Delhunty ready to help lead Elkers football team

By Bob Parana - Staff Writer

After getting his temperatures taken and going through the COVID-19 symptom check administered by head coach Mark Heindl, Ridgway Elkers senior Ricky Delhunty ran onto the practice field ready to lead his teammates as they prepare for the season opener Sept. 18 when they host the Kane Wolves.
The season was in doubt due to COVID. When the decision was finally made to proceed with fall sports the Ridgway seniors was relieved and ecstatic. “Oh my gosh, I’m glad we’re having a season. After all this COVID stuff I was getting a little nervous. I’m glad we’re here,” said an excited Delhunty.
Seniors stepping up into leadership roles is a constant with the Elkers who have won four straight District 9 championships (Class A in 2016 and 2017 and Class AA in 2018 and 2019). Delhunty and his senior teammates will be looking for a third straight medal and is happy to assume the role.
“It’s exciting. I’m just ready to hopefully lead these guys to another district title. I learned from the best - Robert (Briggs) last year and Evan (Furlong) when I was a sophomore. I hope I can fill those shoes well,” said Delhunty who played on both sides of the ball with determined passion last year. He knows his job this season is more than just playing, knows what it takes to win, and offers advice to his younger teammates. “Work hard and do your best. If you’re here to play then play don’t be dilly-dallying. It’s time to put our game face on. We could lose this season just like that with everything that is going on. We need to play every game like it’s our last,” he said.
Heindl’s varsity staff includes Rick Viglione, Mickey Delhunty, Jack Kifer, Tony Defilippi, Joe Roseto, Brad Nina, Brian Hinton, and Scott Salberg who are the envy of the district. The Ridgway senior is thankful to have them lead the way. “They know what they’re doing. I would never take that away from them not even for a minute. They’re the best we could ask for,” said Delhunty.
District championships have become the norm for the Elkers. It’s a goal that is set at the start of each season. Delhunty is ready to begin the quest for a fifth when the team takes the field Sept. 18 against the Wolves. “It will be the real deal. Where ready to kick some butt. We know what to expect and we know we have to work hard,” he said.
It’s been a gift covering the Elkers the past two seasons. It’s evident watching the team interact that it’s more than just football. “Going through the whole quarantine thing without seeing my friends was rough. Getting to come out here and seeing some of my best friends and my football teammates is nice. I’m going to enjoy every second of it. There’s nowhere I would rather be,” said Delhunty.
2020 Ridgway Elkers schedule: 2020 Ridgway Elkers football schedule: Sept. 18 – Kane, Sept. 25 – at Bradford, Oct. 2 – at St. Marys, Oct. 9 – Bradford, Oct. 16 – St. Marys, Oct. 23 – at Kane, Oct. 30 – at Otto-Eldred, Nov. 6 – Smethport.
Note – the final two games could be affected by District 9 playoff games.