Ending the drought: Football makes playoffs for first time in seven years

By George Zhang, Co-Sports Editor

Fans cheer on a friday night at Teamer Field as the Conestoga varsity football team rack up yet another win, finishing off the regular season with a record of 7-3. The team also made the playoffs for the first time in seven years, but unfortunately they were not able to make a deep run  after suffering a loss against Ridley in the first round with a final score of 42-23.

 Junior running back Jon Quici thinks one of the factors driving the team to its success is how hard everyone worked during the offseason. He also enjoys the bond strengthened by training with his teammates. 

 “What I love about (the season) is the camaraderie that’s being built on the team. Every day we come in and we work together just for that one goal of trying to win every week,” Quici said. “We know we want to make a change around here because the team hasn’t been too good in years past, and we just have a different type of determination this year. That’s what drives us forward.” 

 Unlike last year, this season sees fans back in the stands. According to athletic director Kevin Pechin, ’Stoga has seen an attendance of about one to two thousand spectators per game at their matches at home throughout the season. Head coach Matt Diamond believes that the reintroduction of fans has had a strong positive impact on the team’s performance. 

 “The fans have been a great part about the season so far this year. The attendance and the atmosphere: you can feel it,” Diamond said. “It’s been packed, it’s been loud, everything about it has been great and the kids have loved it. I think that it was a kind of a return to normalcy after last season with not being allowed to have fans and things like this. Friday night football is a great experience, and I think that the community was excited to come back.” 

 Sophomore defensive end and offensive lineman Benner Miller agrees, stating that it was a great experience playing in front of fans.

 “As a sophomore, this is my first time actually stepping onto the field. It is crazy and insane and it’s just awesome. It’s something you’ve never experienced before,” Miller said.

 The Pioneers faced off against Owen J. Roberts in their season-opener and won in overtime 17-14 with a game-winning field goal block from junior Brody Eaton. Diamond believes this game acted as a starting point for the team’s success. 

 “We had our opening game that we’d been prepping for all offseason. We scored a field goal in overtime and when they went to their attempt to tie it, we blocked the field goal,” Diamond said. “Just right there, the kids charging the field and the excitement of walking off the home opener 1-0 really spring boarded our kids to say, ‘you know what, I think we’re gonna be okay this year.’”  

 The team has also been getting more exposure during their winning season. They were featured on ABC’s High School Huddle segment after they delivered a blowout 35-0 victory over Upper Darby. Individual players have been spotlighted as well with senior Peter Detwiler being featured on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown segment titled “You Got Mossed” after he had a highlight catch over a defender during the game against Marple Newtown. 

 With the offseason coming up, the team looks to train and workout together so they can come back better than ever next season. Miller has high hopes for the future and aspires to continue the team’s greatness.

 “We had an incredible season and there is no reason we can’t have another one next year,” Miller said. “I hope to continue the legacy the seniors left behind and to take this program even further.”

George Zhang can be reached at [email protected]