Junior varsity football players share experiences

Ryan+Hopkins+running+with+the+ball+at+his+football+game+on+October+10th%2C+2017.+Hopkins+ran+with+the+ball%2C+but+got+tackled+soon+after+by+a+member+of+the+opposite+team.
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Junior varsity football players share experiences

Ryan Hopkins running with the ball at his football game on October 10th, 2017. Hopkins ran with the ball, but got tackled soon after by a member of the opposite team.

Ryan Hopkins running with the ball at his football game on October 10th, 2017. Hopkins ran with the ball, but got tackled soon after by a member of the opposite team.

Chastity Brunner

Ryan Hopkins running with the ball at his football game on October 10th, 2017. Hopkins ran with the ball, but got tackled soon after by a member of the opposite team.

Chastity Brunner

Chastity Brunner

Ryan Hopkins running with the ball at his football game on October 10th, 2017. Hopkins ran with the ball, but got tackled soon after by a member of the opposite team.

Chastity Brunner, Reporter

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As the seventh and eighth grade football season comes to a close in October 2017, Damon Luciano, Ryan Hopkins and Conner Reimer gave some insight on their season and future plans.

Altoona native Julian Howsare brought attention and excitement to the area when he was drafted into the New York Jets. Junior varsity athletes and coaches have a passion for football. Family traditions and passion keep the players and coaches on the field.

“I like being around the kids seeing them work hard and come together. We end practice saying ‘family.’ We’re together as one team. Our team is pretty good at it,” eighth grade football coach Damon Luciano said. “If our team loses I accept the loss. My job is to prepare us to win. If they don’t they play the game right, I put the burden on myself,” Luciano said.

Conner Reimer gets ready to practice hitting at football practice on Oct. 16, 2017. Reimer hit the tackling mat, then went to the back of the line. Photo by Chastity Brunner

Luciano played sports growing up and football is always something he’s liked to do and participate in. 

“My first day…..wow high school. I was probably 22. I was not nervous; I was excited to be helping out. I was just a volunteer back then, it was fun, not too many responsibilities,” Luciano said.

Luciano has been coaching for around 27 years. Although it has it’s up’s and downs, Luciano has made it a point to try to get all of the players into at least one game.

“Basically we evaluate how they practice. With the help of different lifting practices over summer. Practices, attitude and effort give play time,” Luciano said.

Football has been a part of Luciano’s life for a very long while. Luciano has always found a way to work around practices and games, and still have time to spend with his family.

“It was tough when my kids were young, I would take them all to lifting in the summer. I usually meet Sundays with my staff for the upcoming week. I’m always doing something, it’s just part of the way it is. My family grew up with it we’ve always done the best we could,” Luciano said.

Football has been in some families for generations.

“My grandfather was a big inspiration to me; he was kind of deal in Altoona, and he was a football coach,” eighth grade student Conner Reimer said. “I plan to if stay in football if I can, I want to get drafted to college or get a scholarship.”

Reimer and several other students on the eighth grade football team want to stay in football if they can and their family members have made an impact on their life.

“My biggest inspiration is probably my dad. He would always tell me about football stories when he was younger,” seventh grade student Ryan Hopkins said. “I’m not really trying to think of my future. I’m focusing on right now.”

Hopkins as well as Reimer have been playing football since fourth grade. 

“I play defensive end and offensive tackle, and I get a lot of play time,” Reimer said. “I try to push myself to be the best I can be.”

“My main position is wide receiver. I get to play pretty much the whole game,” Hopkins said. “I don’t really know what to do in order to not lose our next game. Just if somebody does something wrong I help them fix it or make them feel better.”

Eighth grade players look forward to joining the varsity team next year while seventh graders will step up to take the places of team leaders.