Eleven consecutive victories still can’t erase the memories of that last loss.
Winning 12 in a row … well, that could do the trick.
Berwick (11-0) will try to get victory No. 12 starting at 1 p.m. today when it hosts Abington Heights (10-1) in the District 2 Class 3A championship game.
Berwick’s last loss came in last year’s D2-3A championship game when its usually strong defense had its worst performance in a 44-35 loss to Abington Heights. It prevented the Dawgs from earning their first D2-3A title since 2008 and making coach George Curry’s return to the sidelines a triumphant one.
“I’m glad. We were kind of hoping for it,” Curry said, “because we were 10-2 last year. We lost to Valley West and we lost to Abington. So I think that’s more of an incentive for us. We want to make up for that one.”
Berwick avenged the 2012 loss to Wyoming Valley West during the regular season. Now the Dawgs get another shot at Abington … just like Abington got another chance at Scranton Prep in the D2-3A semifinals and won 31-26. The Comets’ only loss this year was 21-13 to Prep on Oct. 12.
Abington coach Joe Repshis downplayed the revenge angle. The Comets aren’t concerned if Berwick comes out with some extra incentive. His focus is having his team play better than last week.
“As a team, our goal is to improve every week and each day in practice,” Repshis said. “We want to be better than the day before. Our goal as the season went on was to progress and become better as a football team.”
A big improvement has come from senior J.C. Show, who took over the quarterback position this year after playing wide receiver. Show caught six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown last year against Berwick. Show, who signed Wednesday to play basketball at Bucknell, has thrown for 1,516 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Nate Hollander has excelled as the new go-to guy in the passing game with 49 receptions for nine touchdowns.
“J.C. has been around since a freshman. He’s played in a lot of big games on the football field and the basketball court,” Repshis said. “He is someone who works extremely hard to help his teammates improve. He’s done a great job for us. He’s a great leader and has a lot of composure.”
Abington’s running game relies on two guys — seniors Quinn Karam and Sean Rock. Neither the Comets nor the Dawgs have a 1,000-yard rusher, relying on several backs. Berwick’s main ball carrier is Dain Kowalski, who led the Wyoming Valley Conference with 17 rushing touchdowns.
Berwick also has a strong thrower in quarterback C.J. Curry, who doubles as the coach’s grandson. Curry has thrown for 1,898 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interception. He has thrown just one interception in the last eight games.
Curry had a 51-yard touchdown pass last Saturday as Berwick escaped with a 14-13 victory over Crestwood in the semifinals. Curry, though, was sacked four times and hurried on several occasions. He has been sacked seven times in the last two games.
Abington’s defense had recorded 31 sacks this season, with defensive tackle Chase Wickenheiser leading the way with six. Defensive end Corey Moletsky and linebacker Joe Dietz each have four.
The Comets sacked Curry three times in last year’s game and he finished 6-of-15 for 64 yards and an interception.
“Pressure comes from formations,” Curry the coach said. “You can be in a formation where you have eight-man protection. You can be in a formation where you have six-man protection. What worked best for us (against Crestwood) was seven-man protection. We’d go trips and take A.J. (Vandermark) from a wideout and bring him in to block. We had time to throw from that formation. Any other formation, we got killed. They had kids we couldn’t block.”