PINE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — In the last three years, Pine Richland football has had the same number of coaches as there have been seasons. This year, the new face at the helm of the Rams is a familiar one.
For Head Coach Jon LeDonne, Week 2 will be a little more than just a regular season matchup, as he returns to the field he called home for the last five seasons.
“You know, when I took the job at Penn Hills, I said the only position I will leave for is where the community I live in,” said LeDonne. “The opportunity presented itself and I had to go after it.”
Yet LeDonne’s decision to leave the Indians for Pine Richland was not an easy one.
“I went back and forth on it for a while just because of the relationships I’ve built there,” said LeDonne. “The type of kids there, what we’ve accomplished over the last five years and what we built there.”
One of those accomplishments included a 2018 Class 5A state championship. That level of success is just part of what LeDonne wants to carry over to his new squad.
“We’re just looking to continue the tradition that’s been going on here,” said LeDonne. “The winning ways of not over just the last 10 years, but the last 20, 30 years of Pine Richland football.”
LeDonne credits his players for upholding that level of success, especially through the ups and downs the Rams program has faced the last three seasons.
“Just their leadership and togetherness that they all have, the senior class especially,” said LeDonne. “They’ve been through a lot, but they’ve been playing together for 12, 13 years now and they just have high expectations.”
LeDonne will be the first to tell you there’s no pressure as he takes on this new challenge.
“You know, we talked about one at a time,” said LeDonne. “It’s another game as far as I tell the kids. It’s just another game, another regular season game and we’re just going to take it one day at a time.”
The stakes may be raised just a bit more than usual when the Rams open up the conference slate Friday night on the road against LeDonne’s former team.
“It’s going to be rough, for sure,” said LeDonne with a smile. “I’m sure they aren’t going to want to make eye contact pregame or during the game, but it’s all love. We’re going to go out and try to put on a great performance.”
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