JOHNSTOWN — Things are changing in Johnstown.
Over the past few football seasons, the Sir Bills record got a game-or-so better. However, now in their senior year, Jack Miller and Ryan Hoyt have significantly higher expectations.
“We’ve got something to prove this year,” said Miller, Johnstown’s quarterback. “We’re sick of getting punched around; getting hyped up and then just being mediocre.”
“As soon as last year’s season ended, the whole year we were talking about it,” Hoyt, a running back, said of ways to make this season different. “We’d be in coach [Paul] Furman’s office talking about next season.”
Miller and Hoyt know that the way to get the results they seek starts in the offseason, which is exactly what they did.
“We got a lot more guys in the weight room for our offseason program,” Miller said. “It takes the seniors trying to get the younger guys in there. Obviously, they’re our future and a lot of them are going to contribute. We need them to complete this team.”
“That’s a big thing we’ve been trying to change here, the culture and mindset of how you approach, not just football, but being an athlete,” said Paul Furman, who is entering his third season as head coach. “You need to prepare in the offseason. It’s not just something you can turn on and off.”
“A good amount of guys committed to it. You’re not going to get 100 percent every time, but we had the 80 percent and that’s what’s going to keep us moving forward.”
Miller was excited with the results he saw over the course of the offseason.
“A lot of things are changing and we’re all striving for excellence,” Miller said. “That showed in the weight room with guys having lifted their maxes up 30 to 40 pounds.”
Although the Sir Bills struggled last year against Fonda-Fultonville, a top Class C team, many of their losses were decided by a possession or two.
That includes a pair of three-point losses to Broadalbin-Perth and Ichabod Crane.
“There were a good amount of games last year where we came up just a little short. Because of one play or one decision, we’re on the other end,” Furman said. “If four or five plays went differently last year, we’ve got a much better regular season record.”
When Johnstown takes the field this season for the first time on Sept. 1 at Coxsackie-Athens, they will do so with many returning players.
“A lot of these guys have been playing on varsity together since tenth grade, and now they’re seniors,” Furman said. “Our offensive line, we return a lot of guys with inside experience. We only lost one starter and we’ve got some depth.”
Along with Miller, as a returning quarterback, Johnstown also has experience on the offensive and defensive backfield. Furman noted that wide receiver is an area he’s looking for new players to step up.
“We have a new offensive coordinator, so we’re going to be passing the ball a lot more this year,” Hoyt said. “All around I think we’re pretty good. We have some young linemen, but they’re pretty big. It’s looking pretty good.”
After facing Fonda-Fultonville on the road on Sept, 8, Johnstown plays its first home game of the season on Sept. 15 against Schuylerville.
Hoyt is still accepting the fact that he’s a senior, entering his final year of high school football.
“It feels a little weird, but I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “It should be the best year. Every year we’ve gotten better by one game, but I think this year’s going to be different.”