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JV football wraps 9-0 season



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October 27, 2010 - By Olivia Shumaker, Special to The Review

While the Lake Orion Dragons were putting together another successful varsity season - an 8-1 record and an OAA division title - the school's junior varsity put together the kind of season that shows it can feed the Lake Orion football machine.

The junior varsity team finished 9-0 record - something that hasn't happened in Lake Orion since long before these players were born.

"I have asked some former players, coaches and teachers who have been involved with the program either coaching or playing in the last 25 years and they do not remember the last time it happened," said junior varsity coach Ron Sliwinski.

Certainly, Sliwinski had some idea of what the group could do.

"I had heard many good things about this group of kids since they were in middle school," he said. "We realized they had a lot of potential to be a very good team if they continued to work hard and absorb what was being taught."

The success of the JV Dragons is undeniable. In the nine games, the Dragons used a powerful offense and a stingy defense to beat their opponents soundly. Scoring a whopping 355 points (that's more than 37 points per game) and only allowing 59 points (less than seven per game), the JV team took no mercy on their foes.

"The defensive players came out and played hard-hitting, aggressive football but they were still disciplined and played within the scheme," Sliwinski said. "I think the balance in the offense was shown in back-to-back weeks when we scored eight touchdowns by six different players one game, and the next week we scored eight touchdowns with seven different players. This is probably the best offensive line I have had on JV when you combine their ability to run and pass block."

As with all Lake Orion football teams, the junior varsity team had their fair share of preparation, starting soon after their freshmen season ended.

Many members of this 55-player team participated last winter in Lake Orion's power-lifting program, lifting weights at 6 a.m. four mornings each week.

Then through the summer, players were involved in camps and academies that led right to beginning of practice in early August. During the season, the players meet each day after school and on Saturday mornings for practice and preparation.

"We have a set routine that seemed to work well for the team," Sliwinski said. "During the school week, all the players met together after school for an hour in a classroom to do homework, watch film of the next opponent, or go over new plays and adjustments we might have for the week. The day after our game, we have the players run and watch our game film to focus on areas we can improve upon. Another thing that I feel was very important was having the players lift weights on Saturdays."

Yet, through all of the preparation, the polishing and the fine-tuning, Sliwinski said, "I hope the players will see this season as a learning experience and realize that they will have an opportunity to do something special as long as they continue to work hard and play as a team."

The junior varsity team's success came from hard work and dedication, and the coach was happy to see his players achieve success.

"To see them have as much success as they did during the season was great, they are a great group of kids and they worked hard to achieve their goals this season," Sliwinski said.

Olivia Shumaker is a sophomore at Lake Orion High School and an aspiring journalist. Her brother plays Dragon JV football.

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