There is a palpable electricity crackling in the air whenever Maple City grid fans begin talking about the 2012 Hornets.
And, why not? After all, Honesdale’s varsity football program had struggled through several down seasons under former coaches Gene Biscontini and John Marichak.
Two years ago, the school board decided to go in a new, more youthful direction in hiring Jim Ludwig to take the reins. The result was a 1-9 record, but the promise of better days to come.
Those days arrived late last fall when all the hard work put in by this energetic staff began paying dividends. Coach Ludwig’s lads reeled off three straight wins to close out the 2011 LFC campaign, finishing up with a respectable 4-6 mark.
“I definitely think that’s something we can build on,” Ludwig told TWI Sports. “We’re starting to move in a more positive direction and the kids are really excited. We had a great off-season in the weight room and I can’t wait to get out there and see what we can do.”
Honesdale will get that chance this very week. Monday saw the official start of fall practice and Saturday morning brings with it the year’s first scrimmage.
The Hornets will travel to Frank Chicosky Stadium for a pre-season battle with Nanticoke. They’ll then close out the exhibition slate Friday, August 24th, at home against Hanover Area. Opening kick-off for that one is set for 7:00 p.m.
“The way we finished off last season definitely gave the kids a little boost in confidence,” Coach Ludwig said. “They started believing they could play with anybody and that’s exactly what we want. These scrimmages are just the first step in taking this whole thing to the next level.”
The Regal Room in Olyphant once again provided a fitting backdrop for the LFC’s 3rd Annual Media Day.
Coaches from every team in the league turned out with two players in tow to meet the press, pose for pictures and unofficially kick-off the 2012 high school football campaign.
Honesdale was ably represented by Coach Ludwig and seniors Jonathan Gillow and Joseph Quinn. Both are seniors and each is expected to play a major role in the Red & Black gamplan this fall.
Gillow is listed at 6’3” and 210 pounds. He’s projected to start on both sides of the ball, as a tight end and defensive end. Jonathan is eagerly anticipating the start of the season and has setting his personal goals high.
“I want to catch a lot of passes and score a bunch of touchdowns,” he said. On defense, I really want to lead the team in sacks. But, I’ll do whatever I can to help the team win. That’s the most important thing.”
Page 2 of 3 - Coach Ludwig is quick to acknowledge that Gillow could be on the brink of an outstanding senior season.
“John is a really tough and he’s a very good athlete,” he said. “John never questions anything. He’s one of those kids who’ll do anything he can to get better. He’s already a good pass catcher and he’s working hard on his blocking.”
Quinn is a multi-sport star who also excels on the wrestling mat. Joe is hoping to make an impact as a two-way starter at offensive and defensive tackle. He feels that the offensive line, which returns fully intact from last year, will be a strong point for Honesdale.
“My expectations are very high for this team,” Joe said. “I expect a winning season, nothing less. We’ve worked too hard for too long to accept anything else.”
Quinn’s enthusiasm and confidence resonate with his teammates and bring a smile to his mentor’s face.
“Joe has an excellent work ethic,” Coach Gillow said. “He’s a self-motivated kid. We never have to get on him about anything. Joe pushes himself and sets a great example for the other kids.”
Onward & Upward
Honesdale opened up the ‘11 campaign with a devastating 47-2 loss against archrival Wallenpaupack Area.
The Hornets seemed destined for yet another forgettable season. However, two talented young players ignited the offense and breathed life back into a dwindling fan base.
Kevin Miller and Kyle Carney led the Red & Black to their first win of the year, a 35-6 thrashing of Montrose. Then, after two straight losses to Dunmore (40-13) and Riverside (29-23), this dynamic duo paced the Hornets to consecutive victories over Lakeland (20-19), Western Wayne (35-34) and Carbondale Area (41-7).
“They’re exciting to watch,” said Coach Ludwig. “Kevin and Kyle are the kind of kids you can build a team around. They make plays all over the field.”
Miller is a cannon-armed junior quarterback entering his second year under center. Kevin is an absolute nightmare for enemy defensive coordinators because he’s equally deadly throwing the ball and running it.
“Kevin is very driven to make himself a better player,” Coach Ludwig said. “His presence in the huddle is excellent. Kevin has an aura about him: When he talks, the other kids listen. He’s an exceptional athlete and I’m excited to see what he can do this season.”
Carney began his sophomore year as a scatback. Kyle ran pass patterns and carried the ball mainly on counters, traps and reverses. However, as the season progressed, his role on the offense grew exponentially.
“Kyle isn’t the biggest kid in the world, but he’s an outstanding athlete,” said Coach Ludwig. “Kyle runs downhill and he has an excellent set of hands. We’re going to find all kinds of ways to get him the ball in space because he’s so hard to tackle.”
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