Berwick Football Preview 2012
It’s back to the future for Berwick football as former head coach George Curry comes out of a three year retirement to lead the Bulldogs. Gary Campbell, who had a 46-25 record including the 2008 District 2 Championship, returned to his former job as head coach at Waconah Regional in Dalton, MA in May. Berwick turned to Curry the state’s all time winningest coach who begins his 43rd year as head coach with a record of 413-91-5 which ranks him 4th nationally among active coaches. Curry inherits a team that won its final 8 games last season on the way to a 9-3 record culminating in an Eastern Conference Division 3 Championship. Thirteen starters return. He also inherits three of his former varsity coaches in Andy Mihaley, Keith Seeley, and John Jola. Dave Parmenteri and Brad Wenner round out the varsity staff.
The Bulldogs will be very strong at the wide receiver position. They return their two leading receivers from last season in seniors Jake Pecorelli and Jeff Steeber. Curry will also use last season’s starting safety Will Masteller at that spot, and he looks good .
Zach Ladonis, Trevon Simmons, and Andrew Force will provide depth. On the offensive line, the Dawgs return both starting tackles in seniors Gavin Harter and Andrew Groome. Unfortunately Harter suffered a serious leg injury in the preseason and will miss half the season or more. The other issue will be replacing everything up the middle- three year starters- center Jake Jola and quarterback Jared Pierce, both starting guards and leading rusher Jeremy Freeman. Curry is very optimistic about the new starters at those positions. Dalton Perla, a sophomore with good size, smarts, and toughness is the likely starter at center. There is great competition for the guard spots with senior Brent Harner, junior Kyle Stearly, senior Adam Harrison, and Mason Vandermark, a sophomore. Curry feels the competition will make them all better.
The starting quarterback will be junior C.J. Curry who backed up Jared Pierce last season, completing 6-8 passes for 98 yards in limited varsity competition. The grandson of Berwick’s head coach, Curry has worked hard all summer and should do well especially with the offensive weapons around him.
Curry’s offense will use a fullback a, and there are two great candidates at that position: 6-3, 260 pound junior Ray Grasley and fellow junior A.J. Vandermark who will wear the traditional Berwick fullback number of 99. There are several talented players at the tailback spot including Matt Cashman, a senior who carried the ball 34 times last season. Curry has nothing but praise for two outstanding sophomores- P.J. Wiegand and Nate Maczuga.
Overall the offensive outlook is bright. Berwick has the potential to be a high scoring offense.
This was a Bulldog weakness last season. Poor tackling was a major problem. Berwick will start in a 50, but the Dawgs will employ multiple looks.
The defensive line could be a strength for Berwick. The injury to Hartyer is a major setback, but seniors Andrew Groome and Adam Harrison and junior Ray Grasely all have great size and toughness. There are six others to add depth. The defensive end position is also a strength with senior Brandon Dalberto sharing time with juniors Will Updegrove and Ian Mazonkey. All have great size. Injuries to Dalberto and Updegrove last season hurt the Bulldogs.
At linebacker junior Jordan Stout and senior Travis Potter return as starters. There should be depth with juniors Tanner Weaver, A.J. Vandermark, and Chris Hampton along with sophomores Max Jones and Zach Andreas.
The secondary should be strong. The four players who started in the Eastern Conference final (corners Matt Cashman and John Bushinki and safeties Jake Pecorelli and Jeff Steeber). There are numerous other candidates. Curry says the two best tacklers will be the starting corners.
In his 43rd season as a head coach, George Curry will have a female on his team for the first time. She is sophomore Olivia Seely who has impressed Curry with her placekicking abilities. Will Masteller will likely kickoff while the punting duties will be handled by either Alex Klinger or Matt Cashman. Sophomore Nick Talanaca was very impressive this summer as a long snapper. Berwick is blessed with numerous talented kick returners including Matt Cashman who returned two kicks for touchdowns last season. Overall the special teams should be a strength.
With a potentially explosive offense, an improved defense, very good special teams, plus the Curry factor, Berwick should be a District 2 contender in Class AAA. The schedule is challenging with Pottsville and Wyoming Valley West likely to provide major tests.