Brian Batko profiles the Cornell football team.
(Photo: Cornell's players run through some plays Monday at practice, a sight for sore eyes after the program was discontinued following the 2011 season. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)
"As 30-some players lined up for their team picture Monday, a photographer yelled, "This is your first year back, so it has to be perfect!"
For Cornell football coach Ed Dawson and his staff, that bit of instruction couldn't be further from the truth. To Dawson, just hearing those words — "Cornell High School football" — brings a rush of excitement.
While many teams around the WPIAL rebuild and some merely reload, the Raiders football program must completely restart after a four-year hiatus. Cornell dropped the sport after the 2011 season because of low participation, but brought it back in January.
"It's been nice to stop at a convenience store and say, 'Oh my god, they're selling Cornell football hats,' " Dawson said with a grin. "Getting gas, there's T-shirts. I was at Walmart, and next to the Moon stuff, we had some Cornell things.""