By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG — On paper, it would seem like this would be a good week for Bloomsburg and firstyear head coach Mike Kogut to work out some kinks and get ready for the tougher games down the road.
Winless Warrior Run visits Bloomsburg (1-1) on Friday night in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division III contest.
But Kogut, whose Panthers (0-1 HAC-III) dropped their opener and bounced back with a win last week, is concerned about the health of his team.
“We are battling a great deal of sickness and some injuries, which worry me,” Kogut said. “We need to get a win at home and gain more confidence, and continue to improve in all three areas of the game.”
Warrior Run is 0-2 (0-1 HAC-III) and has not been competitive, but, Kogut said, “Warrior Run will try to establish the run. They have bene successful at times, but inconsistent. We have been very inconsistent on both sides of the ball.”
The Panthers have an outstanding senior pass-catch combination with quarterback Ricky Klingerman and his cousin, slot receiver Colby Klingerman, but Kogut is looking for more balance with senior tailback Evan Ball and junior fullback Sam Miller. Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows knows the Panthers will be a tough out for the Defenders.
“Bloom is a very talented team with excellent skill people and their returning quarterback (R. Klingerman) is very good,” Burrows said. “They are big up front and they protect him real well.”
Burrows doesn’t expect there to be any surprises in store for his team when it travels to Columbia County.
“We look for them to do like everyone else does, and try to run the ball down our throats. But, at the same time, he will get his throws in,” Burrows said.
The Warrior Run coach knows his team is an underdog.
“For us to win the game, or to even stay in the game, to be competitive, we are going to have to be competitive up front, and we absolutely have to stop the run,” Burrows said.
“They are going to get their yards. Their skill kids are going to get their catches, but we have to keep them in front of us and do some good one-on-one tackling.
“Our secondary is going to have to tackle and that combination of trying to stop the run and tackling in the secondary is a pretty deadly combination,” Burrows said. In two games, R. Klingerman has thrown for 373 yards, but only two scores. He is the team’s leading rusher with 127 yards and three touchdowns. C. Klingerman has 14 catches for 119 yards, but no trips to the end zone while junior split end Zach Ashford has caught 17 balls for 126 yards. He has also not scored.
Meanwhile, Kogut, who has brought a new staff and a new style to the successful program at Bloomsburg, said his players are doing a nice job of adapting.
“I continue to be proud of our effort and resiliency,” he said.
As for Friday night, he said, “We need to limit turnovers.”