The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 26, 2013

Skill players in spotlight for Berwick, Selinsgrove

By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item

— BERWICK — In the pregame hype for Friday night’s showdown between Selinsgrove and Berwick, the focus will be on the skill position players like quarterback C.J. Curry for the Bulldogs and the Seals dual-threat running back, Zach Adams.

However, the victor in the showdown between two of the top programs in Class AAA on the eastern side of the state will be determined by one of the basic tenets in football.

He who controls the line of scrimmage will be he who wins the game.

“If we are in the battle up front, we’ll have a shot to win this game,” Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said. “Their offensive line, though, is their strength.”

In the second year in George Curry’s second tenure as Bulldogs’ head coach, it’s very clear Berwick spent the offseason upgrading its strength on the front line.

“First of all, they are huge up front,” Hess said. “Watching them on film, they get great push on the defensive line. They open huge lanes for their running backs.”

Tailback Dain Kowalski has eight touchdowns rushing along with 253 yards to lead the Bulldogs, but three other Berwick running backs each have at least two touchdowns on the ground.

It will be an interesting matchup for a Seals’ defense that has allowed just 199 yards in four games on the ground.

“We’re going to be smaller than they are up front certainly,” Hess said. “We are going to have to use our quickness and stay low to win the battle up front.”

The offensive line has provided the perfect balance for senior quarterback C.J. Curry and the passing game. C.J. has thrown for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. Receiver Kyle Force has been a ‘force” for the Bulldogs on the outside with 13 catches and averaging 32.2 yards per catch with five touchdowns.

“Force can really go up and get the ball,” Hess said. “He’s a great athlete.”

Berwick enters the game undefeated at 4-0 and got a huge monkey off its back last week beating Wyoming Valley West, 42-24. It was its first victory in four years over the Spartans.

Selinsgrove (3-1) got a bit of its momentum back last week against Shamokin after being upset by rival Shikellamy.

“The kids did a nice job last week of bouncing back,” Hess said. “They got Shik out of their heads and took care of business.”

The big victory over the Indians allowed Selinsgrove to work on some things in the second half to prepare for this week’s big game. Quarterback Isaiah Rapp was 14-of-20 for 202 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Indians.

“We needed the conference win (over Shamokin), but we were able to work on the passing game in the second half,” Hess said. “Isaiah responded and so did the offensive line, which did a great job of pass blocking.”

Adams also had a great game with nine catches for 155 yards, giving him 19 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown this season. Adams also leads the Seals in rushing with 445 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Angelo Martin has also done a great job for the Seals, replacing Juvan Batts at tailback. Martin was a quarterback who moved to receiver and then to tailback when Batts was lost for the season with a heart condition. The sophomore has 285 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

“Angelo has improved every week, especially for somebody who just moved over there,” Hess said. “He’s running the ball really well and he keeps getting better every time he touches the ball.”