By Harold Raker

The Daily Item

While playing in the shadow of all-state player Ryan Keiser last season as the Seals rolled to a PIAA Class AAA championship, Dan Bausinger was learning how to play and how to lead.

This season, as one of the few holdovers from that 16-0 Seals team, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior wide receiver/cornerback has helped lead the Seals to a berth in the District 4 Class AAA championship game Friday night opposite Shikellamy.

Bausinger leads the Seals with 35 catches for 388 yards and 6 touchdowns and, defensively, with six interceptions and 16 pass deflections.

He has helped the Seals overcome an 0-3 start and forge a six-game winning streak which qualified them as the No. 1 seed in the district tournament for the sixth straight year.

Bausinger, son of Bob and Ann Bausinger, said he knew he would be among those counted upon to help lead this year's inexperienced squad.

"I just wanted to step up for all of them because I knew they had some experience coming in, but they didn't know really what it was all about," said Bausinger.

He acknowledged that the 0-3 start had the players feeling low.

"We definitely started getting down," he said. "I needed to show them the right path to take and lead them and encourage them to do their best and it will be alright."

Just like Keiser had done for Bausinger.

"Ryan kind of taught me how to play defense. He was a great influence on me."

Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said that Bausinger made a lot of big plays for last year's state champions. He noted that, because Bausinger is small, a lot of offenses went after him time after time.

"He was a great cornerback for us last year and it seemed everybody, right up to the (state) championship game, was testing him because he's not a real big guy, and he just passed every test last year," Hess said.

"Allentown Central Catholic tried, Archbishop Wood tried, everybody tried," said Hess, adding that Bausinger was also great on run support.

"He was one of those guys who could attack the line of scrimmage and tackle well and that's all that matters."

Bausinger said Keiser, now a preferred walk-on at Penn State, was the biggest reason for that success.

"He taught me every step to take, he taught me to read the quarterback's eyes, that he will give it away right away, so I just played that way and it worked out," Bausinger said.

Bausinger loves playing both ways, but, if he had to make a choice, he would pick the defensive side.

"I like to hit and defense is a great opportunity to make plays," he said.

Hess said, "Dan Bausinger is a dream. He is exactly what Selinsgrove football is all about. He is a great worker, a positive person and a great student, and he's just one of those guys who does everything right.

"To be a great football player, you've got to start with a great person with character and someone who is honest and someone who is hardworking and that's Dan. He is a football player through and through."

Bausinger said the team had become discouraged after its loss to Danville in week two and they knew they needed to turn it around the next week on the road at last year's state finals opponent, Manheim Central.

They trailed by three touchdowns in that game, but came back and had a chance to tie and go overtime, but went for two and lost 21-20.

"We knew we needed to step it up and we didn't do it in the first half, but we came out and did it in the second half and I'm sure all these guys would say that was the turning point of the season. We finally turned it on. Even though we didn't win, we knew that either way, we came out of that game victorious in our minds because we played a hell of a game. We knew we had to keep it rolling," he said.

Bausinger said he worked in the off-season to get better on both sides of the ball. He took the ball machine home and worked on his pass catching and his release in his backyard.

"I worked on my speed and conditioned every day."

Despite the loss of so many players to graduation and starter Seth Lauver to serious injuries from an off-season automobile accident, Bausinger had confidence the Seals would return to the district title game.

"I'm good friends with a lot of Shikellamy guys so it will be a battle, but just playing in that game for three straight years is the best feeling ever."

Trending Video