HAMBURG—The 10 days leading up to the official start of Springville’s 2018 football season have been spent in a series of scrimmages that began at Hamburg and continued to Cardinal O’Hara last weekend.
On Friday, Aug. 31 Springville will get its official first test in perhaps one of their toughest opponents of the entire season at Maple Grove.
“Maple Grove is a program that’s known across the state,” said Springville football varsity head coach Rob Valenti.
“They’re very good. The writers and the pundits and the prognosticators have all picked Maple Grove to beat us. They’re a premiere program in Section VI,” he said. “They’ve been able to have incredible upset wins against higher caliber teams with Division I talent like Bennett. They’ve got state championship rings and have been the state runner-up the past two seasons in Class D.”
Valenti has adjusted his game plan slightly due to some injuries on the team, but is hoping his offense can keep pace with Maple Grove’s and limiting turnovers as the key for an opening-season win.
“I think they’re going to be difficult to shut down entirely, but if we can take away some of the things they like to do in the run and pass game and limit them to a degree and not turn the ball over, I think we can be in a position to have an upset,” Valenti said.
After scrimmaging Hamburg Aug. 21, the team took on three more opponents Aug. 25 that began with Cardinal O’Hara, followed by Lewiston-Porter and ended with North Tonawanda.
Valenti was pleased with his team’s progress during the scrimmage time, leaving the games “happy.” He called the effort of the team tremendous, but noted there was still work to be done.
“Overall I would say [the team] exceeded my expectations.”
One of the things that have pleased Valenti most has been the development of his new starting quarterback, Nick Emmick.
“We’re still an option football team so to have a young junior quarterback in Nick Emmick and have him making reads and for him to be doing that as quickly as he was at times at the scrimmages was really exciting,” Valenti said. “It’s exciting to see his arm strength and the velocity on his passes, and with his height and stature he can really see the field. It’s been a very long off-season, almost eight full months so we’re excited to finally play a game.”
The football boosters sponsored a dinner for the football program that included the cheerleaders, varsity, junior varsity and modified football teams Aug. 22. The Springville Football Fanatics held its ninth annual steak roast dinner at Springville Health and Fitness that was catered by Papa Jake's Restaurant.
The Maple Grove game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in Bemus Point. The Griffs will follow that game with their home-opener against Medina Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at Pop Warner Field.