By Matt Popchock
Some may fight for championships, others may fight to build on what they began in 2010, while still others may simply fight for respectability for their programs. At any rate, here are five head football coaches “Mr. High School Sports” will be keeping an eye on in Class AAA this fall:
Mark Lyons, Central Valley – Seeing this mutant program come together and turn everyone’s head by capturing gold felt like seeing the WPIAL football equivalent of “Hoosiers,” and he deserves all the credit he gets for making the merger a success. You never know what to expect in the Parkway Conference, but can he show it was no accident with at least a respectable run by the 2011 Warriors?
Mark Washington, Moon – The former line coach at Aliquippa, a longtime winner, is trying to turn around the Tigers, a longtime loser. Will the growing pains for his new team keep them down, or can he bring some of that Quips magic and get them to challenge for a playoff spot right away?
Lou Cerro, Montour – Last year Cinderella with its glass slipper stepped over the Spartans’ dreams at Heinz Field, but no one can dispute he has led a renaissance of this program. Having said that, he has every reason to believe this is still a championship-caliber team, so can he get it to live up to the hype?
Dave Vestal, Hopewell – To even further underscore my point that the Parkway Conference, arguably, will be the one with the most compelling storylines in Class AAA for another year, we remind you that this coach will have to keep his kids focused amidst the unusual amount of publicity their team may get (for somewhat obvious reasons). Can he do it, and can the Vikings show they’re not just a one-man team?
Matt Humbert, Ringgold – One of the youngest coaches in the district has brought order, discipline, and, most importantly, results to a program that had been going through some turmoil, but the Rams stubbed their toe in their postseason opener. Was that a sign that the Keystone crown was as good as it gets, or can he continue improving Ringgold football’s reputation?
Be sure to revisit the “Mr. High School Sports” blog at 937thefan.com throughout the summer for more high school football coverage, as we prepare to kick off the 2011 season!