West Shamokin football team strives for bigger, better things
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After a season of firsts at West Shamokin, the next question is: What comes next?
It's been a little more than a week since the Wolves' season ended with a 37-14 loss to Monessen in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs but already there is reason to wonder what the next year will hold after the school's first winning season and playoff berth in its 14-year history.
The Wolves have been trending upward for a couple of years. Of the program's 22 total wins, nine of them — 41 percent — have come in the last two seasons. And with only five seniors on this year's team, the immediate future looks bright.
“Obviously, we had a pretty good season and made a lot of strides this year,” Wolves coach Jon McCullough said. “It was nice to get the experience of learning what it takes to get there, but now we see that we have to work that much harder to get past the first round.”
The hope for the Wolves program is that success will extend beyond just this group of players. Though the varsity squad has a large and talented junior class that will return next season, it's the freshmen and junior high players that will be charged with making West Shamokin playoff games a regular occurrence.
“I'm hoping with the success that we had this year, it will get more kids that have been on the fence about playing to come out,” McCullough said. “With the kids that are still below high school, the success that they see us having will hopefully increase the overall interest. It would be nice if we could get 40 or 45 kids out each year.”
Building the program's participation is one of the most important things to ensuring lasting success. West Shamokin's enrollment placed it in Class A by just 17 boys in the realignment after 2011, which gives it an edge in that aspect of the numbers game if it remains in Class A for the next two seasons.
But as a small school, many of the team's athletes are involved in multiple sports and other extracurriculars, something that McCullough embraces.
“At a small school, all the teams cycle through the same kids, and I would never want to discourage a kid from playing a sport. The more sports you play, the more well-rounded an athlete you become,” McCullough said.
“This past offseason, we had terrific attendance in the weight room. I think our kids know it's not going to help them on Friday nights if the kid lining up across from them has been in the weight room all summer. Whether it's with another sport or with us, I just want our kids to stay active.”
Perhaps the biggest change for West Shamokin football next year will be the raised level of expectations. The Wolves' success might have caught many off guard this season, but next year, opponents will be prepared for a much-improved unit.
“Success isn't a given,” McCullough said. “We realize how hard it was to get there, and every year, we're going to have to work that much harder to keep that place.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- High school notebook: Thomas Jefferson, Clairton head into enemy territory
- WPIAL Class AAA notes: Title games draw 16,500 to Heinz Field
- WPIAL Class AAA final preview: Big-play passing attack paying off for defending WPIAL champion Central Valley
- Clairton captures 12th WPIAL football championship
- WPIAL Class AAAA notes: P-T unable to snap playoff skid vs. Central Catholic
- Morgan Fitch set for ‘Feast of Fists III’
- Central Catholic wins 5th WPIAL football title
- Thomas Jefferson uses defense, running game to capture WPIAL title
- WPIAL Class A notes: Return sparks Clairton for 2nd straight week
- Jeannette junior Swinton says ‘football is my life’
- Thomas Jefferson boys basketball looks to contend in section race