PLYMOUTH — When a team gets to the top, there’s just one direction to head.
Crestwood doesn’t plan to make a sudden descent this year.
Crestwood, along with players and coaches from the Wyoming Valley Conference football teams were on hand Thursday for media night at Wyoming Valley West High School. The Comets, though, arguably have the biggest target on their backs after a season where they won the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A and District 2 Class 3A championships.
“We’re shaping up pretty well. We’re working on it,” Crestwood senior lineman Noah Kita said. “Last year was a different season. It was a great season, but we have to focus on this season and the people who we have now and keep working.”
Crestwood lost many key players from a 12-1 team that steamrolled most opponents, including school all-time leading rusher Frank Aigeldinger, all-purpose quarterback Jay Popson and linemen Rodney Koch, Frank Cordeiro and Matt Bobeck. All five were selected to the Times Leader All-WVC team, with Aigeldinger earning Player of the Year honors.
Before coach Greg Myers arrived 10 years ago, Crestwood had a revolving door of coaches, none of whom had any success. Crestwood had 12 consecutive losing seasons prior to Myers taking over in 2006 and never won more than four games in any of those 12 years.
“There are always expectations that are high for us from our coaching staff,” Crestwood senior lineman Christian Kintz said. “But like Kita said, we have a lot of young players we have to build up and get to that level we had last year.”
Receiver Connor Sheloski and running back Tanner Kahlau are the most experienced skill players back. Both will be keys to the offense.
“I think my role will definitely get heavier,” Sheloski said, “but we still have a lot of skills players to spread the ball around, give the ball to everyone.”
One team at the opposite end of the WVC big-school spectrum is Williamsport. The Millionaires were a formidable bunch when they joined the WVC in 1994. The program has found only sporadic success since then and hasn’t had a winning season since 2010, going 8-32 over the last four years under two different coaches.
Now Williamsport has a third, Charles Crews. Crews was the head coach 10 years at Chester High and, unlike the WVC’s other new coaches, has to build a rapport with his colleagues.
“It’s difficult when you don’t have the relationships with the other coaches,” Crews said. “You have some concerns about film exchange and gamesmanship. But when it all boils down, football is football. You hope the gentleman you’re competing against respects the game as it should be.”
Whether Crews can restore Williamsport to its status of the 1980s and 1990s obviously remains to be seen. He has been pleased with the work ethic in voluntary workouts, and the players feel they relate better to a coach who has experience in a similar situation.
“I think our team is adjusting well,” Williamsport receiver Dante Wright said. “We’re kind of inner-city kids and he’s well connected with that.”
Official practices for all teams begin Monday, with first scrimmages scheduled for Aug. 22.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar