Change is upon the Lackawanna Football Conference.
There are new faces and teams in different places as the 2014 high school football season gets ready to start.
Players and coaches gathered Tuesday, Aug. 5, for the annual media day that is organized by the LFC Coaches’ Association at the Regal Room in Olyphant.
With this being the first of a new two-year scheduling cycle, there was an added buzz in the room.
Teams shifting classifications certainly grabbed headlines and created a stir during the offseason.
Dunmore and Riverside, teams that have each reached a PIAA final in Class A in the last four years, both moved up to Class AA with an increase in their enrollments for 2014 and 2015. The moves did not impact the LFC alignment, but certainly sent shock waves throughout District 2.
In addition to Western Wayne moving down to Class AA, so too is Montrose, which like Riverside will be under the guidance of a first-year coach, Dr. Lou Cella.
“It’s fun,” Cella said. “They are such great people and kids here. I love them. It’s a special place.”
Montrose, which also fields players from Elk Lake will also have to get familiar with new surroundings in the LFC.
The Meteors have moved up to Division II, switching places with Mid Valley, which moves down to Division III as part of the three-team agreement with Carbondale Area that rotates to keep the small-school divisions balanced.
Susquehanna, despite maintaining its co-sponsorship of football with neighboring Blue Ridge, has moved down from Class AA where it made the District 2 playoffs last season, to Class A.
“You have to still work very hard and we are preaching that you have to play hard to make the playoffs,” Susquehanna coach Kyle Cook said. “We are a single-A school, and with two schools, we still have low numbers. You are playing schools that are a little more similar to you in terms of enrollment.”
Both teams now play in the same division as Lackawanna Trail, which will be looking to knock off district champion Old Forge.
“With Old Forge coming back off their district title and also the run in states, everyone’s been putting in extra work for them,” senior quarterback Vic Mallory said in an interview with Joby Fawcett. “Obviously (it’s) a big game on our schedule we have marked off.”
Mallory added that the Lions are bringing back several players who should help make Trail into one of the contenders in Div. III.
“Our biggest key is we have a lot of returners,” Mallory said. “We have a lot more experience than we’ve ever had, and a lot more seniors that are going to be starting. Our offense is almost all seniors, so we have the experience, we have the skill players, we have the linemen, we have everything. We just have to put it all together.”
With the first day of official football practice in the books as of Monday, teams will soon begin scrimmages.
Below is the scrimmage schedule for local LFC and Wyoming Valley Conference teams:
Saturday, Aug. 16: Holy Redeemer at Trail at 10 a.m.; Montrose at Wyalusing at 10 a.m.; Susquehanna at Athens at 10 a.m.; and Tunkhannock at Meyers at 10 a.m.
Thursday, Aug 21: Trail at Crestwood at 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 22: Holy Redeemer and Old Forge at Tunkhannock at 5 p.m.; and Troy at Montrose at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 23: Wyalusing at Susquehanna at 10 a.m.