Last Build Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 4:43:29 UTCCopyright: Copyright 2015
Sun, 25 Nov 2012 04:42:58 UTC
2012-11-25T04:43:29ZALTOONA, Pa. - A gold medal dangling around his neck, Bellwood-Antis senior Seth Worthing posed for a few photos with teammates and savored the moment. "I'd played kind of conservative all year, but tonight, I played really aggressive," Worthing said. Worthing left Bishop McCort fit to bedeviled with an all-around performance more than worthy for a championship game stage. Worthing... ALTOONA, Pa. - A gold medal dangling around his neck, Bellwood-Antis senior Seth Worthing posed for a few photos with teammates and savored the moment. "I'd played kind of conservative all year, but tonight, I played really aggressive," Worthing said. Worthing left Bishop McCort fit to bedeviled with an all-around performance more than worthy for a championship game stage. Worthing registered three takeaways on defense and amassed 130 yards of total offense while Bellwood-Antis (12-1) harassed Bishop McCort's (9-4) normally steady passing attack into an 11-of-29 night and forced five Crimson Crusher turnovers in a 54-3 mercy rule victory to claim the program's first District 6 football championship since 2007 Saturday night at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona. With the victory, Bellwood will face District 3 champion Delone Catholic (9-3), a 28-13 victor over Steelton-Highspire, next Friday in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal game at Altoona's Mansion Park Stadium, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. In PIAA mercy rule games, which Bellwood invoked with 10:48 left in the game, a running clock is employed in the second half when a team leads another by 35 points or more. The clock only stops for timeouts, injuries, possession changes or scoring plays. If the losing team pulls within 35 points at any point after the running clock is invoked, the mercy rule still remains in effect. At one time, Bishop McCort had won four consecutive meetings against Bellwood, but the Blue Devils won a narrow affair last year, 11-10. Saturday night, however, the Blue Devils might as well have owned their playoff rival from Johnstown. "They won every phase of the game," said McCort head coach Kevin Sheridan. "They execute their schemes very well." Little more needed to be said. Sheridan was making his first title game appearance as a head coach and is in his second season overall. At one point in its history, the Crushers won four consecutive District 6 football championships split between the A and AA classifications. In the frigid Mansion Park air, it was Bellwood-Antis doing the crushing. "I don't think you ever expect that," veteran head coach John Hayes said of the 51-point margin of victory. "But getting off to that fast start and getting that first score always loosens you up as a team. Our defense played super all night long." Worthing's spark plug of a 49-yard run highlighted Bellwood's opening touchdown drive, and it was just the start of the night. He rushed for 82 yards on nine carries, completed two passes for 48 yards, picked off two passes and recovered a fumble. "I've never had three takeaways in a game - that's more than I've had in any game all season," Worthing admitted. "He's made big plays all season long," Hayes said of his senior. "Even on busted plays, he is so quick that he can use his speed to make something positive happen." Worthing also deflected a pass, thwarting McCort's best drive of the evening, which ended in a 30-yard field goal by Jordan Spangler in the first quarter and cut Bellwood's lead to 7-3. But the Blue Devils blew right down the field again, and Casey Gray scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to make it 15-3. And the Blue Devils weren't about to slow down. "This is the fastest team I've ever had," Hayes said. "We're very blessed because we have kids who can run." Gray, Worthing, Haden DeGennaro, Jake Stapleton, Cameron Wood & company in the Bellwood backfield all contributed in a 351-yard rushing effort, and the Blue Devils' offensive line comprised of senior Keith Shawley and juniors Kyle Maceno, Nick Torsell, Ryan Snyder and Ethan Hunter h[...]
Sat, 24 Nov 2012 23:24:51 UTC
2012-11-24T23:25:30ZALTOONA, Pa. - As a small band of reporters meandered away from Selinsgrove head football coach Dave Hess, the Seals' ringleader made one small, simple request. "Hey guys," Hess said, smiling. "Just make me look smart. Please. That's all I ask." Truth be told, Hess had already earned straight As for his power-running game plan which helped Selinsgrove win its... ALTOONA, Pa. - As a small band of reporters meandered away from Selinsgrove head football coach Dave Hess, the Seals' ringleader made one small, simple request. "Hey guys," Hess said, smiling. "Just make me look smart. Please. That's all I ask." Truth be told, Hess had already earned straight As for his power-running game plan which helped Selinsgrove win its first PIAA playoff game since 2009. Selinsgrove (10-3) bulled its way to a 325-yard rushing effort and forced eight turnovers on defense in a 41-14 rout of University Prep (7-4) Saturday afternoon in a PIAA Class AAA playoff game from Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona. With the victory, Selinsgrove will take on District 11 champion Allentown Central Catholic, a 23-0 winner over Abington Heights, which victory Saturday marked the Seals' first PIAA playoff victory since the 2009 PIAA AAA championship game and also the program's first 10-win season since 2009. Looking at the score and knowing the Seals forced eight turnovers, it would be hard for some to believe that University Prep made it challenging for Selinsgrove. Yet the runners-up of the Pittsburgh City League did exactly that. "We didn't have any film exchange," explained senior Mike Walter. "We had to go to Clearfield to get game film of them (University Prep). That fired us up." Walter played especially inspired ball, crashing through University Prep's defense to the tune of 151 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 21 carries and also playing linebacker on a defense which limited a high-flying Panther passing attack to a 19-of-45 day while forcing seven interceptions. Seven - spread out amongst five Selinsgrove defenders. Tyler Krebs and Logan Benner each had a pair of picks while Hunter Kantz, Austin Benner and Zach Adams posted one pick apiece. "That's a great day for us," Hess said. "I seriously lost count of how many interceptions we had because we were getting so many. But that's because we have lots of kids around the ball." "Their strength was our weakness," said University Prep head coach Lou Berry. The game did not end in a mercy rule, but Selinsgrove was far from merciful with the punishing running style of Walter and fullback Connor Leisenfeld. The duo accounted for all six Selinsgrove touchdowns for the game - Walter scored four on runs of 15, 4, 1 and 29 yards and Leisenfeld added the others on runs of 2 and 1 yard. "We've been blessed with two fullbacks who are really big, power guys," Hess said. Walter hadn't seen any time in his career as a ball carrier until this season, and it was his first career four-touchdown game. "It's my senior year and this very well could have been my final game," Walter said. "We've got a reputation (in the state playoffs) and alumni always telling us to continue to carry it on." Walter raised his season rushing totals to 577 yards and a team-leading 13 touchdowns. Leisenfeld added 93 yards and raised his season rushing yardage total to 217 with four touchdowns. "I'm so proud of my teammates," Walter said. "Our line played awesome." On the opposite sideline, Berry was disappointed to see the career of first-year varsity starter and senior quarterback Akil Young come to an end. University Prep had won its first two PIAA playoff games in school history, over Somerset and Clearfield Area, and Young finished the Panthers' postseason run with 1,005 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. "He will be difficult to replace," Berry said of Young. Marcus Johnson's 61-yard punt return for a touchdown brought University Prep to within 14-8 of the District 4 champion Seals, but that was as close as they'[...]
