2014 Team Preview: Berwick Area (2)
A year ago, the offensive line was considered a possible liability in the preseason. This season, if they stay healthy, it should be a real strength.
Four starters return- RT Dalton Perla might be the best of the group at 6-2, 290, a senior. He was hurt and did not play the state semifinal against Archbishop Wood. At right guard Kyle Pierce returns after starting as a freshman. Senior Dan Ginger returns as the staring center. Curry really likes LG Zach Beckley who started some last season. He’s 6-3 and 280, a junior. Curry thinks he could be a Division I prospect. Expected to start at Left tackle is Justin Wenner who started for Perla at RT against A.W.
What Berwick has this year is depth on the line. Mason Vandermark missed all but a few plays with injury last season. He is a very capable senior, and Curry likes three young linemen- Matt Taylor, Logan Eyer, and Ryan Woodard.
The tight end should also be a strength. Seniors Kevin Woodeshick and Trent Force both played a lot last season (Force caught a TD pass vs. A.W.). Devonte Powell could also play there.
Running back should be a real strength despite the departure of leading rusher Dain Kowalski, who is now at East Stroudsburg. Leading the way should be senior Nick Talanca who has great cut back skills and fellow senior Nate Maczuga who had a big game in last year’s win over WVW. Junior Dequan Hellnetahl is very talented and will also see playing time. Curry calls sophomore Lenny Wyda, “electrifying.”
Jordan Stout was outstanding at fullback last season, but there are several candidates to replace him including senior Chase Petty who is 6-2, 250. Devonte Powell has size and 4.7 speed. Two talented sophomores with great size are Stone Force and Kyle Roberts.
Wide receiver might be the team’s biggest strength. Leading the way is perhaps the team’s best player in 6-3 senior Andrew Force. Two other talented seniors are P.J. Wiegand and Trevon Simmons. A sleeper could be Junior basketball star Tyler Evans out for the first time since junior high.
Quarterback is probably the biggest question mark as C.J. Curry is now at East Stroudsburg. Senior Dallas Arner is the front runner. He has a strong arm and good speed. He is more effective as a roll out thrower. Curry thinks his team could also win with sophomore Mike Force.
Whoever emerges as the QB, he will have lots of help. There are 10 players who started at one time or another back from an offense that averaged over 39 points a game last season when the Dawgs were 14-1. Their only loss was to Archbishop Wood in the state semifinals.
While the offense returns plenty of starters, that’s not the case for the defense which must replace 8 front liners.
Defensive end has always been a key position in a Curry defense, and while there are no starters returning there, there is plenty of talent including seniors Kevin Woodeshick , Trent Force, and Devonte Powell. Depth will be provided by Brandon Karafinski and Tom Laubach.
Both probable starting tackles saw starting time last season, Chase Petty and Kyle Pierce. Pierce will be one of Berwick’s few two-way starters. Providing depth at tackle will be Dan Ginger, Zach Beckley, Logan Eyer and Matt Taylor.
A small but quick Sean McCole who saw a lot of action last season, may start at nose. If they need to go big, they can plug in Dalton Perla or Dan Ginger.
Likely starting linebackers are returning starter Zach Andress and Randy Miller who started three games. Both are quick and should be well suited for pass coverage if needed. The Dawgs can also go big at LB with either Kyle Roberts and/or Max Jones.
The secondary will be young and inexperienced except for Andrew Force who may start at safety. The other starter at safety could be sophomore Harrison Kuchka. The corners are likely to be sophomore Anthony Cicini and junior Alex Koch.
Defense will be short on experience, but not on talent and/ or depth.
As far as special teams are concerned, Olivia Seeley returns as a top flight placekicker. She may or may not kick off. The punting position is open.
The return game could be strong with all that running back depth, but probably not as strong as last season’s duo of Dain Kowalski and Kyle Trenholm.
Overall outlook: this should be another strong Berwick team. To reach last year’s heights, a starting QB will need to emerge and an inexperienced defense will have to mature rapidly.
Curry thinks the Dawgs biggest regular season challenges will be Crestwood, Wyoming Valley West, and Selinsgrove.
Wyoming Area, which has moved up to Class AAA, replaces Tunkhannock, the only change on the schedule.
There are 17 District 2 AAA teams- Berwick, Crestwood, Scranton Prep, and West Scranton are leading candidates for the four post-season spots. Abington Heights will be in the mix as well.
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