CONKLIN (WBNG) -- The Susquehanna Valley football team didn't get the chance to go for the three-peat last season but with playoffs back, this fall the Class C state title is back on their radar.
"It gives them an end goal to work toward," said head coach Mike Ford. "It's a lot easier to motivate when you have something you're playing for."
For the coaching staff, the spring gave them a chance to prepare their younger players for the varsity level and how they can be vital a part of continuing their winning traditions.
"It was it gave us a chance to use some people in some different ways," said Ford. "I think it gives, every school in our area, a real advantage going into this fall because they were able to have the kids so recently."
Senior defensive end and right guard Dylan Andrade was on the state title team in 2019. In his last season as a Saber, Andrade knows being a leader to the younger players will be important in the team's success.
"We just have to lead the team and show them how it's done," said Andrade. "We have to show them that you can never quit and you have to hustle everywhere you go. You have to hustle on and off the field."
"He knows what's expected and he knows what he needs to achieve," said Ford. "To have a kid like that like a coach on the field is an excellent advantage."
Right by his side is fellow classmate, running back and quarterback Shane Cook who is also ready to step up and lead the sabers where ever they need him.
"That all starts with leadership," said Cook. "Every good team starts with leaders."
"Shane's like a Swiss Army knife," said Ford. "He was in the spring too. We can pretty much put Shane where we need to. We've been fortunate the last few years to have players like that who are versatile we can use in any situation."
Even with the post-season back this fall, the Sabers say they are not going to try to get ahead of themselves but take things one step at a time.
"Approach each game week to week," said Ford. "Get better week to week. Hopefully, stay healthy. Improve throughout the season and see where it lands us in the playoffs."
Susquehanna Valley opens the season on the road against Dryden on September 11 at 7 p.m.