High school football was in the air Tuesday in Olyphant.
For a third straight year, coaches and players from every LFC team gathered at the Regal Room for the unofficial kick-off of the upcoming campaign.
This year's edition of the event was organized once again by former Paupack skipper and Hall of Famer Stan Kucharski.
"It's great to see everyone here again at the start of what should be another exciting season," Stan told the assembled crowd of coaches, players and media members.
"We're looking forward to seeing our kids, our teams and our league hopefully enjoy success at every level of competition."
Each head coach brought two players with him to meet the media for the first time this year. A delicious lunch was served, followed by nearly two hours of friendly interrogation by writers and talking heads.
The 2013 season gets underway Monday with the first official day of practice.
Opening Night is set for Friday, August 30 with a full slate of games at fields all over the region.
Ready to Roll
Dr. Mark Watson was on hand representing Paupack.
"I'm always excited for the start of a new season," Dr. Watson said.
"Every team has a clean slate and the possibilities are pretty much endless. I can't wait to get our kids out on the field and see what we have."
The Buckhorns will kick-off their exhibition slate against Lakeland Saturday morning, August 17 on the shores of The Big Lake.
Six days later, on Friday, August 23, the Bucks travel to Plymouth for their final tune-up against Wyoming Valley West.
Page 2 of 3 - Two of the players who'll be expected to provide leadership in this games and far beyond are Jovaughn Marshall and Dominick Basilicata.
Both are seniors and each brings an unique skill set to the gridiron.
Breakin' it Down
Marshall struggled with eligibility issues early in his high school career.
However, through hard work and determination, Jovaughn has put those troubles behind him and is ready to make major contributions to Paupack's varsity squad.
"I'm very proud of him," Dr. Watson said. "Jovaughn is a good kid and he's a heck of an athlete."
Marshall traveled to an elite high school football combine in the Bronx back in April and dazzled all the scouts. Jovaughn placed third out of 900 competitors and was invited to visit the New York Jets training facility afterward.
"That was a great experience for Jovaughn," Dr. Watson said. "He's going to be on the field a ton for us this season and if he's as good as I think he can be ... look out!"
Marshall is slated to line up at tailback and also wreak havoc from his defensive end position.
Basilicata saw significant time at the varsity level last season on offense, defense and special teams.
Listed at 5'5" and 175 lbs, Basilicata started at strong safety and also played as a running back.
"Dom is a little bit small physically, but he's just a great kid," Dr. Watson said. "Dom is a football player. He has a great work ethic, he's energetic and always excited to be on the field."
Paupack struggled through a disappointing season last fall.
Page 3 of 3 - The Bucks looked good in a Week One battle with perennial powerhouse Valley View, but managed only three wins overall an one within the division.
"I'm optimistic about this season," Dr. Watson said.
"Last year, we'd lost so many seniors and only had two returning starters. So, I had an inkling we might be in trouble. This year, I think we're in much better shape."
The Buckhorns will once again compete in the LFC's rugged Division One in 2013. Their opponents will include Scranton, Delaware Valley, Abington Heights, Valley View, Prep, North Pocono and West Scranton.
"It should be an interesting year," said Dr. Watson. "The competition is tough as always, but if we don't finish at least .500 I'll be very disappointed."