Wins come on and off the field at Summit Academy
At Summit Academy, there are two types of football wins.
One comes when the Knights exceed their opponents' points on the scoreboard.
The other comes when school officials can guide a troubled youngster into becoming a productive citizen.
At the Butler County institution for court-adjudicated youth, wins take hard work on and off the field.
“Our victories come when we're able to have a young man gain entrance into a trade school, or a two- or four-year school,” said coach Steve Sherer, also the academy's principal.
It's not easy in football, either. The nature of the school means there's almost a complete roster turnover each year.
This season, there are two returning players — tackle Kenyatta McCloud and Javon Cooper, expected to be the Knights featured back.
“Hopefully, the two will take on a leadership role and take us through the season,” said Sherer, in his 10th season at Summit Academy and his 34th year of coaching overall.
There was a preseason quarterback battle at Summit between Chris Harp and Mershown Johnson.
“We have some kids who can catch the football, and we're looking to be able to throw the ball this year,” Sherer said.
But they key is for Sherer and his staff to get everyone on the same page. A number of candidates for the team over the years typically have never played football or haven't played since their community youth league days.
“That's what we're up against each year,” Sherer said. “We have kids who have never strapped on a helmet. That's where we have to beat the clock before the scrimmages and the games start.”
Summit begins its 15th WPIAL football season Sept. 1 at home against East Allegheny, a school returning to the Allegheny Conference after more than 20 years.