Martin Tobias has experienced the excitement of a new season 23 previous times as Penns Valley head coach.
At the Mountain League media day last week, he tried to downplay his 24th experience that he’s undergoing before the 2019 season.
However, the slight lump in his throat when he talked about this year’s Rams couldn’t cover up just how much this team means to him.
It’s understandable since the senior quarterback is also his son, Aaron Tobias, and his son’s closest friends make up much of this year’s roster.
“Every year is different. It’s hard for me to put one season over another,” Martin Tobias said. “This one’s special for numerous reasons. Aaron being one of them in his senior year. But his classmates are also his friends and his teammates are his friends, and they are kids that have been to our house. They are family to us.”
Martin Tobias is excited for his “family” because expectations are higher than they’ve been for the Rams in a decade.
Penns Valley is coming off the program’s first winning season since 2007, back when this year’s senior class was in kindergarten.
The Rams finished last season with an 8-4 record and they advanced to the District 6 Class 2A semifinals.
Aaron Tobias, senior tight end/linebacker Logan Snyder, and senior left tackle/nose tackle Sam Martin all agreed that last year’s victory over Central in Week 4 served as a turning point for the program.
After a 1-2 start to the season, the Rams went down to Martinsburg and slayed the Dragons and on their way to winning seven of their final nine games last season.
“After Central, we saw that we could hang with anyone at that point,” Aaron Tobias said. “We really put our foot on the gas and took off from there.”
Penns Valley returns seven defensive starters and eight offensive starters from last season, including Pennsylvania’ top returning passer Aaron Tobias, who threw for 3,075 yards in 2018.
Tobias’ O-line also remains mostly intact with Martin, A.J. Dorman, John Aston and Zach Royer.
Martin said that there is a more confident and competitive mindset around team workouts this summer heading into the start of camp.
“We all still know that we need to get better and work as hard as we did last year,” Snyder said. “We know we have a different feeling in our locker room. We know we can be better.”
2019 PENNS VALLEY RAMS
Last Year’s Record: 8-4 (District 6 Class 2A semifinalist)
Coach: Martin Tobias (24th season)
Returning Offensive Starters: Eight
Returning Defensive Starters: Seven
Estimated Roster Size: 35 players
Schedule: Aug. 23, vs. Fairfield; Aug. 30, at Clearfield; Sept. 6, vs. Bald Eagle Area; Sept. 13, vs. Central; Sept. 20, at Huntingdon; Sept. 27, vs. Midd-West; Oct. 4, at Bellefonte; Oct. 11, at Bishop Carroll; Oct. 18, at Tyrone; Oct. 25, vs. Philipsburg Osceola
Tobias’ Outlook: “We’re not going to surprise anybody. People know there are expectations and they are going to be ready for us. We have to be prepared as well. There are no easy games in our conference. There are no easy games on our schedule.”