Sat, 24 Nov 2012 03:31:15 UTC
2012-11-24T03:31:58ZHERSHEY, Pa. - The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was established in 1940 to protect both bald and golden eagles within the United States borders. Bermudian Springs, nicknamed the Eagles, probably wishes high school football teams also received protection under that same federal law, because it got gunned down by Wyomissing. Wyomissing (13-) ripped and rolled through Bermudian Springs... HERSHEY, Pa. - The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was established in 1940 to protect both bald and golden eagles within the United States borders. Bermudian Springs, nicknamed the Eagles, probably wishes high school football teams also received protection under that same federal law, because it got gunned down by Wyomissing. Wyomissing (13-) ripped and rolled through Bermudian Springs (12-1) for an impressive 403 yards rushing on just 40 team carries, claiming the program's first District 3 football championship since 2006 with a 44-0 rout in the District 3 Class AA title game from Hersheypark Stadium Friday night. With the victory, Wyomissing will face District 4 champion Danville, a 28-21 victor over Mount Carmel Area next Saturday afternoon in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game at Hersheypark Stadium. Danville won its first District 4 football championship since 1999. In PIAA mercy rule games, a running clock is employed in the second half when a team leads another by 35 points or more. The clock only stops for timeouts, injuries, possession changes or scoring plays. If the losing team pulls within 35 points at any point after the running clock is invoked, the mercy rule still remains in effect. At the onset of the game, someone in the press box quipped about the lack of flashiness of the paper banner the Spartans' football team ran through onto the field. But Wyomissing flashed past the Yorks-Adams League rep Eagles all game long. "We're pretty explosive," said Wyomissing head coach Bob Wolfrum, who won his 240th career game in the process. "They (Bermudian Springs) were hurt and we out-personnelled them. But he (Bermudian head coach Jon DeFoe) does a great job with that program and I love the way he coaches his team. "Save tonight, they had the same record as us each of the last two years we faced them," Wolfrum continued. "There's no baloney between our two programs. It's just a good game when we play each other." Bermudian Springs played without its leading rusher, a 1,200-yard rusher in Zack Stroup, who injured his collarbone the previous week. And senior quarterback Michael Moore was a game-time decision due to a concussion. Moore played, but completed just 4-of-12 passes for 83 yards. Wyomissing eschewed the baloney, the fillers, the what-have-you all game long. It feasted on a steady diet of traps, sweeps and draws, gouging the Eagles for 327 yards rushing in the first half on just 22 carries. In fact, within its first 10 plays from scrimmage, the Spartans already held a commanding 21-0 lead. It only got wider. Alex Anzalone, a Notre Dame recruit, ripped off touchdown runs of 5 and 91 yards which were sandwiched around a Jonah Bowman 26-yard field goal to build a 37-0 halftime lead. Justin Causa gashed Bermudian for a 53-yard touchdown run and a 37-yard run later in the half. Mason Smith also chalked up a 30-yard run on the Spartans' initial touchdown drive. And the seldom-used Spartan aerial assault landed a 22-yard touchdown pass from Joe Cacchione to Spencer Lloyd. But Wolfrum said it wasn't as easy as it might have looked. "They played a defensive alignment we hadn't seen all season, the 5-3, and it threw us off a little bit," Wolfrum said. "But we had some big third down plays because our backs can scoot a bit." Both Anzalone and Causa rushed for more than 100 yards in just one half of action. Anzalone had 121 and Causa 113. Mason Smith added 82 yards on seven carries and reserve Scott McAvoy had 64 on five totes, including a 19-yard touchdown run for the exclamation point on the rout. Fourte[...]
