ShareThis Page
Sports

'Look team' helps Ford City stay perfect

| Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010

At the end of last Thursday's practice, Ford City's football coaches went through their usual routine of awarding helmet stickers to players for various accomplishments.

The first acknowledgment was practice player of the week. Assistant coach Joe Stivason stood among the players, who had gathered in the bleachers, and announced a sticker was earned by "every look-team member that's eligible."

Almost all the boys cheered. Stivason's declaration seemed to promise stickers for anyone who had passing grades and represented the opposition at practice during team drills.

Not so fast, Stivason said. He stipulated that starters, or "fill-ins" as he called them, did not truly belong to the look team and therefore did not earn the stickers.

Several starters groaned with slight disappointment. Missing out on a sticker certainly didn't ruin their week, but they wanted some acknowledgment for what had become an enhanced role in practice.

In an effort to remain focused as the playoffs approach, Ford City has put more starters on the look-team side of the ball at practices during the last couple of weeks. The goal of the adjustment, players and coaches said, is to push and challenge the starters rather than let them go less than full speed against back-ups.

"You try to break (the routine) up so it's not monotonous," coach John Bartolovic said.

Such measures are necessary because the Sabers (7-0, 5-0) simply haven't strained much on Friday nights. Their average margin of victory is 29.43 points. And neither of their final two Allegheny Conference opponents — Apollo-Ridge (0-7, 0-5) and Burrell (4-3, 3-2) — has defeated Ford City in the past five years.

To avoid performance lulls at practices, Ford City has used players that are primarily one-way starters on the look team. More recently, the Sabers' coaches have split starters evenly between two teams and given each squad three plays to go 10 yards. The losing team does up-downs.

"We just talk to them about what's at stake, having a sense of pride and always working hard no matter who (the opponent) is," Bartolovic said.

Sabers starters say they don't mind representing the opposition on occasion. Nor do they care to go easy on their fellow lettermen.

"You don't want to go any lighter on them, because then they'll go lighter on Friday night," said Joe Peluso, who starts at center and also fills the position for the look team.

Defensive back and wide receiver Garrett Sigler attributed much of Ford City's perennial success to the strength of the Sabers' look team.

"You have to do the best you can do to make the other players better," Sigler said. "They get mad at you for that time for making them look bad, but they know, deep down, they'll know what to do from now on."

Being a look-team member does not mean players get a free pass to do as they please on offense or defense, lineman Brandon Fulton said. Coaches, if not players, still demand proper technique.

"If you mess up on defense, even though it's an (offensive) practice, they're still going to get on you about it," Fulton said, "because they want you to go hard and stay focused and make the offense better."

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.

click me