Coach Matt Altomare gets his first win as a Blue Devil

Sports

Blue Devils looking to utilize first victory for momentum

LISBON, OHIO (WKBN) – Lisbon Blue Devil football coach Matt Altomare has been a head coach for over 16 years, but last Friday was a first for him.

With the Blue Devils’ 39-13 win over league rival East Palestine last week, Altomare won his first game as the Blue Devil head coach.  He has now accumulated 35 total victories as a high school varsity coach.

“It was great.  It’s always good, this is why we do it, to win football games,” Altomare said with a chuckle.  “To get that first one out of the way is always good.  Hopefully, there are many more to come.”

The Blue Devils improved to 1-3 on the season, having lost a close battle with Wellsville in the opening week, and then losses to the two league leaders in United and Leetonia.  The game with Leetonia was especially surreal for Altomare after having played and graduated from Leetonia and then coached in the Bears program for 24 years.

“Surreal is a good way to describe it.  It was strange, it really was.  The week leading up to it and all that.  Every week you have a different opponent, a different opportunity, but I’m not going to lie.  I’m glad we are on to the next part of the season and we got that week over with,” He admitted.

He added, “It was stressful just because Leetonia has a good team and we are starting here in year one with the program and trying to get things rolling.  It’s always stressful when you’re going against a good team, a well-coached team, and you know you are going to have to play well to beat them.  So that was most of the stress about that game.”

With the shortened regular season before the playoffs, the win in week four was a much-needed confidence boost and morale builder for the Devils.  They will be playing in Division VII, Region 25 playoffs on October 9th.

“It’s important, it’s important to get a win because then it validates all the hard work that the kids have put in, all the effort that they have done since we have been able to get back together.  You want to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor sometimes.  So I think that’s the biggest thing,” He explained.

“It was great,” Blue Devils senior Ryan McCullough said of the win.  “Coach Altomare has always been very optimistic with us.  He is a positive person and he pushes us every day with lifting or telling us where we need to improve.  He is an honest guy and he has helped us a lot this year to point us in the right direction.”

“It was very important,” Senior linebacker Abram Simms remarked about the victory last week.  “I wish we had it a lot sooner than we did, and I wish we had a lot more, but things didn’t go our way.  Now that we have a win we know what it feels like, and we are going to want it even more and fight harder for a win.”

“Here in Lisbon, they had a little bit of rough year here last year.  They didn’t get many wins and then starting off at 0-3 it was very important to get that win and hopefully, we can build off of it.  Every game we have played we have had chances and we have had opportunities, and that’s good.  There are positive things we can take from every game we have played so far, and things to build on,” Altomare concluded.

The Blue Devils will host Valley Christian this Friday and then wrap up the pre-playoff regular season on October 2nd when they will entertain Columbiana.  The Blue Devils have also scheduled additional games following the playoffs to hopefully have an 11-game season.

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