One Tank Tradition: Berwick Bulldogs
Reported by: Vince Pellegrini of MyValleySports.com
The Mahoning Valley is synonymous with rich football tradition. Players such as Bernie Kosar (Boardman), Paul Warfield (Harding) and Brad Smith (Chaney) are only a few of the notable alums of such a great football factory that is the Youngstown area. Some of the best high school football is played on Fridays a stone throw from where you may be reading this right now. If you step outside of the valley, you will find rich tradition in the outlying areas – only one tank of gas away. Here’s a look at some of the great football programs that are just miles away.
One Tank Tradition: Six Part Series
Saturday July 25 – St. Ignatius Wildcats
Sunday July 26 – Aliquippa Quips
Monday July 27 – Steubenville Big Red
Tuesday July 28 – Berwick Bulldogs
Wednesday July 29 – Massillon Washington Tigers
Thursday July 30 – Canton McKinley Bulldogs
DESTINATION: Berwick High School
LOCATION: Berwick, Pennsylvania
DISTANCE: 256 miles
The years of 1994 and 1995 were remarkable seasons for the Sharon Tigers as they advanced to the state title game each campaign. This marked the first time in school history that the Tigers had accomplished this feat. Unfortunately for Sharon fans both trips ended the same way at the hands of one of the most dominant programs in all of Pennsylvania – the Berwick Bulldogs. The Dawgs were led by coaching legend, George Curry. Between 1971-2005, Curry compiled 362 wins behind such players as Bo Orlando (former NFL defensive back), Jake Kelchner (former West Virginia quarterback) and the 1992 USA Today Parade Magazine’s Offensive Prep Player of the Year, Ron Powlus (former Notre Dame quarterback). Before Powlus even stepped foot onto the campus of Notre Dame to begin his college career, ESPN personality, Beano Cook had predicted that Powlus would win the Heisman Trophy twice. That prediction didn’t come true. Powlus threw for over 7,339 yards during his high school career. Most of his passing records at Berwick still stand today. The Columbia County school has seen 56 alumni play for BCS programs. The Bulldogs have won the 3rd most games in all of Pennsylvania (725-299-43). Last year, the Dawgs advanced to the PIAA Class AAA State Quarterfinals at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium against Selinsgrove. The day after Thanksgiving was unkind to Berwick as the Seals won, 14-6. Quarterback AJ Mihaly and running back Louis Hampton return to Crispin Field for their senior seasons. Mihaly threw for over 1,400 yards in 2008. Hampton ran for 830 yards and 5 scores. The defense was one of the stingiest groups in the keystone state a year ago. Berwick lost their leading tackler and sack artist, Ryan Cordingly, to graduation. However, free safety Mike Dalberto returns after a fine campaign in 2008 when he registered five picks. The borough of Berwick has suffered through much of the same fate that most of the steel industry towns have been faced with. Yet, you can still feel the excitement for Bulldog football from Front Street to Freas Avenue and everywhere in between.
Head Coach: Gary Campbell, Jr.
2008 Record: 11-3
State Championships: 6 (1988, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
District 2 Championships: 9 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008)
First Area Opponent: 1994, Sharon lost to Berwick, 27-7
Last Area Opponent: 1995, Sharon lost to Berwick, 43-6
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