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FOOTBALL: Schuylkill Valley follows up on winning season

With the 2014 high school football season rapidly approaching, there are many teams in Berks County that are looking to have a decent amount of success. Some fared better than others in the previous year, but all gave what they had in 2013. In 2014, that appears to be the case with the Schuylkill Valley Panthers.

Last season, the Panthers finished out the year with a respectable 7-4 record, losing in the first round of the playoffs. The team goal this year, according to head coach Jeff Chillot, is to make the post season and go as far as the team can go.

Schuylkill Valley’s goal for the upcoming football season is no different than it was last year, and that might prove good for the Panthers. Although one would tend to think an increase in the number of games won by one or two might improve their chances in the playoffs. The drive is the same as it was for the previous season — win as many games as possible.

Chillot said that he really doesn’t have any personal goals for himself as coach, and is more focused on what he wants his players to accomplish. He commented that he wants to be able to put his guys in a position so they can prepare for each game as best as possible.

Chemistry is another thing the coach touched on, and he noted that through the offseason and practices thus far in the summer, the camaraderie between players has never been better, and should help the team as the season progresses.

Returning players are also a positive for any football team looking to make headway in a new season. Fortunately for Schuylkill Valley, Chillot noted that there are a few on the squad that will contribute a good bit for the Panthers in 2014.

He commented that running back/linebacker Ed Shuttleworth will be a leader on both sides of the ball. Lineman Kyle Smith (who will play on both offense and defense), according to the coach, has a chance to be a dominant player, and Connor Sausser — who will play quarterback and defensive back — should be a big playmaker on both sides of the ball for the Panthers.

Chillot said that of those players, he considers them leaders on the squad because they work hard and set an example for all of the other players to follow.

Going into the new season, Chillot also mentioned that the team will face some tough opposition this fall. He noted that all of the match-ups that Schuylkill Valley will have this year are going to be difficult. He said that the team will have it in mind not to overlook anyone and that each week is a new week.

The one thing that Chillot is looking forward to in 2014 is the postseason. He said that in order to get there and what will also be a key to the squad’s success as a whole is staying healthy and improving each week. He also noted that the team is very driven to improve themselves incrementally this season, and by playing hard, they’ll more than likely be able to accomplish that.

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