SAYRE — Last season’s edition of the Sayre Redskins started the football season slowly, dropping three of the first four games. The team bounced back nicely to finish the season at 6-5.

If the Redskins are to start the 2019 season off on a better note, they’ll need to rely on an eight-man senior crew and some of the younger guys who took to the field last season.

“I think we’ll take a lot (from the way last season ended),” said senior Isaiah Firestine. “With all of the guys we have coming back, we have a lot of experience. We’ll know how to go into the season harder. We’ll learn from how we played past year.”

Joining Firestine in that senior crew are Zach Watkins, Camden Wheeler, Corbin Brown, Ethan Miller, Jared Giggee, and Kenny Vanderpool.

For this bunch, the expectations are high.

“My expectations are also super high for this season,” said Watkins. “Last season was like a learning season with a new coach. Last season was a great one. We made it to the playoffs. This year, now that we have everything down, we should be able to play a lot better than we did last year.”

Firestine agreed.

“Personally, I think we should have a shot at a district title this year,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in everybody on our team, even the younger guys. The younger guys have experience. They played in a lot of tough games. A lot of them played really hard. Our line is really strong, so I’m confident.”

“I think (the way we finished the year) helps a lot,” added Coach Kevin Gorman. “We’re just making a few adjustments on offense to make us a little bit faster lining up and defensively we’re relatively the same. With our returning guys and guys who played JV, everything’s the same. That’s going to help us hit our stride earlier in the year.

“Last year, it was a rough first four games where we were adjusting. The kids played hard, but we had a tough game with Towanda and a tough game at Troy and a tough one with Montgomery. We’re in the games, we just didn’t know exactly how to finish them. We had mental mistakes. I think this year will be a lot better with some of our returning guys.”

Both Firestine and Watkins are embracing the leadership role.

“We have a lot of younger guys who will be playing,” said Watkins. “Even though we are returning seniors, a lot of our positions are really tight. Knowing that we can help those kids out without yelling or getting mad, will be big. Hopefully we can help them through.”

“A lot of people learn a lot quicker if they see someone doing something. If they see us following directions and doing everything right, then they’ll know that’s how they should be acting also.”

Firestine could see the effect of his squad’s senior leadership.

“I think (summer participation) has been really good,” said Firestine. “I think we had a lot of guys who are really confident and want to win. I don’t think we have anyone going into the season thinking it’s going to be like a lot of the old Sayre teams that looked bummed when they got out there. I think we have a lot of hope and a lot of confidence. We have a lot of good coaches and a lot of strong young kids who want to play. I think we’ll be all right.”

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