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Northeast Pennsylvania has established itself as stronghold for high school football and in recent years some of the best teams in Class A have been from District 2.

Last season, Old Forge gained local and state recognition for its stellar championship season.

The Blue Devils marched to the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III title, with a 5-0 division record in the division. Old Forge went on to win the PIAA District 2 Class A title with a decisive 47-6 win over arch-rival Riverside in the PIAA District 2 title game.

After winning a division title and a PIAA District 2 Class A title Old Forge will be a team everyone wants to beat.

"Well, obviously it puts more pressure on you," said Old Forge football coach Michael Schuback. "Whenever you are successful as a program the hardest thing is to stay successful or get better."

The championship season has fueled the Blue Devils players and coaches to work hard to defend its title in the offseason. The team captains have been instrumental in leading the players and setting the example for the younger players.

The captains are Brian Tomasetti, Michael Vieira, Tyler Clark and Tony DeSanto they were all key members of the Blue Devils' title run last year. Tomasetti is a four year starter, who will team with Vieira to give Old Forge a very strong running back combination. Jorden Sekol is a powerful fullback, who will help pave the way for the running backs.

The running backs will certainly have an experienced offensive line to run behind. Schuback feels the line might be the strength of the team. Clark and DeSanto will be two way players on the offensive and defensive line.

"Up front collectively we feel that it is a great cohesive unit. We have been stable in that position from tight end to tackle," Schuback said. "We have been consistent making calls and making on field adjustments."

The Blue Devils are strong at tight end where Shane Schuback will hold down the position and play linebacker on defense after an impressive breakout sophomore season.

Old Forge will have Brenden Wahl starting at quarterback. Schuback said he has been the in the system for two years and is a very intelligent quarterback, who takes what the defense gives him. He also possesses a very strong arm.

"I am very proud of how they bonded together," Schuback said. "The sky is the limit right now. We are eagerly anticipating the start of the season. We have two road

games in Wilkes-Barre and then we come home to Old Forge."

Coach Schuback said the team attended a camp where they matched up with

much larger Class AAA and Class AAAA teams, which helped get Old Forge ready to

defend its titles.

"We are focused on what we have. We can't change what other people have,"

coach Schuback said. "Our main concern is to get our 30 or 31 players better week in and

week out."

The start of the season features two road games, first at Lake-Lehman Friday

night and at Meyers the next week. The home crowd will get to cheer the defending

champions for the first time against Holy Redeemer in week three, followed by a

showdown with Dunmore at home before traveling to Riverside for week five.

"The bottom line is you have a bull's eye on your back now, so everyone is going

to bring their best game to you every time you play," Schuback said. "They are going to

want to upset the champ. We have to expect every game to be a hard game."