Fri, 23 Nov 2012 21:37:35 UTC
2012-11-23T21:38:13ZHERSHEY, Pa. - In the game of bowling, three strikes in a row is termed a "turkey" and four consecutive strikes is called a "four-bagger." Brett Smith, a senior for Delone Catholic, didn't land four straight strikes Saturday, but he bowled through Steelton-Highspire both offensively and defensively for a "turkey" and a "four-bagger" of a different sort. Smith picked off... HERSHEY, Pa. - In the game of bowling, three strikes in a row is termed a "turkey" and four consecutive strikes is called a "four-bagger." Brett Smith, a senior for Delone Catholic, didn't land four straight strikes Saturday, but he bowled through Steelton-Highspire both offensively and defensively for a "turkey" and a "four-bagger" of a different sort. Smith picked off a trio of passes on defense and had a hand in all four Delone Catholic (9-3) touchdowns as the Squires scored a quick 21 points in the first half and fended off a Steelton-Highspire (8-4) rally in the second half to claim the District 3 Class A football championship, 28-13, Friday afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium. With the victory, Delone Catholic advances to face the winner of the District 6 Class A championship game, which will be played Saturday evening in Altoona at Mansion Park Stadium featuring Bellwood-Antis and Bishop McCort. The Squires claimed their first District 3 football championship since 2007 and were making their first title game appearance since 2009. "These guys just don't understand it, but these (district championships) are very difficult to attain," said DC head coach Steve Wiles. "It's just so satisfying to see the team celebrate this game. They worked hard and responded." Not to say Friday's title game was a cakewalk for the black-and-gold clad Squires. Steel-High made things interesting in the second half after having fallen down by three scores at halftime. The Rollers used a pair of big passing plays - a 13-yard touchdown pass from James Warren to Anthony Ferguson and a 40-yard connection from Warren to Jaki Haywood - to pull within 21-13 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. And the Rollers, who at one point reigned supreme over the District 3 Class A bracket and won a pair of PIAA football titles, had strung together a trio of first downs and was advancing into Delone territory with 8:01 remaining in regulation. Then, just as quickly as it had sprung to life, the wheels fell off of the Rollers' wagon. A reverse play lost 10 yards and set up a 4th-and-14 situation, when punter A.J. Savol floated a pass which was intercepted by Smith and returned 78 yards for the decisive touchdown. "There was a formation malfunction (on the faked punt)," said Rollers' head coach Tom Hailey. "That's on me. That was a coaching error. Sometimes, those things happen in a game." Up until Smith's critical second half interception, the Squires had only one first down on offense and a mere nine net yards from scrimmage. "All that I was thinking about was, 'No mistakes. Play like you are capable of playing,'" Smith said. "I was in seventh grade when Delone last won a district football championship and I watched that game here in the stands. It feels good to win this game, but we're not done yet." The Squires, nowhere near done with their season goals, lent the impression the outcome was merely an afterthought after racing to 21 unanswered points to open the game. Smith scored on a pair of short touchdown runs and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Staub, but Steel-High's Dywan Blanding made an athletic play to intercept a Smith pass to prevent Delone from jumping up four scores. "I hate to say it was the arena and the atmosphere (of a championship game), but we played like it got to us early," Hailey said. "We went in at halftime and talked about playing Roller football." Maybe Delone junior Matt Guiffreda was in on the Rollers' halftime talk, because he rolled through the silver and blue[...]
Sun, 18 Nov 2012 06:34:06 UTC
2012-11-18T06:34:37ZWILLIAMSTOWN, Pa. - It was all about records Saturday night. Running back Cole Barnhardt set a pair of single-season rushing records. Quarterback Stephen Sedesse set a single-season passing yardage record. Heck, even the 50/50 prize of $2,025 was a record. Williams Valley winning a district football championship, however, won't go down as sounding like a broken record. Tri-Valley League champion... WILLIAMSTOWN, Pa. - It was all about records Saturday night. Running back Cole Barnhardt set a pair of single-season rushing records. Quarterback Stephen Sedesse set a single-season passing yardage record. Heck, even the 50/50 prize of $2,025 was a record. Williams Valley winning a district football championship, however, won't go down as sounding like a broken record. Tri-Valley League champion Williams Valley (12-0) rolled to a 28-0 halftime lead and held Tri-Valley's (10-2) potent 1-2 backfield punch of Blake Bowman and Dalton Miller in check the entire game to secure the school's second District 11 Class A football championship, and first since 1990, in a 48-0 mercy rule victory Saturday night from Gerald Stauffenburg Field at Viking Stadium in Williamstown. In mercy rule games, the clock runs continuously in the second half when one team builds a lead of 35 points or more. The clock only stops for timeouts, injuries or scoring plays, and the running clock doesn't stop if the losing team pulls to within 35 points at any point in the second half. With the victory, the Vikings advance to a PIAA Class A preliminary round game against District 1/12 champion Bristol, a representative of the Bicentennial Athletic League in District 1. The Warriors defeated Philadelphia Public League rep Communications Tech, 27-24, Friday, and will host next week's game Friday night at a site to be determined. When Williams Valley won its only District 11 A crown, the Eastern Conference playoffs were still a major player and the primary way for teams to gain enough points to enter the PIAA tournament. So the Vikings didn't qualify for the PIAA playoffs in 1990. Next Friday's game will mark the program's first-ever PIAA playoff game. "We're having a (heck) of a season," said first-year head coach Tim Savage, a 1992 graduate of WV. "We're coaching for the kids and the kids are playing for us. This means everything to us (as a program). It's our first 12-0 season, first PIAA playoff berth." It was also Tri-Valley's first shutout loss of the season. "They won the game up front," said Tri-Valley head coach Mike Kogut. "They were tenacious on defense." Tri-Valley featured a potent 1-2 backfield rushing duo of Blake Bowman and Dalton Miller, both seniors, who combined to form the seventh 2,000/1,000 backfield rushing duo in Pennsylvania since 2003. But Williams Valley left Bowman and Miller punchless. Bowman rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries and completed one pass for four yards. Miller rushed for 36 yards on 10 carries and completed 2-of-10 passes for 5 yards with two interceptions (both by WV's James Deiter). Tri-Valley finished a combined 4-of-13 passing for 16 yards. The Bulldogs finished with 129 yards of total offense and committed as many turnovers in the game as it had first downs (five). "Our defense has been key," said senior receiver/safety Owen Daniel. "Ever since Week 1, we wanted to shut everybody out." Saturday marked Williams Valley's seventh shutout in 12 games. The Vikings have allowed an average of 7.3 points per game. "We were able to shut them down and limit their big plays the first time we played," Kogut said. The scoreless tie lasted all of 56 seconds. Daniel streaked behind the Bulldog defense for a 75-yard touchdown reception from Stephen Sedesse on the game's second play to build a 7-0 advantage. Daniel also caught two 15-yard scoring passes later in the game and finished with three receptions for 105 yards. This night, it was Cole Barnhardt's turn[...]
