TOWN OF CONKLIN (WBNG) - 2016 did not end up being the year of the Susquehanna Valley on the football field. The Sabers finished the regular season 4-4, missing the Section IV Class B playoffs. The Sabers were young last season and now entering 2017, head coach Mike Ford has his budding Susquehanna Valley team hungry.
"We are young again this year," said Susquehanna Valley head coach Mike Ford. "We only have nine seniors, but we had seven sophomores up last season who contributed. So we are young, but we are experienced with young kids."
One of those seven sophomores contributing in 2016 was starting quarterback Jarred Freije, who is ready to take another step forward entering his junior season.
"(I) definitely have a lot to prove and a lot to lead the team with," said Susquehanna Valley junior quarterback/linebacker Jarred Freije. "But, (I) have the experience to lead them with a positive attitude this year."
"He is a tremendous football player, but he is also a good student of the game," said Ford. "He's picked up a lot of the reads, a lot of the audibles, and just understanding the game. So, it gives us a big advantage because it's like another coach on the field."
The Sabers are expecting a lot out of its offense this season but according to the players, the strength of the team is its chemistry.
"Our team's passion (is our strength)," said Freije. "We are all out here, not just to be on a team, but we want to win all together."
"We're brothers," said Susquehanna Valley junior wide receiver/defensive end Dan Wager.
Wagner continued, "We've been playing together since we were seven or eight years old, and we've got a quick team coming up."
"It's a very tight-knit group and they've been together since they were seven years old," said Ford.
New to Section IV this season, all eight teams in Class B will make the playoffs, setting up an entertaining regular season.
"This year's kind of an exciting year for Class B," said Ford. "There's only eight of us, so we play everybody in the division this year. So, every game matters and every game counts, and that's going to effect your seeding for the playoffs. So, we know that every game we have something at stake."
It all starts week one against Chenango Valley.
"We've been pumped since January," said Freije. "We've been looking forward to this first week."
The Sabers head to Chenango Valley Week 1 on Saturday, September 2 at 1:30 p.m.