PINE GROVE - There has been plenty of change during the years at Valley, but for the most part, excluding a few seasons, the one constant has been coach Tom West patrolling the sidelines.
That will not change in 2013, however, with a bevy of returning starters and other kids who received plenty of playing time last year, West is hoping that the end result will change for the better.
This seems to be West's kind of team with a veteran offensive line, a returning quarterback, plenty of speed at tailback, and a big, bruising fullback to lead the way.
The offensive line will be led by two-year letterwinners Wesley Dulaney at guard and Luke Martin (6-2, 250) at tackle, both are seniors. Juniors Travis Slater (5-11, 280) and Tyler Williams (6-3, 260) are back at guard and tackle, respectively, while sophomore Dustin Lowe (6-0, 230) is a letterman who will man the other guard spot.
The two tight ends will be senior Chase West (5-10, 160), Tom's grandson, and junior Hayden Lancaster (6-2, 160), who both logged plenty of minutes last season.
Back under center will be senior Tristen Kocher (6-1, 175), while speedy sophomore Trey Streets (5-9, 160) returns at tailback and classmate Liam Midcap (5-6, 150), who played a lot as a freshman, will be the other running back. Last seaon, West moved giant offensive lineman Spencer Mason to fullback and he rushed for a little less than 1,000 yards. This year, it is junior Peyton Palmer (6-0, 235) who makes the move from center to fullback with hopes of the same results.
Senior T.C. Long (5-9, 200) will also be available at fullback with sophomore Kale Lloyd (5-8, 195) and freshman Matthew Throckmorton (5-8, 160) able to handle some carries at running back. Streets and Lancaster are both capable of coming in at quarterback for Kocher.
Other offensive line candidates include junior Cole Sell (6-0, 160) at guard, sophomore Cole McGee (6-0, 155) at end and freshmen Alex Midcap (6-2, 160) at end and Colby Bucher (6-1, 205) at guard. Dulaney can move over to center if necessary.
If the Lumberjacks can muster a pass rush, they might be difficult to throw the ball against with three returning starters in the defensive backfield. Chase West is back at defensive halfback with senior Gunner Knotf (5-8, 165) available for support, while Lancaster and sophomore Joey Preat (6-1, 160) are at safety.
Streets, Liam Midcap and Kocher all return at corner with junior Taylor Bates (5-8, 140) another option.
Martin and Dulaney, who both received playing time last year will be the defensive tackles with Bocher and Slater as backups, while Long is back at one end, Lowe will man the other and Alex Midcap will vie for playing time.
The linebackers will include Palmer, who returns, Lloyd, Throckmorton and freshman Brian Powell (5-11, 160).
Palmer and Kocher will handle the kicking duties again, with Palmer on the kicking end and Kocher punting.
"We have a bunch of kids that are interchangeable in the defensive backfield," Tom West said. "That is going to be a strong point on that side of the football. And I believe that our offensive line experience will lead to a very solid backfield also.
"Streets did a good job last year and is back, and I really expect a lot from Liam Midcap.
"There are always high expectations. We have a lot of experience, but we are still a young football team also. There are some sophomores who played a good bit last year and juniors coming in with two years experience. Overall, I really do believe we can be pretty good."
While Mason will be tough to replace on both sides of the football, tight end/corner back Troy Hubbard and Brock Stackpole are also graduated from last year's squad.
"Our schedule is competitive, but I really don't believe it is as tough as it has been in the past," Coach West added. "There are some big games with Cameron, Clay-Battelle and (Clarksburg) Notre Dame, but we will have to be ready to play every week."
Assistant coaches this season include Shane Highley, Lance Binegar and Logan Miller.
Wesley Dulaney, Gunner Knotf, Tristen Kocher, T.C. Long, Luke Martin, Chase West.
Taylor Bates, Hayden Lancaster, Peyton Palmer, Cole Sell, Travis Slater, Tyler Williams.
Kale Lloyd, Dustin Lowe, Cole McGee, Liam Midcap, Joey Preat, Trey Streets.
Colby Bucher, Alex Midcap, Brian Powell, Matthew Throckmorton.