Sun, 18 Nov 2012 05:50:46 UTC
2012-11-18T05:52:53ZBERWICK, Pa. - Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis doesn't keep track of his career milestones. He admitted as much prior to the start of the medal presentation ceremony. Dante Pasqualichio, Abington Heights' quarterback, normally doesn't see passing become a primary part of the Comets' offensive game plan. After what turned into a three-hour marathon featuring 79 combined points, 35... BERWICK, Pa. - Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis doesn't keep track of his career milestones. He admitted as much prior to the start of the medal presentation ceremony. Dante Pasqualichio, Abington Heights' quarterback, normally doesn't see passing become a primary part of the Comets' offensive game plan. After what turned into a three-hour marathon featuring 79 combined points, 35 first downs and nearly 700 combined yards of total offense, Repshis and Pasqualichio might want to break out an abacus. The abacus would only be relevant, though, if keeping track mattered to either Repshis or Pasqualichio. Repshis claimed his fifth district championship game victory as a coach and Pasqualichio threw for a season-high 201 yards, completing 15-of-25 passes, as Abington Heights (10-2) emerged victorious over Berwick (10-2), 44-35, Saturday afternoon in the District 2 AAA championship game Saturday afternoon from Crispin Field in Berwick. With the victory, Abington Heights will face a familiar PIAA playoff opponent - Allentown Central Catholic - next weekend in a PIAA preliminary game. It will be the third time in four years the Comets and Vikings have locked horns and will be held at a District 2 location with the date and time yet to be determined. In a game which featured two sound defensive units, it wound up being both offenses who stole the show. But the surprise of that was Abington Heights' offense. Entering Saturday, the Comets hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in its last two games. "Our defense had been coming together and playing very well," said Pat Williams, a tight end/defensive end for the Comets. "We had to step it up the last couple of weeks, but we knew we were going to get the offense going (today)." Sun splashed Crispin Field, but Williams' prediction was right as rain. Whether it was passing or running, the Comets did it and did it well against the Bulldogs' defense. Controlling tempo and pace throughout, the Comets employed empty offensive sets with Pasqualichio lined up in the shotgun or multiple I-formations. Berwick never could quite get a handle for what AH was doing. "It was (by design)," Pasqualichio said. "Berwick hasn't seen us with an empty set all season. We might have caught them on their heels a little bit." "That team," said Berwick head coach George Curry, "has been around for years. He (Repshis) has his kids doing now what we once used to. They're strong, they're smart and they're well-coached. We'll get there. We'll get back there." Curry, who has won more games than anybody in Pennsylvania, made a curious decision at the end of the half after Berwick mounted its longest drive of the day while trailing by 10. After burning his final timeout and having only eight seconds on the clock and sitting four yards from the goal line, Berwick shifted formations from under center to a spread with three receivers instead of trying for three points. Bulldog quarterback C.J. Curry was stopped two yards shy of the end zone, and the Comets still led by 10. Berwick got the ball to begin the second half, and senior speedster Jeff Steeber raced 55 yards on a sweep right for a touchdown to pull within 24-21. But the game could have been tied. Seconds later, Abington Heights' Nathan Hollander promptly returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown and a 31-21 lead. Then, C.J. Curry was sacked by AH's Williams for what looked like a 20-yard loss. Williams continued driving the Berwick quarter[...]
Sat, 17 Nov 2012 07:53:34 UTC
2012-11-17T07:54:43ZDANVILLE, Pa. - During the halftime show, the Athens Area marching band's color guard dressed up in costume as superheros, as the group's performance centered around movies like Batman, Spiderman, and others. Then, on the verge of being upset on its home turf, No. 1-seeded Danville got its best "Super Friends" impersonation from junior fullback Sam Dressler. Dressler scored the... DANVILLE, Pa. - During the halftime show, the Athens Area marching band's color guard dressed up in costume as superheros, as the group's performance centered around movies like Batman, Spiderman, and others. Then, on the verge of being upset on its home turf, No. 1-seeded Danville got its best "Super Friends" impersonation from junior fullback Sam Dressler. Dressler scored the game-tying touchdown on a 15-yard run with 5:26 left in regulation and kicker Shayne Riley converted the eventual game-winning extra point as Danville (10-2) narrowly escaped a very strong upset bid from Athens Area (9-3) of the Northern Tier League, 14-13, Friday night at Ironmen Stadium in Danville in a District 4 Class AA semifinal game. With the victory, Danville will host Mount Carmel Area (8-4), a 48-20 winner over Montoursville Friday night in the other District 4 Class AA semifinal game. Mount Carmel is averaging 32.5 points per game in its playoff run to its second consecutive District 4 championship game, while Danville will make its second title game appearance in three years. A district title game berth, though, was very much in doubt for the Ironmen, and that was so because the visiting Wildcats dictated the flow and pace of much of Friday night's game. "They (the team) gave us everything they had," said Wildcat head coach Jack Young. "They (Danville) are a good football team. Both teams played with a lot of heart and guts. I hope the crowd got its monies' worth tonight." Athens made life miserable for Danville all night long. Normally reliable quarterback Weston Baylor didn't complete a pass and threw an interception. Danville committed three first-half turnovers and had an interception by Cale Rice negated by a pass interference penalty in the third quarter. Danville, which spun itself a web of self-imposed errors in the first half, even got controlled at the line of scrimmage in the second half. Athens pushed Danville off the line on its go-ahead touchdown drive, highlighted by Tyler Birdsall runs off right tackle out of a traditional I-formation set. Birdsall's 14-yard touchdown run, his second of the game, with 6:30 left in the third quarter put Athens ahead, 13-7, but the Wildcats' extra point attempt was blocked. "Each team made some little adjustments and we thought we had something there (with the ground game)," Young said. But on the opposite sideline, there wasn't much that was sure or certain. "I have no answer for it," said Danville head coach James Keiser. "It's hard to describe this team. I don't know what was in their heads. But they're kids (at the end of the day). Maybe it was a rough day at school or something." Right before halftime, Dressler, who led all rushers with a game-high 140 yards on 20 carries, was going up and down the home sideline like a man possessed, imploring his team that they were going to get the ball into the end zone. But after a Cale Rice 39-yard touchdown run staked the hosts to a 7-0 lead, Danville only amassed 34 yards rushing and three first downs until there was 7:46 left in regulation. At that point, the Ironmen had totaled only 103 yards, all rushing. The team huddled around Keiser and the message was simple. "We told the kids that we needed to score," Keiser said. "Stop screwing around and get on some blocks and make some plays." That's what Danville did, beginning from its own 15. Dressler ripped off a 49-yard run on a belly trap down to the Athens' 21. Two plays [...]
