EMIGSVILLE — Entering his 33rd season as the head football coach at Central York High School, Brad Livingston still gets pumped up for the first day of practice.
Even when his team isn't quite where he'd like it to be at this point.
Livingston was in charge throughout the Panthers' practice Monday night, mixing a bevy of motivating statements with a handful of compliments. Coming off back-to-back York-Adams League Division I titles, his expectations for this year's squad, which has to replace quarterback Dylan Hose among others, hasn't changed one bit.
"We're going to three-peat," Livingston said after practice concluded around 8:30 p.m. "We're winning."
Livingston's vote of confidence, which he vocally shared with his club at the conclusion of practice, was a little bit of a contrast to some of his harsher comments throughout the night.
"Everything is junior high speed," he shouted at one point, clearly disappointed with the speed on both sides of the ball during a 7-on-7 drill.
At another point he had to remind his defenders that, "good things come to those that run to the football."
Despite those moments, Livingston was generally pleased with the way everything went.
"The first day in and everybody made it through," he said. "Things went somewhat smoothly, all things considered, and there were times when we had good tempo at practice."
While this year's team has both its share of promise and questions, for Livingston it still feels a lot like his first season at the helm back in 1982.
"You get pumped up in different ways," he said. "There were some years when I used to wake up in the middle of the night and sit out on the front porch. Then there were some years where we worked hard all summer, you sleep well, set your alarm early and you're excited to go."
At least so far, those early, restless nights have cropped up again for the veteran coach.
"The last couple of nights with this team it's been more worrisome," he said. "I know we're really not ready to play football yet and I think we will have a good football team at some time, but the clock is running and we'll need to get better in a hurry."
One position that Livingston is hoping to have solved is at quarterback, where junior Nik Strine is battling with sophomore Shannon Valenti.
"I like our quarterback situation," he said. "We thought very highly of Nik last year. He has a tremendous arm and he has a year backing up Dylan. He fought tooth and nail last year for the starting job, but Dylan won it and went on to have a great season. And Nik was very mature about that. And Shannon is a real nice young kid who has a lot of talent and he's trying to push Nik right now and that's going to make Nik better."
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.