The Spartans are used to 9-1 or 10-0 seasons so it’s a sure bet that 24-year head coach Jay Niswonger will have his team refocused this year. The move up to Division III will be a change and playing five playoff-qualifying teams in the first six games will prove if Valley View is to get back to their usual level of success.
* Players To Watch – LB Zach Pummill (6-3, 230, Sr.), OL Evan Gibb (6-0, 240), QB Luke Donson (6-3, 200, Jr.)
* Outlook – After posting just three victories last fall, the Spartans are gearing up for a much-improved season. The first half of the schedule will be very difficult, but Niswonger said he is demanding that his team get back to the high level of success that Valley View is used to.
“We’re striving to get back to our expected level of performance,” Niswonger said. “The teams in our league know that we’ll be back. We just had an unfortunate year.”
Linebacker Zach Pummill, who is drawing interest from MAC and Ivy League schools, and finished fourth at 215 in the State Wrestling Tournament, is one of the players Niswonger is counting on to help turn things around.
“We’ve got some depth at key spots and some kids that gained experience last year,” he continued. “Our kicking game wasn’t up to snuff and we’re not sold on it just yet. A lot of kids are back that played, including the juniors who played at every position in the backfield as sophomores.
“It’s hard to say what our outlook is because we haven’t done anything yet.
We’ll know a lot about our team after the first three or four weeks. I think we all just want to be back to that nine or 10-win level. It’s the level that is expected and demanded here,” Niswonger finished.