The Pine Valley Panthers had a tough non-league game last week in a 40-12 loss to the Cassadaga Valley Cougars.
Things don't get any easier this week when they open the Class D portion of the schedule tonight against the Sherman Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.
"I know they beat up on Clymer real bad last week," Pine Valley coach Chris Buczek said referring to Sherman's 32-0 win. "They have a super athletic quarterback and athletic receivers. They have a nice defensive line. They are not real small either."
Though Pine Valley didn't have the size of a team like Cassadaga Valley, Buczek saw last week's loss
as a chance for his players to see where they are, and where they need to be, to be a successful team this season.
"I think the nice part about playing a non-division game is it is a test," Buczek said. "We got tested against a bigger school and it opened our eyes to what's ahead of us. It's nice to go against a big school for a measuring stick. It's harder though because we didn't walk away with as many positives as the whole team had hoped for."
With that said, Buczek knows for his team to pull out a victory, the Panthers must play as a team and win all the individual battles.
"I think as a whole, everybody needs to do their responsibilities better," he said. "Against Cassadaga Valley, none of the plays, even the two we scored on, not all 11 guys were together. As a whole, we need to handle our responsibilities better to be successful.
"Sherman is well coached and they are scrappy kids," Buczek continued. "If we can win 11 1-on-1 battles, we will be OK. Sherman won most of those battles last week. They held Clymer to 70 yards rushing. As far as weakensses, we will stick to what we game planned last week, but do it better. Hopefully if we can do those things, we will be succesful."
And though Buczek knows his team has its hands full tonight, he says that's the nature of the beast in Class D.
"Every game is going to be tough for us," he said. "All seven of these weeks is tough. It's hard work. All these teams are good. You show up and watch two schools work as hard as they can. These schools don't have the size of a bigger school, but these small schools work soo hard at what they do."