship, that the expectations of the players and coaches never waned.

"We wanted to be here (in the title game). That was our goal. And when we lost all those guys, instead of getting our heads down and feeling somewhat defeated, we took the opposite approach," he said.

He said the coaches spoke to the players about how, when you lose a key person on the team, it is an opportunity for everybody to step back and reassess what they are bringing to the program and "truly bring their A game."

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