Sat, 10 Nov 2012 22:25:49 UTC
2012-11-10T22:26:57ZBERWICK, Pa. - There were points in time Saturday afternoon where it seemed Berwick's offensive front just couldn't stop Dallas from getting pressure in the backfield. "We just couldn't block (Dallas linebacker Jason) Simonovich," said Bulldogs' head coach George Curry. "That kid is an animal." It turns out Berwick got a block of a different sort to steal the momentum... BERWICK, Pa. - There were points in time Saturday afternoon where it seemed Berwick's offensive front just couldn't stop Dallas from getting pressure in the backfield. "We just couldn't block (Dallas linebacker Jason) Simonovich," said Bulldogs' head coach George Curry. "That kid is an animal." It turns out Berwick got a block of a different sort to steal the momentum back to its side. Will Marsteller blocked Dallas' go-ahead 41-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter and Berwick (10-1) used a 19-point fourth quarter to advance to next weekend's District 2 AAA championship game with a 28-7 victory over Dallas (7-4) Saturday afternoon from Crispin Field in Berwick. Saturday's victory means Berwick will face Abington Heights, a 13-6 winner over Valley View, at a time to be determined. Rumors were that the game would be at 1 p.m. Saturday, but Curry wouldn't confirm that postgame. In its most recent District 2 championship victory (2008), Berwick defeated Abington Heights, 3-0. And wouldn't you know it, a field goal became the turning point of Saturday afternoon's semifinal game. Dallas began the second half much t the same way it ended the first half - on fire. The Mountaineers had closed to within 9-7, forced a Bulldog three-and-out, and drove from their own 29 to the Berwick 24 thanks to the mobility and playmaking ability of dual-threat quarterback Ryan Zapoticky. Placekicker Ryan Kozloski lined up for a 41-yard field goal attempt with 6:56 left in the third quarter, which would have given Dallas a 10-9 lead. But Marsteller, a senior, saw to it the Mountaineers wouldn't enjoy a lead. Not at all. "We weren't going to lose (this game)," Marsteller said. "We decided that at halftime (that we weren't losing). That block definitely changed the momentum. Everyone was up. Everyone was together." But the change in momentum wasn't instantaneous. Berwick muddled through the remainder of the third quarter scoreless and the hosts faced a 4th-and-24 situation to start the fourth quarter. Enter Jeff Steeber, another senior. He came up with a critical 31-yard reception from C.J. Curry to the Mounts' 5-yard line. Matt Cashman scored on the next play to make it 15-7. "It (the play) was by design to come to me, but there toward the end the play began to break down so I started drifting back toward C.J.," Steeber said. "That was a guardian angel," Curry said. "It was a heck of a catch by Steeber, too. Give that kid credit for that play." Steeber wasn't done making plays, though. He finished with 53 yards rushing on five carries and caught three passes for 40 yards, and he drove a few nails in Dallas' coffin with a 33-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to propel Berwick to a 21-7 advantage. Zach Ladonis capped the 19-point fourth period with a 12-yard interception return of Zapoticky with less than a minute left in the game. Dallas had surpassed the 100-yard mark in team rushing in the third quarter, but after that juncture, the Mounts registered minus-44 yards rushing on its last 10 carries, including sacks. "We had the momentum on defense," Marsteller said. "That's definitely a strong side of the ball for us." After Berwick jumped to a 9-0 lead, Dallas clawed its way back to within 9-7 at halftime thanks to Zapoticky's mobility. On Dallas' touchdown drive, capped by a 4-yard pass from Zapoticky to Kris Roccograndi, No. 5 recorded four first downs via rushing attempt[...]
Sun, 04 Nov 2012 05:30:19 UTC
2012-11-04T05:31:05ZTAMAQUA, Pa. - Feeling the certainty of history being made, the anticipation on the visiting side of Men of Marian Stadium was building over the final minute. There was a large, paper banner being carried by some cheerleaders. Some fans waved white rally towels. And as the final seconds of the game clock ticked away, the roar from the Blue... TAMAQUA, Pa. - Feeling the certainty of history being made, the anticipation on the visiting side of Men of Marian Stadium was building over the final minute. There was a large, paper banner being carried by some cheerleaders. Some fans waved white rally towels. And as the final seconds of the game clock ticked away, the roar from the Blue Raider faithful was something else. And when the final horn sounded after Marian's Damian Richards was tackled to the turf on the game's final play, so many firsts wrapped themselves into one collective moment for the guests clad in blue and white. Tamaqua (10-0 overall, 8-0 Anthracite League) capped the school's first undefeated and untied 10-0 regular season in school history and also claimed the program's first Anthracite League championship thanks to a 12-0 victory over Marian Catholic (8-2, 6-2) Saturday night. But consider it a case of the tables being turned. In the series, played since 1982, Marian had shut out Tamaqua eight times, including five times in a six-year window from 1992-'98. Saturday night also marked the Blue Raiders' first-ever shutout of the Colts. When Tamaqua took the field before the start of the game, the entire team gathered and danced on the "M" at midfield. All that was left for the exclamation mark postgame was one Blue Raider player to stake the school flag to the midfield emblem. "Marian did a really good job," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. "But I think our defense is pretty good, too." Actually, the Blue Raiders' defense might be its best-kept secret. Marian head coach Stan Dakosty noted pregame he'd changed up the offensive philosophy of his Colts to more of a spread attack. And for the opening drive of the game, the hosts did keep the Raiders off-balance, mixing the speed of Dylan Quirk, the power of Richards and junior Anthony Agosti. The Colts rang up 55 yards on the drive and four first downs, which ended on downs at the Tamaqua 27. The rest of the night, the Colts managed 68 yards - with 53 of them coming on a pass-and-catch from Corey Quick to tight end Lukas Damian. Defensive end Derick Vandermartin, who recovered a fumble Saturday night and entered the game with 30 tackles and three sacks, said the defensive unit wasn't happy with how the game began. "We didn't come out as strong as we wanted to," Vandermartin said. "But after halftime, we came out on fire. That was because the seniors got together and said we wanted to leave a mark." Oh, Tamaqua made its mark, to be sure. Marian rushed for only 18 yards on 28 team carries, including sacks. Quick, who was sacked three times in the game, never quite got the same amount of time to survey Tamaqua's defense as he had on the game's opening possession. After completing 4-of-5 passes on the Colts' opening possession, Quick finished the game 2-of-13. Ten of Marian's 44 offensive plays went for negative yardage, including a center snap which sailed high and wound up in a 20-yard loss. Vandermartin recovered that bad snap. "Our defense knew that they had a lot of speed and that they would try to stretch it to the outside," Bonner said. "No doubt our defense has been getting better. They really stepped up in the North Schuylkill game (in Week 6) and they've been making big plays ever since." Quarterback Nate Edmonds, too, noted the Raiders' defense and its playmaking ability. "Our defense is really amazing," said Edmonds, who threw for 156 yards and both Tamaqua touchdowns Satu[...]
