Seniors paved the way
Hess led a remarkable turnaround with his Seals, coming off a 1-9 season in 2011 and going 10-4 with a District 4 Class AAA championship and a berth in the PIAA quarterfinals.
He also said he was honored to share the award with Keiser. “He is a man I admire so much; we just have so much respect for Jim and his Danville football team.”
Hess said this season felt much like the 2008 year, his first as the head coach, when the Seals lost 10-7 in the state semifinals to Archbishop Wood because it was a young team and the kids achieved something that had never been done before.
But he said this season might have been even more gratifying than the 16-0 state championship season in 2009, when he was named the state’s Class AAA Coach of the Year “because our team proved that the good guys can win in the end.
“This group of kids was forced to make a conscious decision to ignore all of the negativity and all the naysayers, focus on a common goal, and work toward it.
“I’ve never been around a group of kids who are more resilient and mentally tough. This group stayed positive, stuck with their teammates and got the job done. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Among the keys to the season, he said, was the senior leadership from guys like Brett Hummel, Harley Stahl, Andrew Rhein, Tyler Krebs, Logan Benner and Mike Walter, “(They) all stepped up and led the team in a positive way.”
He said they also had a lot of talented young players come into the program at the right time.
“Juvon Batts and Zach Adams were an unbelievable freshman/sophomore combination in the offensive backfield. They are two of the most talented young guys I’ve ever seen,” said Hess, adding that freshman defensive tackle Andrew Boob and sophomore tight end Dylan Beaver did outstanding jobs.
In addition, he said, “We have the best coaching staff I have ever been a part of at Selinsgrove. I honestly can’t take credit for what happened this season. I spent most of my time at practice watching some of the best coaches in the state work with our kids on a daily basis.”