Posten, Westbrook suiting up for Miners
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
A pair of local football players are taking the field with the Northeast Pennsylvania Miners this season as they begin a summer full of semi-professional football.
Tunkhannock Area graduate Ryan Posten, a 2003 grad, and 2009 Susquehanna graduate Justin Westbrook, are both strapping on the pads for the NEPA Miners, playing in the American Football Association.
Posten, 27, is playing in his second year on the Miners team, and is an offensive lineman at left guard.
“The team is looking good this year,” Posten said. “We have a new coach and brought in some new talent.”
While the team struggled a bit last year, finishing with a 5-5 record, Posten said he is optimistic about the Miners this season.
“I think we’re going to go somewhere this year,” Posten said. “We’re in a new league and we’re running things differently than last year.”
The Miners are now part of the Regional American Football League, and will run primarily a spread offense with a lot of plays out of the shotgun snap.
The team starts the year with a pair of non league games as a tune up for their regular season schedule, and Posten is anxious to get on the field.
“I keep playing for the love of the game,” Posten said. “I hadn’t played it since high school and when I found out about this league I jumped all over it. I hope to be able to play for the next few years.”
Posten said he enjoys being around other players and thinks of the Miners as a second family.
Westbrook, 22, of Susquehanna, said he got involved with the team through former teammate and former Miners player Brad Allen.
He will play as a defensive back as well as on the special teams kick off and onsides kickoff.
Westbrook is excited about getting back on the gridiron after a lapse in playing.
He was a four-year starter for Susquehanna under coach Dick Bagnall, and hopes to make an impact for the Miners.
“Once I decided I wasn’t going to college so I could work, I missed the opportunity to play football,” Westbrook said. “I’m just hoping I can come in and help the team any way I can.”
Westbrook said the team practices twice per week and has games on Saturdays.
He said the conditioning work is intensive, but feels that he keeps up well.
“It’s definitely intense,” Westbrook said. “Especially because of all the talented football players on our team.”
Westbrook said he is hoping the Miners can improve on their record from last year and make a run at the playoffs.
“It would be nice to go to the championships,” Westbrook said. “But we definitely want to make the playoffs.”
Westbrook is looking to take this opportunity with the Miners and turn it into a career.
“I hope to make it a career,” Westbrook said. “I know there are definitely opportunities to move up into indoor leagues.”
In hopes of expanding his opportunities with the Miners, Westbrook said he has been spending his free time working out and getting ready for the season.
The Miners played their first game on Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium against the Capital City Atoms.
June 23, home against Red City Outlaws,7 p.m.
July 14, atPhiladelphiaBraves,4:30 p.m.
July 21, home against Philadelphia Gators,7 p.m.
July 28, atElectricCityChargers,7 p.m.
Aug. 8, atNew YorkPredators,7 p.m.
Aug. 11, home against Maryland Hawks,7 p.m.
Aug. 25, atPhiladelphiaGators,4:30 p.m.
Sept. 8, home against Baltimore Blackhawks,7 p.m.
Sept. 15, home against Philadelphia Braves,7 p.m.
Sept. 22, home against Electric City Chargers,7 p.m.