Sun, 04 Nov 2012 05:28:48 UTC
2012-11-04T05:30:08ZWYOMISSING, Pa. - Even though Berks Catholic and Wyomissing have only faced each other two times, the Week 10 meeting already has a nickname - "The Backyard Brawl." Meeting No. 2 might go down in history as "The Backyard Scrap." Wyomissing (10-0, 6-0 Berks Football League Section 2) used another stingy defensive effort and limited Berks Catholic's (9-1, 5-1)... WYOMISSING, Pa. - Even though Berks Catholic and Wyomissing have only faced each other two times, the Week 10 meeting already has a nickname - "The Backyard Brawl." Meeting No. 2 might go down in history as "The Backyard Scrap." Wyomissing (10-0, 6-0 Berks Football League Section 2) used another stingy defensive effort and limited Berks Catholic's (9-1, 5-1) run-centric Wing-T offense to 71 yards on 41 total carries to earn a 14-0 victory Saturday afternoon at Wyomissing Area High School's campus in Reading's western suburbs. The Spartans capped a second consecutive unblemished regular season and also claimed the Wolfrum-Keeley Trophy, the prize to the victors of the "Backyard Brawl" named for the head coaches of both schools who are fixtures in the Berks prep football community - Bob Wolfrum (Wyomissing) and Rick Keeley (Berks Catholic). "Well, we won," Wolfrum deadpanned postgame. That would be the short of it. Heck, the game was also pretty short - it was completed in just under two hours time. But the thought of getting a jump start on watching some college football wasn't on the forefront of the mind of the Spartans' veteran coach. "Our defense played well," Wolfrum said. "But they kicked the crap out of our offense." Wyomissing had averaged 42.2 points and more than 305 yards rushing per game entering Saturday's showdown with BC, but Wyomissing never really ran away from its local rival, save for a couple of big plays. The Saints held Wyomissing in check - to 167 yards rushing on 36 carries - and ran decidedly more plays than the hosts. BC ran 57 plays to Wyomissing's 39. "Our defense played with a lot of heart today," Keeley said. "They're a good football team. We wish them luck and they wish us luck." And Wyomissing also had a couple of opportunities slip through its grasp - steady placekicker Jonah Bowman pushed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide left to cap the Spartans' opening possession. That field goal was set up by an Alex Anzalone 53-yard run. The Spartans also committed a pair of second half turnovers, as many as the team had committed through its first nine games, throwing an interception and losing a fumble. "They were running 11 up (front) and daring us to throw," Wolfrum said. "We did throw early in the second half, and it wound up being a turnover. We knew our defense was playing well, so we decided that as long as we held them, we could do just enough (offensively) to get by." After picking up five first downs within the first 13:23 of game clock, Wyomissing had just two first downs for the remainder of the game. Yet it was enough, thanks to Anzalone. He rushed for a game-high 117 yards on 11 carries and scored the game's opening touchdown on a 23-yard run in the second quarter. Two plays prior to the touchdown, teammate Justin Causa broke a 23-yard run to open the drive. "We knew what was coming with the counter (which Anzalone scored on)," Keeley said. "We knew they'd run it and we thought we had a good look at it. But that's a credit to how good of a team they are when we knew what was coming and they made it work anyway." Then, later in the period, Anzalone did something he hadn't done all season - record a pass reception. Lined up in the slot, the Notre Dame recruit ran a wheel route and hauled in a floating spiral from Joe Cacchione for a 56-yard touchdown. Berks Catholic players said one of the Spartan[...]
Sat, 03 Nov 2012 04:11:29 UTC
2012-11-03T04:13:43ZDANVILLE, Pa. - Cale Rice, a Danville senior defensive back, had something he'd been itching to tell any member of the media willing to listen. It wasn't something to be confused for a bold statement or guarantee of a District 4 championship. Rather, it was about a nickname for his school's defensive unit. "We call ourselves the 'Orange Crush' defense... DANVILLE, Pa. - Cale Rice, a Danville senior defensive back, had something he'd been itching to tell any member of the media willing to listen. It wasn't something to be confused for a bold statement or guarantee of a District 4 championship. Rather, it was about a nickname for his school's defensive unit. "We call ourselves the 'Orange Crush' defense - you know - just like the soda," Rice said. "The whole defense, before every game, we each drink a can of Orange Crush as a team bonding thing." Turns out Rice was just a part of a collective Danville defensive effort which opened a can of forcing turnover after turnover against a rising, but youthful, Selinsgrove team. Rice intercepted his team leading seventh pass and recovered three Seal fumbles as Danville (8-2, 6-0 HAC-I) hassled and pressured Selinsgrove (7-3, 5-1) into six turnovers, including two recoveries of muffed kickoffs to open the second half, to secure the Heartland Athletic Conference Division-I championship with a 24-14 victory Friday night at Ironmen Stadium in Danville. The Danville victory, coupled with Central Columbia's 34-12 loss to red-hot Bloomsburg, unofficially gave the Ironmen the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 4 Class AA tournament. Selinsgrove was already the No. 1 seed in the District 4 Class AAA tournament, so the loss Friday did not affect the Seals' playoff seeding. If Rice-a-roni is indeed the San Francisco treat, then Rice was the orange and purple's treat this night. "In our second game, I had four interceptions against Loyalsock," Rice said. "But this is a lot more special. It was the biggest game of our season. This is the best feeling in the world. The best feeling in the world." Selinsgrove, which deferred receiving the kickoff until the second half, never could have figured the move would not see them run their first play of the second half with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter. And yet, that's what became reality for Dave Hess' crew as Danville reached back into its special teams playbook for a pooch kickoff. "That was something a former special teams coach at Danville used to do (the pooch kicks), and we didn't have the wind at our backs (in the third quarter)," explained Danville head coach James Keiser. "Those were very much by design because we wanted to keep the ball away from Juvon Batts." On the initial kickoff, Rice recovered the fumble of a Seal upback at the 40-yard line, and it led to a Danville touchdown - a 5-yard scoring pass from junior Weston Baylor to Zack Kozick. On the ensuing kickoff, the ball landed, rolled a little, but was never covered by a Seals' player. Rice recovered at the 25 and Shayne Riley booted a short field goal to widen Danville's margin to 17. Counting the two kickoffs (uncovered kickoffs by the return team count against a team as a lost fumble), Selinsgrove lost three fumbles in the game. "The second kickoff was just a mistake (on our part)," Hess said. "It was youth, man. It was youth. We made a lot of goofy mistakes tonight, but I don't want to take anything away from Danville. They are a very good and well-coached team." That didn't stop the Seals from keeping it a game for much of the first 24 minutes. The Seals ran 35 plays to Danville's 30 in the first half, and tied the game at 7s in the first quarter on a Batts 14-yard run following a 3-yard punt. Batts, a freshman,[...]
