SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – The 2020 season was a tough one for the Sharon football team. The Tigers posted just two wins in seven games.
“Today it’s behind us, because today it’s a new season,” said Head Coach Jason McElhaney. “So, it was a motivator for us throughout, and now we’ve moved on.”
This fall, McElhaney enters his third season as head coach, looking help the Tigers avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2012.
“We talk to them about that,” admitted McElhaney. “What do you want to leave here? Do you want to be one of the guys with the plaques on the wall? Or, something else?”
Sharon players used last season’s result as a motivational factor.
“It fueled us to work really hard in the weight room and to come out on the field all summer and just work harder to not get the record that we had last year,” said senior Lineman Bryce Carroll.
Sharon’s strength this season lies up front. Carroll, a three-year starter, anchors a line that is loaded with varsity experience.
“The O-line’s always huge,” Carroll said. “No matter what, because it’s the backbone of the team. We gotta keep the quarterback safe in pass protection. We’ve gotta create the holes for the running back.”
“They’re the most important thing that we have,” McElhaney said. “That’s not coach-speak. You can have the best group of skill behind it that you’ve ever had, but if you can’t block people, and you can’t protect the quarterback, it doesn’t matter.”
Headlining the skill positions is standout wide receiver Ja’on Phillips, who doubles as a defensive back. He caught 31 passes a year ago and is a big-play waiting to happen with the ball in his hands.
Sharon will be young at quarterback but plenty deep in the backfield. Jayden Robinson is among four players expecting a fair share of carries.
“Pretty hungry. I’ve been waiting for this basically all year, for real. I’m just ready to play,” Robinson said.
The Tigers will open the 2021 season against Corry, seeking their first week one victory in more than a decade.
“Just getting the first win and having the momentum come through to week two and then week three,” Carroll said. “And if we just keep building on wins and wins, it’s gonna bring even more momentum, more confidence. It’s gonna be great for the team.”