Wallenpaupack Area officials hosted a special ceremony for the varsity football team earlier this week at the North Intermediate School. The reason for this assembly was to honor players and present them with their hard-earned District Two silver medals.
Wallenpaupack Area’s varsity football team officially closed out its 2009 campaign Monday evening with an awards ceremony at the North Intermediate School.
Dr. Mark Watson and his assistants brought the squad together one last time to reflect on the season past...and to begin looking forward to 2010.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling,” an emotional Dr. Watson told TWI Sports. “This was an amazing year for Wallenpau-pack football and these kids just mean the world to me. I’m really going to miss our seniors, but I?can’t wait for next year.”
The high point of this brief ceremony came when coaches presented players with silver medals from the District Two play-offs. Paupack lost to Parkland in the Subregional quarterfinals, but finished second in the Class AAAA bracket.
“There aren’t too many Paupack football players walking around with district medals,” Dr. Watson pointed out. “It’s a big honor...not just for the team, but for the school and the community, too...and we wanted to make a big deal out of it.”
One-by-one, the Buckhorns walked up to the podium to receive their awards. A thunderous round of applause echoed through the room as each player donned his medal.
“Words can’s begin to express how proud I?am of these kids,” said Dr. Watson. “They worked so hard to get where they are and I’m very happy for them.”
Paupack began its ascent to the Lackawanna Football Conference heights four years ago with the hiring of Dr. Watson.
The Bucks managed just one win in his first season, but upped that total to four the next year. Things came together in a hurry after that.
Paupack posted seven wins last fall and qualified for a spot in the Eastern Conference play-offs. Although the Bucks suffered a lopsided loss to Easton, they learned a valuable lesson and took another giant step forward this year.
The local lads matched last year’s win total with seven, but earned a District Two play-off berth on the strength of a Week 10 rout of Delaware Valley.
This time around, the Bucks had to hit the road for a match-up with perennial powerhouse Parkland in the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Paupack’s high-octane offense sputtered against the Trojans, however, leading to an eventual 49-6 loss. Amazingly enough, this setback did nothing to dampen Dr. Watson’s spirits.
“I’m definitely a positive and upbeat person by nature,”?he said with a laugh. “Losing that way wasn’t how I wanted the year to end. But, it was a great experience for the kids and it’s something we can build on.”
On the heels of back-to-back play-off appearances, Paupack will be hard-pressed to continue its upward arc in 2010.
The Bucks say farewell to a talented group of seniors...one that played a key role in Pau-pack’s gridiron renaissance.
Joey DeFebo led the way on offense. An All-State selection a year ago at tailback, DeFebo is now the all-time leading rusher in school history. In fact, in the annals of local high school football, only three backs have piled up more yards than Joey.
Honesdale’s Terrin Ash is #1 on the list with an eye-popping 7,748 yards. Michael Perry of Dunmore is second with 6,509.Matt Pisano of Pittston Area closed out his career with 5,694 yards, while DeFebo ended up with 5,457.
Joey also scored 70 touchdowns in a varsity career that covered a little more than two full seasons.
Bryan Cosgrove led a defensive unit that caused nightmares for enemy ballcarriers. A 6’5” end, Cosgrove will be continuing his football career at Richmond University.
Taylor Newcomer provided a huge physical presence on both sides if the ball. Another member of this talented senior class, Newcomer cleared the way for DeFebo on offense and stuffed the run defensively.
“Those are the kinds of kids we’ll have a hard time replacing,” Dr. Watson admitted. “And, it wasn’t just the on-field stuff that we’ll miss. These guys were leaders in the classroom and in the weight room, too.”
Paupack will look to young players like Isaiah Slutter, Alec McKenna, Will Hendel, Cody Russell, Steven Camasta, Ian Dassance and Will McLaughlin for leadership in ‘10.
“It’s going to be interesting,”?Dr. Watson said. “Division One is going to be stronger next year if you can believe it. We’ll have to work even harder if we want to compete with the top teams.”
Paupack will once again be classified as a small Class AAAA school. The Bucks are firmly ensconced in the LFC’s Division One with the likes of Abington Heights, Scranton, Delaware Valley, Valley View, North Pocono and Honesdale.