ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Sayre football is set to return to the varsity level.

2023 will be a fresh start for the Sayre Redskins. The football program will make it’s return to the varsity level in the Northern Tier League’s Small School Division, following a 2022 season which only featured a JV team. 2022 saw the Redskins loose their varsity season, due to low turnout and safety concerns, as well as a “no” vote for combined football with Athens.

This year Sayre will feature plenty of experience including 11 seniors and highly touted prospects at running back, quarterback, and linebacker. Senior wide receiver Dayton Medina shared his excitement on the return and believes that after the Redskins delivered an 8-0 JV season last year, they will be a serious competitor in this year’s NTL.

“We had a JV season last year and went 8-0, said Medina. So, I feel like we proved to everybody that we can compete on the varsity level.”

At the helm of the team will be first year head coach Ricky Lindblad. Lindblad will be taking the team over from Kevin Gorman. Lindblad is a graduate of the Spencer-Van Etten/Candor, both playing and assistant coaching for the Eagles. The new Sayre coach is no stranger to the NTL, as he previously was the head coach for the Wyalusing Rams football team at the junior high and junior varsity level. Lindblad is ready to hit the field with his team and has set several goals.

“I really think our leaders are itching to get back on the field, said Lindblad. We’re going to lean on their leadership and get the other kids on the same page, saying that we are going to compete. We want to be .500, we want to be competitive in all of our games, so we can get back to playoffs. That way we can continue to build, especially with a brand new coaching staff.”

Lindblad and the Redskins expressed plenty of excitement at this year’s NTL Media Day, sharing that the team is already working with the community. At the heart of all the thrill, is what promises to be a special week 2 game at the Lockhart Street Bowl. After opening their season on the road against Canton, the Redskins will return varsity football to their home stadium on September 1st. The game will not only be a memorable moment for Sayre’s seniors, but for Lindblad as well, who will be standing opposite from his former JV team from Wyalusing.

“Week 2, when we play Wyalusing is going to be pretty special, said Lindblad. The seniors at Wyalusing right now, are the first team that I had as a junior high coach, before I moved up with them JV wise. Standing across from them during the game, we’re opponents, but after the game is over, I look forward to catching up with them, seeing how they are doing, and wishing them luck on the rest of their season.”

For Medina and his teammates, the week 2 match up is one they want to win, for their new head coach.

“We are motivated, said Medina. Those are coach’s old stomping grounds and we are going to show out for him.”

In addition to the aforementioned first two weeks of the season, Sayre will end out their regular season with the return of the Rusty Rail Rivalry game at the varsity level. The Redskins will host Athens for a 7 p.m. game on Friday, October 27th. A full look at Sayre’s 2023 schedule is listed below.

8/25 @ Canton Warriors* (A) – 7:00 pm
09/01 Wyalusing Area Rams (AA) 7:00 pm
09/08 @ Muncy Indians* (A) 7:00 pm
09/15 @ Marian Catholic Colts (A) 7:00 pm
09/23 @ Cowanesque Valley Indians* (AAA) 7:00 pm
09/29 South Williamsport Mounties* (A) 7:00 pm
10/06 @ Northwest Area Rangers* (A) 7:00 pm
10/14 North Penn-Mansfield Panthers (AA) 7:00 pm
10/20 @ Montgomery* (A) 7:00 pm
10/27 Athens Wildcats (AAA) 7:00 pm (Rusty Rail Game).