Ready for some football
If there’s a better time of year than fall, I don’t know what it is. My kids might argue with me on that point — after all, you can’t build snowmen or sand castles during that time of year. But from my vantage point, the weather is perfect, the leaves will soon begin to change … and oh yeah, it’s football season.
As we all took cover from Hurricane Irene last weekend, I couldn’t help but think a little bit of what that means for the next 10 Friday nights. How many times have we scratched our heads during the high school football season wondering how it was possible to get so many rainy, miserable Friday evenings in one stretch?
So here’s hoping that the wet weather during the final weekend in August was not a bad omen, but rather Mother Nature getting it out of her system.
While we’re at it, let’s hope that Warwick finally gets out of week one this Friday without another major injury. I’d say that the Warriors are due in that department. For the past two years, they have come out of their opener dealing with a serious blow to the lineup — first, running back Deron Thompson in 2010 and then QB Tyler Farnan last year.
Personally speaking, I’m excited to see what kind of year Farnan puts together under center for Warwick. Granted, I don’t have the trained eye of a coach, but I thought he did some good things in Warwick’s two scrimmages against Manheim Central and Cocalico. At 6-foot-2, 178, he has good size for a high school quarterback and I thought he threw a nice ball and showed a strong arm. Plus, you just have to root for a kid who lost an entire season because of injury and then worked hard to get back in the lineup.
Coach Locker has also spoken highly of the Warriors’ receivers this year, although it’s a shame that Zack Hurst, who replaced Farnan at QB last year, is now battling his own injury issues. If you watched him with the Lititz Oddfellows baseball team this summer, you definitely saw that he is a nice athlete. So that will be a tough break for Warwick if he is sidelined for a long amount of time.
Speaking of coach Locker, he is starting his 11th season at the helm of Warwick. According to my records, that makes him the Warriors’ longest-consecutive tenured head football coach — ever. In the era since Lititz High School became Warwick High School in 1954, Mark Snyder coached for 10 straight years from 1976 to 1985 (in his first tenure at Warwick). He returned to the sidelines from 1998 to 2000, giving him 13 years total with the red and black, but not consecutively.
Mick Sload also coached for 10 consecutive years — from 1966 to 1975 — while Stan Schoenberger (1959-64) and Clever Daihl (1991-997) each coached straight six years.
But Locker is now in a category by himself. And quite frankly, why not? I’m sure there were a lot of people who questioned whether Warwick would ever be competitive on a consistent basis when they moved to Section One. And yet, since the 2006 season, they have qualified for the District playoffs four times in five years and have not had a losing season despite playing against much bigger schools such as Wilson, Hempfield and on and on. Locker and his assistants have done a nice job building the program and Warwick’s record in the five years since 2006 is 32-22.
Warwick’s next step is to win their first District game and that day will come too.
The Warriors’ neighbors, Manheim Central, are preparing for a season with heavy hearts as they try to move on from the tragedy that struck their program in January. My thoughts and best wishes go out to the Barons’ team and their community. Bruce Morgan
Sports Editor More COLUMN, page B-4