Varsity football team opens Friday in Petersburg
Berkeley Springs High School Varsity Football Team, coming off a 5-5 season, is preparing to improve on last year and hopefully gain a spot in the post season playoffs. Head coach Angelo Luvara, entering his seventh season as Berkeley Springs head coach, feels his team can be successful and believes a lot hinges on winning the close games.
"I think we're going to have a pretty good team," Luvara said. "I guess a lot of teams feel this way at the beginning of the season, but I am encouraged with what I've seen. In order for us to better last year's record we must win the close games. Last year we lost to Hedgesville 30-27 and to Grafton on the final play of the game. We just have to find a way to turn those type of losses into wins."
Leading Berkeley Springs will be a talented offensive line and equally talented backfield. Four of five starters return along the offensive line in seniors Jake Stotler, Brad Keys, Denton Powell and Josh Mason. All four started last year and created enough room for tailback Cody Hess and fullback Cody Reed to tear through opposing defenses. The two seniors provide the Indians with one of the best running games in all of West Virginia. They will be joined in the backfield by junior quarterback Matt Colwell.
Also starting on offense are junior offensive lineman Ben McCumbee, wide receivers Justin Thomas and Josh Kelley along with tight end Zech Turner.
Nick Campanelli will return at linebacker. He will be joined by Dillion Lechliter and either Justin Michael, Andrew Omerzo or John Michael Loggins. Mike Miller returns at nose tackle, as does defensive tackle Dennis Clark and defensive end Zach Younker. Miles Milburn is likely to get the starting nod at the other defensive line spot. In the secondary, Berkeley Springs returns Sam Byrne, who Luvara feels is one of the best defensive backs in the entire state, but will have to fill the other three positions with less experienced players. Jimmy Harman will start on the corner opposite Byrne, while Matt Beadenkopf will start and one safety with Foster Michael and Matt Truax battling for the other starting safety spot.
The Indians will try and get the season started on the right foot this Friday, August 24, in Petersburg. The Vikings, also a Class AA team, will feature the I-formation, with more double tight end formations, but it is rumored that they will try and move the ball more through the air this coming year, though Luvara has seen no evidence of it in scrimmage film he has seen. On defense, Petersburg will feature a 4-4-3 alignment.
With an experienced and talented offense, Berkeley Springs will provide headaches for opposing defenses. Scoring points should not be a problem, with the talent the Indians have on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest question will be on the other side of the ball and if Berkeley Springs shows improvement on defense this could be a special year for the Indian football program.
There are two changes on Berkeley Springs' schedule since 2006. Instead of playing Northern Garrett, the Tribe will play South Hagerstown, while Westmar (now part of a consolidation) will be replaced by Moorefield.