By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | January 18, 2014
The Troy football program earned more recognition for their successful season recently, beginning at the top with coach Jim Smith being named the District IV Coach of the Year.
"It's an honor to be voted by my peers, the coaches of District IV for this," he said. "Coaches do this for a lifetime and never be honored like this. It's something I'm proud for our football players and our staff."
The last NTL coach to earn this recognition was Athens' Jack Young in 2004 when the Wildcats won the district title.
Smith, though, knows it takes a staff, even a community, to put together a championship football season.
"I am smart enough to realize that I'm a small part of this honor," he explained.
Smith pointed out Troy Athletic Director Ché Regina as a big help this season.
"He facilitated all my needs in building a program here at Troy," he explained. "He has been a huge influence."
Smith also recognized his staff.
"We had a dozen coaches that poured their heart and soul into developing this program," he said. "A strength coach in John Imp that made sure we were the strongest team in District IV. I was really fortunate to have coached a great group of athletes, that whole thing combined to make this possible. I think it's really good for the program to get this kind of recognition."
It's been quite the jump for Smith and his staff when he took over the program just three years ago.
"It's really a whirlwind," he explained. "We've taken it one step at a time. The goal every week is to be competitive and to win and the overall goal is to build a program. A lot of schools have football teams, it's another thing to build a program. It's very difficult to do that this day and age with budget cuts and all those things. You've got to be very creative and I've had the opportunity with a really good group of coaches and administrationg at the school that's really helped out."
When Smith took over the job winning a district title wasn't on his mind.
"I wouldn't have expected that we would win a district title in year three," he remarked. "After our second year I thought we had the team and to be honest with your that was our goal this year. I'm just really happy the kids were able to achieve that goal."
Now as they go forward Smith hopes will add another brick in the foundation of Troy football.
"I think it gets the monkey off the back a little bit to have success for us like this," he said. "The kids have already responded, they've even got bigger goals. They're back in the weight room, working hard, talking about football. The community out pouring this year was unbelievable. I think that keeps the kids excited. A little bit of success this year allows the kids to know that it is all possible. If they put their minds to it they can reach some high goals and it's not by chance but through hard work and dedication and they understand that."
Troy also had five first team District IV North All-Stars: Jed Wright at quarterback, Dylan Brennan at center, Levi Smith at defensive tackle, Walker West at defensive end and Nick Stephani at outside linebacker.
Towanda had two with Nick Place at defensive tackle and Noah Huff at corner back and Canton had one with Connor Route at guard.
Athens' Troy Stivason was selected to two first team positions, kicker and punter.
Earning second team honors was Wyalusing's Dylan Otis at fullback, Sayre's Jeremy Kyc at running back, Wellsboro's Brian Doty at center, Wellsboro's Wyatt Covert at outside linebacker and Blake Gamble at tackle, Troy's Caelen Taylor at tackle and defensive tackle, Kyle Schucker at inside linebacker, Brandon Mattocks at cornerback and Josh MacClaren at kicker and Canton's Ben Pepper at punter.
Earning honorable mention was Wellsboro's Michael Pietropola at quarterback and corner back, Wyatt Covert at fullback, Dylan Prough at wide receiver and defensive end, Jack Chambers at kicker, Ben Davis at defensive tackle, Kieron Smethers at defensive end, Jermain Brooks at strong safety and Nick Marple at corner back.
For Towanda Dan Leljedal at fullback Tony Daniello at versatility and free safety, Nick Place at center, James Tice at guard, Logan Terry at tackle, Dakoatah Manning at inside linebacker, Dylan Bates at outside linebacker, Dayton Wickwire at strong safety and Tyler Vanderpool at punter.
For Troy Diante Jones at running back, Walker West at tight end and Brock Schucker at tackle.
For Wyalusing Luke Jennings at runningback, Dustin Voda at tackle and defensive tackle and Dylan Otis at inside linebacker.
For Athens Tyler Forbes a fullback, Zane Vargason at outside linebacker and Troy Stivason at corner back.
For Canton Tanner Machmer at tackle and Brian Jannone at kicker, North Penn's Bryce Zaparzynski made it for versatility and Isaiah Compton for guard and Sayre's Derek Myers at guard and Gabe Nobles at tackle.