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 02:49:21 UTC
Wilson-West Lawn's relentless defensive unit now has a second member who has chosen to continue his football career at the Division-1 level. Junior Joseph, a 6'3, 236-pound tight end/linebacker for the Bulldogs, issued a verbal declaration to Connecticut Thursday evening. Joseph announced he had committed to the Huskies, a representative of the Big East Conference, via Twitter. Including UConn, Joseph...
Wilson-West Lawn's relentless defensive unit now has a second member who has chosen to continue his football career at the Division-1 level.
Junior Joseph, a 6'3, 236-pound tight end/linebacker for the Bulldogs, issued a verbal declaration to Connecticut Thursday evening. Joseph announced he had committed to the Huskies, a representative of the Big East Conference, via Twitter.
Including UConn, Joseph held scholarship offers from programs like Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Old Dominion, Rutgers, Toledo and Western Michigan. Pitt had also shown interest, but not offered a scholarship.
Joseph becomes the second Bulldog player to issue a declaration to a Division-1 FBS or FCS program this week. Teammate Matt Rothrock issued a declaration to Lafayette of the Patriot League Tuesday.
The Huskies have secured two declarations from Pennsylvania prospects in this 2013 recruiting class - General McLane's Quinn Thompson picked UConn in mid-July. Montour offensive lineman Matt Barone also declared to Connecticut earlier in the year before switching to Temple.
One of many keys to a defensive unit (including reserves) which has allowed an average of 7.2 points per game with three shutouts, Joseph has tallied 46 tackles, three sacks, six hurries and a deflected pass, averaging 5.1 tackles per game. He's also hauled in five passes for 63 yards and one touchdown and rushed 27 times for 149 yards and three touchdowns, posting a season-high 118 yards and two touchdowns against Manheim Township.
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:58:54 UTC
This blog is not normally used for press releases, but two good contacts from within my network throughout the state - Dave Mika of EasternPAFootball.com and Cedar Cliff head football coach Jim Cantafio - are teaming up for a 2013 quarterback camp in Lancaster - the Keystone State Quarterback Showcase. Dave provided me a copy of the press release, which...
This blog is not normally used for press releases, but two good contacts from within my network throughout the state - Dave Mika of EasternPAFootball.com and Cedar Cliff head football coach Jim Cantafio - are teaming up for a 2013 quarterback camp in Lancaster - the Keystone State Quarterback Showcase.
Dave provided me a copy of the press release, which he will be releasing to media outlets in the very near future. Please, do not contact me about camp information. I am only a messenger helping to spread the word. Contact information for both Dave and Coach Cantafio are included at the end of the press release below:
LANCASTER – Susquehanna Valley Sports Inc., along with EasternPAFootball.com and WesternPAFootball.net, are teaming up to host a one-day camp in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Some of the most talented quarterbacks in the state will spend a day developing their skills. The camp will showcase Pennsylvania players from sixth grade to twelfth grade.
“I am really excited to team up with Jim Cantafio,” said David Mika Jr. owner of EasternPAFootball.com and WesternPAFootball.net. “This camp will showcase the top quarterbacks in Pennsylvania.”
About the camps
Campers will receive football skills training from former and current college and NFL players.
Jim Cantafio has over 30 years of head coaching experience. He knows the value of a properly trained, highly skilled quarterback. Through his instruction and guidance, Cantafio has seen many of his high school quarterbacks go on to play football at the next level, including Michigan All-American and 2007 Rose Bowl Quarterback and Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Chad Henne.
Coach Cantafio’s ability to develop winning quarterbacks has made him one of the most successful high school coaches on the East Coast. SVS Sports, the leader in East Coast football camps, is committed to helping develop teams and individual players to the next level of play. Sign up today for the best camp experience on the East Coast.
The Keystone State Quarterback Showcase will be held on Sunday, May 26th at Lanco Field House, Lancaster Pennsylvania. The starting time is at 9am and ending 3pm. It’s open to all level quarterbacks from sixth to twelfth grade. Quarterbacks must be Pennsylvania residents. Are you the best in your class?
East Coast Elite Quarterback – Receiver Showcase will be held on Wednesday, July 31st at Lanco Field House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The starting time is at 9am and ending 3pm. This camp is by invitation only. All quarterbacks and receivers on the East Coast are eligible to attend. All quarterbacks and receivers will be invited by June 2013.
David Mika Jr.
