Schalmont football coach transformed the Sabres

SCHALMONT, N.Y. – The Schalmont High School football team has won many championships in the past five years, but as players have come and gone, the one constant is the head coach.

Before Joe Whipple arrived at Schalmont in 2009, the football program had never won a playoff game. Since then, the Sabres have never missed the playoffs.

But it didn’t start all good. Whipple lost the first two games he ever coached the Sabres – a big deal for a man who has lost two games in the last two years combined.

Since then, Whipple has completely changed the culture at Schalmont, and it started with his staff.

“That’s the first step you have to have,” Whipple said. “Surround young men with good role models, and we did just that.”

From there he helped expand the team weight program and tailored the defensive and offensive schemes.

“We go into it every year based on our personnel trying to get the best 11 guys on the field, and so far it’s done well for us,” he said.

But beyond the practices and weights, the most important thing Whipple has done is give the players confidence they can achieve anything.

In the last half decade, the Sabres have five Super Bowl wins and two trips to the state finals. But the one thing missing for Coach Whipple and his staff is a state title, but they can move one stop closer to that with a win this weekend.

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