Falcon football family comes together
Last week was the opening week of high school football practice in the Lehigh Valley, which is used as a heat acclimatization period.
But Thursday night had a different feel for the Salisbury High School football team.
The entire Salisbury football community, from the youth through the high school team, came together and practiced on the high school’s field. It was a special evening for kids of all ages to come together and practice for a sport they all are passionate about.
“We do this once a year during doubles,” rising junior running back/linebacker Kade Simononis said. “We do this generally on a Thursday night, and it brings together the whole community.”
“I haven’t heard of another community that does this,” high school head coach Andy Cerco said. “I’m sure there are some. We just thought it would be a good idea to have the entire Salisbury football community practice together. It brings everybody together.
“Those little guys are going to remember when they are going into ninth and 10th grade, ‘Oh yea, we came up and practiced with the varsity players and that was cool.’ That sort of thing.”
The rookie team, which is an introductory program to the sport for kindergartners and first graders, along with the flag team, practiced near the left end zone. The 100-pound, 120-pound and middle school teams practiced on the other side of the field. The varsity program was stationed in the middle.
The teams did everything from blocking drills and offensive/defensive schemes, to a walk-through scrimmage simulation at the varsity level.
Simononis believes it’s these practices and team-building activities that has brought this team together.
“I feel like we’re really progressing as a team and growing a bond that’s going to help us pull together and win games this year,” Simononis said.
Rising senior Timmy Buda, who missed the final four games last season due to an ankle injury, is just excited to be back on the field again.
“I’m super eager to get back out there,” Buda said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work this offseason. We got a new quarterback and a couple of new linemen that I feel are going to step up and do really good. We have a good group of guys this year. We’re just ready to get on the field and start playing.”
With Cerco noticing a decline in numbers in the sport, he hopes an opportunity like this spurs more interest in football moving forward.
“My message to all of the kids and parents is to continue playing the game,” Cerco said. “Football is such a complex game and it is for everybody. I firmly believe it is for everybody. We have a position for everybody. Parents encouraging their friends to promote and allow their son or daughter to play football because of the great opportunities that this sport allows.
“With what we are doing and how we are teaching things with blocking and tackling, their techniques are going to be fantastic and they are going to be safe. We can’t guarantee anything. It’s life. I don’t care what you do, there’s going to be a risk of injury. We’re doing everything we can to make it a better and safer game.”