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Season Preview: Berwick

2013 Season Preview


It was a successful return to the sideline for head coach George Curry as the Bulldogs went 10-2, won a Wyoming Valley Conference title and made it to the District 2 AAA final before losing to Abington Heights in 2012. All that was accomplished despite an abbreviated off season for the state’s winningest coach who took over when Gary Campbell stepped down in May. Even though a considerable amount of talent graduated, particularly on offense, the Bulldogs figure to once again be very strong in 2013.


Offensive Outlook:


Players who accounted for 42 of Berwick’s 55 touchdowns last season have departed. Senior quarterback C.J. Curry returns after throwing for 1581 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012, his first season as a starter. Curry’s top three targets have departed, so new receivers will have to step up. One exciting possibility is junior Andrew Force whose first six receptions last season all went for touchdowns. Other top receivers figure to be seniors Will Updegrove,  Kyle Trenholm and Dain Kowalski, a transfer from Central Columbia. If Kowalski lines up at running back, senior Ian Mazonkey will line up at wide out. Despite the talent that graduated, Coach Curry liked what he saw from the receivers in the offseason, and does not expect a dropoff.


Matt Cashman ran for 1299 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012. He will be tough to replace, but the Dawgs have an abundance of talent at running back including Dain Kowalski, two of the fastest players on the team- sophomore Daquan Hellenthal and junior Nick Talanca, along with juniors Nate Maczuga, and Paul Jay Wiegand. There is talent and speed at this postion, and there’s power at fullback with the likes of juniors A.J. Vandermark and Chase Petty and senior Jordan Stout.


The offensive line will be a question mark, but not for lack of talent or size. It will be a very young group with probably only one senior starting. That senior will be returning starting left tackle Kyle Stearly, a 6-1, 305 pound force. Last season’s starting center Dalton Perla, a 255 pound junior, will move to right tackle. Taking over for Perla at the center spot will likely be junior Dan Gingher. The left guard will be junior Mason Vandermark who saw starting action last season. The right guard spot is up for grabs. Among the candidates will be freshman Kyle Pierce, sophomore Zack Beckley along with Mike Stephanick and Mike Canouse. Another option would be to move Gingher to right guard , In that case the center might be Pierce or Ryan McNamara The tackles should be among the WVC’s best. If the other position players develop, the line could go from a questions mark to a strength. Returning starter Ian Mazonkey show be solid at tight end. A.J. Vandermark can play there as well


Defensive outlook:


With seven starters back from a  unit that held opponents to seven points or less in six games last season, defense should be a real strength for the 2013 Bulldogs. Three of the front five return including all state candidate Will Updegrove, a senior defensive end as well as run stopping tackes in Ray Grassley, and Jordan Stout, both seniors.Veteran Ian Mazonkey will start opposite Updegrove at end. As far as noseguard is concerned, the Bulldogs will have lots of options. They can go big with Kyle Stearly or Dalton Perla, or they can go quick with sophomore Shawn McCole, Marty Grasslye, pound for pound the strongest player on the team, and Nicky Franszak.


At linebacker, Tanner Weaver is a returning starter. He will be joined by junior Zach Andress. Devonte Powell is a very physical backup and Trent Force will provide depth.


The secondary should be very strong with three of four starters returning including senior Andrew Wenner who should be outstanding at his corner spot. To open the season senior Max Thomas who started at safety last season, will start at the corner opposite Wenner, and the starting safeties are likely to be seniors Dain Kowalski and  Ricky Densberger. Alex Klinger, a very physical senior, started at corner last season. He may play some there, but may see more time at defensive end. Shoulder issues may limit Andrew Force to just offense, but he would be outstanding at a safety spot.


Special teams:


Junior Olivia Seeley returns as the team’s placekicker. A recent practice performance in which she went 10-10 from 40 yards out, shows she’s ready.


Alex Klinger returns at punter and Nick Talanaca returns as long snapper.


Kyle Trenholm returned a kick for a touchdown last season. He and that quintet of running backs should provide the Dawgs with a solid return game.


Overall outlook:


Season number two of George Curry’s return could be even more successful than last season. With a full offseason under Curry who is in his 44th season as a head coach, the Bulldogs offense will be even more varied than in 2012. Defensively, Berwick could be even stronger than a year ago. The Bulldogs should be the favorite for a WVC title and a contender for the District 2 AAA championship. Toughest tests on the regular season schedule figure to be Selinsgrove, Wyoming Valley West, and opening opponent Crestwood.


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