Shamokin adds Line Mtn., Central to football slate
COAL TOWNSHIP - Shamokin Area's varsity football schedule for 2014 and 2015 could lead to the birth of another local grid rivalry.
Line Mountain is tentatively slated to face Shamokin Area in a home and away series.
The Eagles and Central Columbia Blue Jays are tabbed as replacements for Pottsville Crimson Tide and Lewisburg Green Dragons.
The schedule was discussed Monday during an athletics committee meeting of the district's board of directors. It must be approved by majority vote of the full board before it is finalized.
There was talk Monday of the pros and cons of potentially dropping Southern Columbia Area from the varsity football schedule.
Board President Brian Persing and Director Bob Getchey, athletics committee chairman, each favor the move.
Getchey said removing the Class A powerhouse could soften the schedule as Shamokin Area attempts to rebuild under a new coach, Yaacov Yisrael.
"It's hard to play a tough schedule and get the kids to play football," he said.
Years ago when roles were reversed and Shamokin Area was a perennial power, he said Southern Columbia Area refused to play them.
Persing argued there are few on-field benefits to playing the Tigers.
Directors Jeff Kashner and Bernie Sosnoskie opposed.
Sosnoskie said Southern Columbia Area is a significant draw for the gate at Kemp Memorial Stadium and is a natural on-field rivalry.
Kashner said the rival program is a model to learn from, and one Shamokin Area should strive not only to emulate with regards to successes but also to defeat. He said Shamokin Area must not "run away" from Southern Columbia Area.
"I think we need to strive to be that way," he said of the rival program's success. "We lost to Mount Carmel the last 19 years and we're not dropping them."
All four along with Director Charles Shuey said it was up to Yisrael to make the decision. According to the directors, "Coach Cov" wants to keep the Tigers on Shamokin Area's schedule.
And that's where they'll remain - for now.
Yisrael continues to fill out his coaching staff. Discussion among committee members about that process was held behind closed doors.
Shamokin Area's tentative schedule for 2014 and 2015 is as follows: Week 1, Line Mountain; Week 2, Central Columbia; Week 3, Southern Columbia Area; Week 4, Selinsgrove Area; Week 5, Milton Area; Week 6, Jersey Shore Area; Week 7, Shikellamy; Week 8, Montoursville Area; Week 9, Mifflinburg Area; Week 10, Mount Carmel Area.
Home and away has yet to be determined.