Coming into 2012, Schuylkill ValleyHigh School is looking to have another successful run in the Berks Football League. Led by a group of hungry student athletes, and head coach Jeff Chillot, the Panthers are ready to give their opponents a run for their money.
Last season, the team finished 6-5, losing in the first round of the district playoffs. Chillot said that he expects his team to perform at a level this season that returns them to the playoffs, and hopefully advances them further.
One of the ways Chillot said the team can improve is by being more consistent and cutting down on turnovers. If the squad does that, then there is more of a chance they will have a shot at winning more games and compete for a section title.
To achieve these goals, Chillot said that the kids on the team will have to work hard and continue to improve each and every game. Each game for the team brings experience to the players, and it reminds them of what they're playing for.
Some of the returning starters on the Panthers' squad this season include first team All-Berks County selection Eryk Cerankowski. According to Chillot, he is an exceptional talent and a leader at the running back position.
Also included in the list of returnees for the team: All-Section players Ryan Matthews (RB) and linebacker Troy Koch. Chillot said, 'Ryan and Troy need to be playmakers for us on both sides of the ball.' Chillot also noted that quarterback Kyle Beissel is another returning starter, and the coach is expecting him to have a big year.
Matthews, Koch and Beissel, along with the rest of the squad, have been working extremely hard in the off-season to prepare for the first game of the year. Chillot said that he expects to see improvements on last season's performance by WR/FS Garrett Strobel and tight end Adam Drumgoole.
As far as leadership is concerned, Chillot said, 'Eryk, Troy and Kyle are tremendous leaders on the field and they show it by the way they practice and prepare every day.'
The coach noted that the one thing he and the team are looking forward to this season is simply playing hard every week. To be successful this season, he said the team must play smarter and more consistent. Included in that mix would be tackling better and taking care of the football.
The one message that Chillot would like to send out to those who may not know about his team in regards to what to expect this season is that the team comes out ready to play every week. If the Panthers come out with a head of steam for every game this season like they're capable of, teams in the Berks League will definitely have to sit up and take notice.