JAMESTOWN, N.Y.- 2012 was unfamiliar territory for Southwestern. The Trojans finished with a losing season for the first time under head coach Jay Sirianni. This will be his 11th year with Southwestern.
When you’ve hit the bottom, all you can go is up. That’s how Coach Sirianni is approaching this season after the year that just passed. “We’ve had a good run in the last ten years and last year we ended up 3-6 so right now I think there are no expectations and that’s a little bit different going into the season. But we have expectations for ourselves and our team has certain goals and we’re excited. I think you go through a losing season like that does that to you but I think there’s some new energy around. We’ve got a whole bunch of new kids in, we want to gain experience as we go but we’re excited to where this season is going to go,” said Coach Sirianni.
The players are entering this season with a new mindset too. Senior defensive end/offensive tackle Kyle Moran points out this team wants to avoid 2013’s results. “Last year was something that was new to Southwestern and you really during the off season and everything you don’t want to go back there. We’ve had everybody working since January to not have a repeat like that and have a positive season,” Moran said.
Some might think it’s hard to reflect on a 3-6 season. But Hunter Peterson, a junior running back/outside linebacker points out how the team is using it to help them. “The coaches always talk about how they’ve never had a bad season like that. I just moved here last year and I never really had a good season either. It was a struggling season so that’s just motivation for everyone and being a team captain trying to encourage everyone and just keep a positive attitude no matter what happens,” Peterson explained.
One challenge for Southwestern this season is replacing the starters lost from last season. Right now Coach Sirianni doesn’t have a starting quarterback, but points out the competition for the job. “We have three kids right now that are battling out and they’ve been working hard over the summer. We have an idea but we’ll see the scrimmage is going to tell us a lot at a lot of different positions,” said Coach Sirianni.
It’s always tough for any coach to replace a starting quarterback. But Coach Sirianni has other experienced players to rely on in 2013. One of those players is kicker Tanner Hoose, who is on his way to breaking some records this season.
“I’m going for the all time field goal record for the state and I’m one or two away so I’m going to try and break that,” said Hoose.
Hoose explains how his father got him started in the game. Then he got to where he is today by just working at it a more and more every season. “As I started out as a freshman I wasn’t really sure, I just kind of came out and my dad was a kicker in college. He basically got me into it and then I started off as a freshman and I kind of came in and thought let me try this out. Then sophomore year I got sort of pushed into it a little more and someone got hurt so I was thrown into it and I was ready to go. Every year I’ve just added on and built on just from practicing more often,” said Hoose.
When taking a closer look at this season’s schedule, coach Sirianni points out every game will be tough. It’s just the nature of the league Southwestern is in.
“If you look at our league, we have some good teams in there with Fredonia coming back down, Salamanca is real strong again, Alleghany has got some kids back from last year and with Silver Creek coming in they had a good year and they’ve got a good quarterback coming back. We have some really tough teams in there with Faulkner our rivalry at the end of the season and we open up with Gowanda. With a young team and no experience every game is just going to be a learning experience,” said Coach Sirianni.
Players know its a tough task ahead but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in themselves. “Truthfully right now I see a big mountain. There are a lot of good teams and I know it’s a tough schedule but it’s going to take a lot of heart and perseverance to maybe get by those big teams like Salamanca and Olean. Those are two good teams and Alleghany Limestone the same,” said Hunter Peterson.
Southwestern opens up the 2013 season on the road at Gowanda on September 6th.