Action Sports Spotlight - Newark Valley Football Turnaround

By WBNG News

July 20, 2010 Updated Jul 20, 2010 at 3:29 PM EDT

"We're cautiously optimistic and we're going to go far," says junior quarterback Troy Schiess.

A bold statement that would've seemed laughable just two years ago.

That year, Newark Valley's only win came by forfeit.

The school played an independent schedule last year with the hopes of having more success.

It worked and the Cardinals continued a remarkable turnaround story by winning the division six title with a perfect 6 and 0 record.

"Our thing this year was that we were going to be underneath the radar and, like you said, we're not that anymore," says head coach Jack Short. "People know who we are. They know we can throw the ball, we know we can run the ball."

And that all begins with senior Travis French, perhaps the area's best-kept secret.

A rare blend of punishing power and straight-line speed, French has piled up nearly 16-hundred yards with a section-best 19 touchdowns.

"The linemen are the key," says French. "If I didn't have my linemen, I wouldn't be able to do what I do running the ball. I couldn't get the yards without them."

"Travis, like I said, a special kid, just keeps on rolling," adds Short. "We're just happy that he came out of another game healthy and ready to go into another one."

The next one is the school's first playoff game since 2001.

Just 20 guys fill out the Valley's roster, but they've all brought the same hard-working, blue-collar mentality to the field every day.

"Every week, we practice hard and we can't get too high on ourselves," explains French. "We keep down, we're just ready to play."

"We've just go to come out and play our game," adds Schiess. "We shouldn't worry what everybody else is saying. It's what we do. We dictate what goes on in the game and we just got to play ball."

Hoping to write another chapter in this feel-good story.

In Newark Valley, Justin Horowitz, Action Sports.

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