Turning the corner

By on September 19, 2012

Todd Ruth

Ephrata Review

Sports Editor Sometimes success cannot be measured in wins and losses. And if that statement was ever made for anyone, it is the Ephrata High School football team.

From afar, it doesn’t appear that much has gone right for the Mounts and first-year head Coach Scott Shelley.

While the defense has been solid, the offense has scored just seven points in three games, which have all been losses. However, looking at the situation a little more closely, there is much to like about what has gone on.

What I’ve been impressed with most is the coaching staff hasn’t wavered. They are still preaching the "Building the Foundation, Brick by Brick" approach. And it appears, slowly but surely, the kids are getting it.

After Week One, a game in which they were manhandled 42-0 by Exeter, I went from thinking my prediction of a .500 season was looking to be a very generous one. I was wondering when I left the field that night whether this team would even win a game.

However, there was some definite progress made between Week One and Two. You couldn’t really see it on the scoreboard but you could see it in the way they played.

Then came Week Three and the Mounts had a legitimate chance to beat Warwick Friday night. The offense continued to improve, the defense was stout, and for the first time I think the kids truly believed they had a chance to win.

Credit the staff. They have done an amazing job with this team. And although the wins have yet to come, I now have no doubt they will in the very near future.

Ephrata made a great choice in hiring someone who cares so deeply about the program as Shelley. While I know the first few weeks had to be tough, he and the rest of the staff have not wavered.

They have remained positive and determined that their formula is the right one. And the players, to their credit, are buying in.

It’s a beautiful thing to see.

Cocalico: While Cocalico lost its first game of the season Friday night, I can’t say enough about how impressed I’ve been with this team through the first three weeks.

At 0-2 with losses to Wilson and Lancaster Catholic, Mifflin was like a wounded animal Friday night, and it was a tough match-up from the start. I wouldn’t read too much into that one defeat.

The Eagles have the look of a team bent on making a serious run this year in Section Two. They have two starting-caliber quarterbacks, a stable of quality running backs and a nice offensive line that should continue to gel.

I’ve been most impressed by the physicality of the defense. These guys really hit people, and seem like they enjoy doing it.

Barring injuries, this team has the look of a serious contender.

Speaking of Mifflin: Was totally impressed with the Mustangs’ sophomore quarterback Jan Johnson Friday night. At 6-2, 195, his size is impressive enough. Then you throw in his elusiveness and poise, not to mention a nice arm and realize this is someone who has a very bright future.

I found out after the game that he is actually the nephew of former Cocalico wrestling Coach Dave Johnson, so he has good bloodlines as well! More RUTH, page B-3

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