The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

September 14, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Coach follows his passion, and sons

(Continued)

Lisa said her job is easy, supporting him and being there for her husband and sons. I am their biggest fan, but he has got a tall order," she said.

If he were an NFL OC, Benner would probably have lost his coaching job after the Seals, torn about by the suspension of nine players for an off-field incident, finished 1-9, just two years removed from winning the Class AAA state championship.

"I think as soon as our last game was over, the kids put that behind them. They really have had the determination this year just to go out and have fun and play their hearts out, and it is a joy to watch these kids, he said.

He said the current seniors have engulfed the underclassmen, something that does not always happen, and has included them in everything they do.

"It has made this team so close, and it is a neat thing to look at. It doesn't matter if they are freshmen or sophomores, the seniors wrapped their arms around these guys and I think that is a big part of their success," he said, refering to the Seals' 2-0 start. And some coaches might have been more than ready to walk away.

The thought never entered Benner's mind.

"Last year, that whole situation, from a win-and-loss situation, was tough to come back from. But, if you are in coaching for just wins and losses, you are in it for the wrong reason," he said.

"We are in it to build these kids back up, not only the program, but give them confidence for not only this year, but as they go through life. That was the challenge and these kids have stepped up to that," he said.

And, he added, once practice starts, Lisa becomes a football widow.

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