Website: www.easternpafootball.com and www.westernpafootball.net
Sun, 23 Sep 2012 04:22:02 UTC
2012-09-23T04:22:50ZMANDATA, Pa. - Before even coaching a game in Tower City, first-year head coach Tim Savage had already generated talk about his Williams Valley Vikings. He had decided to move 1,100-yard rusher Owen Daniel to wide receiver. "I caught a lot of grief for doing that - you have no idea," Savage admitted. Turns out that Savage's preseason hunch is... MANDATA, Pa. - Before even coaching a game in Tower City, first-year head coach Tim Savage had already generated talk about his Williams Valley Vikings. He had decided to move 1,100-yard rusher Owen Daniel to wide receiver. "I caught a lot of grief for doing that - you have no idea," Savage admitted. Turns out that Savage's preseason hunch is paying dividends for the Vikings. Line Mountain might well be wishing the Viking boss hadn't thought outside the box. Between rushing, receiving and special teams, Daniel amassed more than 280 yards and scored three long touchdowns as Williams Valley (4-0 overall, 3-0 Tri-Valley League) rolled off 22 unanswered points to quell host Line Mountain (3-1, 2-1 TVL), 35-28, Saturday evening from Glenn Ressler Field at Eagles Stadium in Mandata. Truth be told, Daniel always envisioned himself playing wide receiver. In fact, it was his dream position to play. "I was curious about getting to play wide receiver - all of the time when I was younger, that was what I wanted to be," Daniel said. But Saturday night, Daniel found himself being the proverbial dagger being stabbed repeatedly into Line Mountain's Tri-Valley League dominance. Daniel's two touchdown receptions - spanning 22 yards in the second quarter and 79 yards in the third, were part of a stretch in which WV outscored Line Mountain 22-0 between the second to fourth quarters. He finished with 158 yards on six receptions, carried twice for 43 yards, including a 46-yard toss sweep to set up the Vikings' final touchdown, and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown after Line Mountain had jumped to an early 7-0 lead. "It (the momentum) turned when they had that kickoff return for the touchdown," said Eagles' first-year head coach Rodney Knock. "They (Williams Valley) deserve a lot of credit. They played well." It didn't start out well for the guest Vikings, as junior field general Stephen Sedesse was intercepted by the Eagles' Cory Warford, resulting in a 34-yard return for a touchdown. Warford would also provide the Eagles a 14-7 lead with a 31-yard run later in the first period. But Sedesse didn't get down. "My teammates had real confidence in me and my receivers made a lot of plays - I just had to throw the ball to them and they made plays," Sedesse said. "I give all the credit to my line. I didn't face any pressure all game long." Sedesse staying upright all night long was the complete opposite for Eagle starter Cole Rickert. Battling a nagging ankle injury from the previous week against Juniata, Rickert started the game watching from the sideline for a play. He then entered the game on the Eagles' second play from scrimmage, but Rickert's final Homecoming game was cut short. On an option keeper in the second quarter following recovery of a Viking fumbled punt return, Rickert reaggravated the ankle injury and sat out the rest of the game, trading his helmet and pads for a blue jacket. Fellow senior Codi Morris was forced into the game. "We preach here: 'Next guy up, do your job,'" Knock said. Morris did. He completed his first pass attempt to Jeremy Renn for a 60-yard touchdown and a 21-13 Eagle lead. He also found Renn for a 56-yard scoring connection to bring the hosts to within seven in the fourth quarter. In all, Morris threw for 132 yards, completing 4-of-[...]
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 02:11:39 UTC
2012-09-16T04:09:25ZALTOONA, Pa. - If you'd take a look at Erie McDowell's final team rushing statistics from its 2011 season, you wouldn't see James Conner's name in the No. 1, 2, or 3 slot. And not even the fourth. The now 6'2, 230-pound senior and Pitt recruit was fifth, with 267 yards and three touchdowns. "I had a different role last... ALTOONA, Pa. - If you'd take a look at Erie McDowell's final team rushing statistics from its 2011 season, you wouldn't see James Conner's name in the No. 1, 2, or 3 slot. And not even the fourth. The now 6'2, 230-pound senior and Pitt recruit was fifth, with 267 yards and three touchdowns. "I had a different role last year," Conner said. "Greg Garmon (an Iowa recruit) was on the team and I was asked to be more of a blocker. We looked to Greg last year to spark us when we needed a big play - the guys were like, "C'mon, Greg.' Now, my teammates are the ones looking to me to be that guy." But Conner did more than spark McDowell Saturday afternoon. He was on fire. McDowell (2-1) got 248 yards rushing and three long touchdown runs from Conner and rolled to an impressive average of more than 10 yards per carry against defending PIAA "AA" champion Lancaster Catholic for a 49-20 victory at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona, snapping the Crusaders' 18-game winning streak in the process. The Trojans, in fact, invoked the PIAA's mercy rule with a Dylan Ukasik touchdown just three seconds into the fourth quarter - a rarity in games featuring Lancaster Catholic on the short end of such margins. It was the Crusaders' first mercy rule loss since 2003, when Columbia defeated Catholic, 48-0. In PIAA mercy rule games, the game is played with a running clock when a team builds a lead of 35 points or more in the second half. If the losing team scores to bring the margin within 35 points, it does not stop the running clock. McDowell entered the fray the state's overall leader in rushing yardage per game, averaging 426.5 yards per and led by a three-headed monster backfield of quarterback Sean Gallagher, Khyre Drayer and Conner. Catholic, bent on shutting down the Trojans' midline running game, left their flanks vulnerable. "Lancaster Catholic was very cognisent of staying in their gaps and stuffing the run up the middle," said McDowell head coach Mark Soboleski. "But we're the No. 1 rushing team in the state because every week, it's a different guy for us. Today, it was Conner and Tyree (Spearman)." Conner's scoring runs - of 73 yards on the Trojans' second play from scrimmage, 92 yards in the second quarter and 68 yards to put the exclamation mark on McDowell's day - moved him to seven for the season and six in his last two games. Spearman, who entered the game with negative rushing yardage, became McDowell's fourth 100-yard rusher for the 2012 campaign with 134 yards on just five carries and two long touchdown runs spanning 46 and 45 yards. McDowell finished with 465 yards rushing on 42 carries. On his first touchdown run, and several times throughout the game, Conner showed an impressive stiff-arm which kept Crusader defenders at bay and even further limit good looks to tackle him. "I don't know where I learned that move," Conner admitted. "But with my long arms, I can use that to my advantage and then hope my speed is good enough to get me to the next level." "Conner is unbelievable," Soboleski said. "We (as a staff) asked him to be more of an upright runner this season and more downhill, because when he gets going, he's unstoppable." On the opposite sideline, the Crusaders, who rode the coattails of senior running back and career 4,100-yard rusher Rom[...]