The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Halifax News Wire

September 26, 2013

GAME NIGHT: Small schools have big goals

— ELIZABETHVILLE — It is something that is inside every one of us, but only a few know how to harness its full potential.

It is symbolized when the football players put the four fingers into the air at the end of the third quarter or when a big hit comes and changes the game.

What it is, however, is not for sale.

You can’t buy it, you can’t borrow or trade for it as its price is a precious unknown.

It’s called heart.

And it’s a big part of the game of football from the quad-A schools to the single-A schools.

In the lower Susquehanna Valley and parts of the Anthracite Coal Region, the lights that illuminate the football fields of the Tri-Valley League shine just as bright on a Friday night as they do at Shikellamy or Selinsgrove.

The schools don’t have large rosters, some even have rosters as small as 25 kids. Yet, the field is still 100 yards long and the football just as good.

Part of the secret of the success of small-school football over the years is that is more of a run-option game where smash-mouth football becomes king.

The late Woody Hayes of Ohio State once said that football is you against the guy in the wrong colored jersey and who wants it more. If you knock you opponent down once, you better knock him down harder and harder each time after that to impose your will to win.

In this case, as it was last Friday when Millersburg and Halifax lined up at Halifax, some of the kids on each side of the ball played on the same midget team in Millersburg back in the day.

“The players know each other and what else makes the smaller schools unique is the fact that some of the kids are two or three-sport athletes which you don’t see at the bigger schools,” Simon Cameron, head coach of East Juniata said. “We have a lot of outstanding coaches in the league and they put in a lot of hard work and I think the fact that the kids play against each other in other sports raises the level of competition”

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Halifax News Wire