The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

October 4, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Coaches running out of options

After five weeks, one might wonder if the 2012 high school football season is being sponsored by Blue Cross.

And it might be appropriate if some of the teams had hired Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John as their trainers.

OK, one more. Instead of "Hut, hut," football fans have heard coaches yell "Medic!"

Of course, for the athletes involved, their teammates and coaches, the numerous injuries this season, especially those that have sidelined some players for the season and, in the case of seniors, their careers, are anything but humorous.

It has been a nightmare for coaches all across the Valley.

Only one team that I can think of has entirely escaped the injury bug and, for fear of being accused of jinxing that school, it shall remain nameless.

Heading the list of M*A*S*H units disguised as football teams are coach Mark Burrows' Warrior Run Defenders and coach Dan Foor's Shamokin Indians.

When I asked second-year coach Burrows last week how many starters he had lost to injuries, he had to stop and think. He would have needed to remove his shoes to tally them up. Suffice it to say it was in the neighborhood of a dozen.

When I was going over his starting lineup, after yet another lineman had gone down with an injury, Burrows was struggling to come up with a player to fill the spot. After some thought, he told me to put in Robert Hickey. Before I could dutifully add that name to the lineup, Burrows let me know that he was joking. Hickey is the band director.

And so it has gone for a team that was looking to take another step back toward the successful program that Defenders' fans had come to root for several years ago.

In Coal Township, Foor has seen what should have been a carryover from last year's second-half run which had the Indians winning the District 4 Class AAA title as well as a first-round state playoff game, look way too much like the first half of the 2011 season.

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Harold Raker
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