SCRANTON, Pa. — They say the early bird gets the worm. That's why the Falcons are flying high at spring practice, getting the early work in.
"You get to actually work on skills and I don't think we do enough of that in football and so we're not worrying about scheme so much," Lackawanna Football Coach Mark Duda said. "We're worrying about actual fundamental football, which is really what it's all about for me."
And Mark Duda would know. He's been at Lackawanna since day one in 1993.
"It's amazing how long it's been, but how fast it's gone," Duda reminisced. "I can remember coming here a long time ago and thinking I was going to be here for a year or two, and that became 30."
This fall will be the 30th season is school history. Three decades of churning out talent to Power 5 schools. Even at the Blue-White Game last week, Penn State-great LaVar Arrington gave Duda's program a shoutout.
"Whatever Coach Duda is doing with them there at that safety, cornerback position, he's doing an excellent job because they're some pretty special dudes," Arrington said on the Big Ten Network broadcast.
He was talking about former Falcon Ji'Ayir Brown, but there's a new generation of Falcons looking to soar to new heights, guys like former Valley View Cougars – Cyler Rozina and Janaasah Boone, Lackawanna County-natives writing their own Lackawanna College stories.
"This place really helps out the local guys, especially me and Janaasah (Boone)," Rozina, a sophomore defensive lineman said. "They gave us the big stepping stool that we needed to get schools looking at us from Power 5, from the Big Ten, all that."
"It's a great stepping stone and great school to get you out there and really work on your skills," Boone, a freshman cornerback added. "I just want to be able to ball and have fun and do it in a winning spirit. I want Lackawanna to be a winning school. So, definitely want the 30th anniversary to be a good one."
If spring practice is any indication, it will be.
"We're excited for the season because we really feel like we can make a run at the national championship," Rozina said.
Never too early for these early birds.
For the Falcons, it all leads up to the annual spring game: May 7th at 1:00. Coach Duda told me that day's going to be a lot of fun, but the real thing starts this fall.