Sunday night was an exciting time for Pennsylvania high school football players, whether they are young or four-year starters.
“(Sunday night) I couldn’t sleep. I pulled all my pads out,” Selinsgrove sophomore quarterback Danny Shoch said Monday morning after the Seals first practice on the turf of Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field. “I was ready to go.”
“Senior year, I was ready to get going on Sunday night,” Lewisburg’s four-year starting quarterback Nick Shedleski said after the Green Dragons wrapped up their practice at Lewisburg High School. “I’m excited to see how the new guys work out.”
Monday was the first day of heat acclimatization for football. Practices for other fall sports begin next Monday. Golf and girls tennis contests begin Aug. 19, and the opening night of football season is scheduled for Aug. 2. The first day of contests for the rest of the fall sports is Aug. 31.
Heat acclimatization was created to be a chance for players to get used to the heat before practice started. However, with teams participating in so many 7-on-7 camps and other conditioning drills — along with a shortened preseason now in Pennsylvania high school football — this week is almost the de facto first day of practice, except with no contact.
“Obviously, we have to follow the PIAA guidelines, but these kids have been working hard all summer — in the weight room and conditioning,” Selinsgrove coach Derek Hicks said. “So they are in shape, this is an opportunity to get a little more work in.”
“We had great participation in the summer, so we are in shape,” Shedleski said. “This is the part of the season when everybody has to start to know their stuff.”
Both teams have high expectations for this season and open the season against each other Aug. 23 in Selinsgrove. Shoch is eager to show the improvements he made from his freshman season.
He took over for a the third-leading passer in state history in 2018. He hadn’t played much in eighth grade due to an injury. Without the injury weighing on his mind, Shoch is ready for a breakout year.
“I went to the Quarterback Factory (in Maryland) and worked on watching film with them. I went to a lot of camps and watched a lot of film from last year,” Shoch said. “Things have started to slow down (on the field). I can read coverages faster. It should be fun.”
Lewisburg returns Max Moyers in the backfield — along with Shedleski — from a team that lost in the District 4 Class 3A semifinals to eventual champion Montoursville, who the Green Dragons scrimmage next Saturday.
It’s nucleus that should keep Lewisburg in the mix for a district title despite its graduation losses.