NEWARK VALLEY (WBNG) - Fall high school athletics opened practices on Monday across the Southern Tier. On the football field, its the beginning of a title defense season for the Newark Valley Cardinals. The Cardinals won its first Class C New York State Championship in 2016 but have to replace a lot of key contributors, including its head coach.
"It was a long thought-out decision," said former Newark Valley head coach Brian Sherwood. "I did it in the winter at the banquet. Both my boys are now in the program, and I would rather watch them as a dad than coach them as a coach."
Former head coach Brian Sherwood, gone from the sidelines this season. Former defensive coordinator Ted Hartenstein, takes over.
"We kind of tried to have a message that we have always tried to have, which is live in the moment and live in the present," said Newark Valley head coach Ted Hartenstein. "Last year was great. It was a great season for us, but in this moment in time it does nothing for us."
"Everyone on this team has a lot of trust in Coach Hartenstein," said Newark Valley senior running back/cornerback Tyler Beebe.
Jake Payne, Chad Wright, David Crow, Brett Stewart, all four of the primary ball carriers from last season graduated.
"Every year we lose about half," said Hartenstein. "Lose the senior class and have the juniors returning, and that's the same case this year. We lost some special kids last year but we have some special kids coming back too. It's exciting to see how they are going to perform and take on that little bit more of a leadership role."
Collen Hills and Tyler Beebe are two of the guys you'll see carrying the rock in the red and black this season and they are excited to run behind a big and experienced offensive line.
"Well our line this year is going to be really good," said Beebe. "We are just going to try and have the next man up and do the best we can to follow in the footsteps of last year."
"We have a big line this year," said Newark Valley senior quarterback/linebacker Collen Hills. "We should be able to do a lot with them and we should be able to push real hard down the middle."
Repeating as state champions is the goal for this group of Cardinals and it all starts week one against Tioga.
"They have been our rivals forever," said Beebe. "We are really looking forward to playing them and getting our season started off in the right direction."
"It's pretty exciting, because we've always been big rivals and we got them pretty good last year," said Hills. "I'm excited to see how we do this year with them."
The week one showdown between two recent state champions in Newark Valley and Tioga is set for Friday, September 1 at 7 p.m. at Tioga.