Going into his third season, Patriots Head Coach Scott Hamilton said he is pleased with the work the team has put in.
“This has been the best summer I’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Hamilton, who began in 2011.
Throughout the summer Hamilton said the team has been lifting weights and becoming a “more polished” team.
Helping to “polish” the offense was former University of Charleston head football coach, Tony DeMeo, who assisted Hamilton with some drills.
DeMeo retired in 2011 after coaching college football for more than 20 years and has turned around multiple football programs with his triple gun offense.
Hamilton also hosted Ralph Isernia, head football coach of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Isernia ran a two-day camp for the entire football program, Junior Patriots included.
Isernia has been coaching for 22 years and was recently named the head coach at Rensselaer in March.
Hamilton said the Patriots have doubled their numbers in workouts and have gotten better.
“We’ve gotten bigger, faster, stronger,” he said.
With more depth than the last few years, according to Hamilton, Paulding County will have 16 seniors, returning eight starters on offense and seven starters on defense.
Hamilton named seven players as this season’s key returners – quarterback Corin Duginski, running back Thomas Sieh, cornerback Mark Toussaint, defensive lineman Brandon Ballard and linebackers Dustin Gore, Caleb Sailors and Yann Mondon.
While the Patriots finished last season with a 1-9 record, Hamilton said they aren’t changing anything about their game this year.
“Nothing we haven’t already started. Just taking it day by day. It’s a step by step battle…We’re headed in the right direction,” Hamilton said.
Paulding County hasn’t had a winning season since going 8-3 in 2003 and has not been to the playoffs since losing to St. Pius 14-10 that same season.
With the exact same schedule as last year, the Patriots play their first game Aug. 23 against region foe New Manchester. Last season Paulding County lost 23-20 to the Jaguars in their season opener, but Hamilton and the team are not thinking about last year’s results. Instead they are merely anticipating game time this year.
“We’re just ready to get started,” said Hamilton.