Five new head coaches will get a first-look at their teams against squads in different colors today when the 2012 high school football season gets under way ... sort of.
Saturday marks the first day of scholastic football scrimmages around the state and all 13 Valley schools are in action. The teams will hold their second scrimmages on Aug. 24 before the 10-game regular season opens on Aug. 31.
East Juniata, Lewisburg, Line Mountain, Shikellamy and Upper Dauphin all break in new coaches today, but some of them are familiar names.
At Shikellamy, Todd Tilford returns to his alma mater after leading Lewisburg to unprecedented success in recent years. Tilford will get a good look at his new squad against one the state’s perennial powers when the Braves visit Southern Columbia, last year’s Class A state runner-up, in a 7 p.m. scrimmage. It is the only night scrimmage the first weekend.
New Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn, the former head coach at Danville, leads the Green Dragons into Selinsgrove this morning for one of seven scrimmages at 10.
The Green Dragons, led by two-time all-state linebacker Brandon Smith, must replace top runner Merle Moscarello from a team that won nine games on its way to the District 4 semifinals. Selinsgrove is looking to rebound from a 1-9 season a year ago, where it went just 1-5 in the Heartland Athletic Conference Division I.
Rodney Knock, a former star quarterback at Line Mountain, sees his first action as the Eagles’ head coach today when Line Mountain goes to Muncy for a 10 a.m. scrimmage. While the Eagles lost offensive stars Marty Beninsky and Kyle Troutman, they have plenty of firepower left over from a team that went 10-2 in each of the last two seasons.
Another new face is at East Juniata where Simon Cameron takes over for long-time coach Tom Feltman. The Tigers, who are now part of the new 10-team, all-sport Tri-Valley League, travel to Milton to meet George Goodwin’s Black Panthers. Milton is coming off a remarkable run late last year where it won its final five regular season games to close the season before losing to Shamokin in the District 4 Class AAA title game.