The Return of George Curry checklist.
• Win the season opener amidst a media circus at Crestwood. Done.
• Make a grand arrival at Crispin Field, home of most of his 415 coaching victories. No problem.
• Continue the momentum in week three. Mission accomplished.
• Beat an opponent he once coached. We'll see starting at 7 p.m. today. Curry returns to his old stomping grounds for three years when he brings his so-far vicious Dawgs to Spartan Stadium to take on Wyoming Valley West.
For the record, it's a checklist that Curry doesn't endorse.
"All that stuff," Curry said. "Sometimes the media wants to (bring up) oh, I coached here and all that. The way I look at it, when I'm walking out on the field I'm not even thinking of that. All you're concerned about is the opening kickoff and getting a quick start in the first quarter. We're so wrapped up in the gameplan, that's all that's on your mind."
Curry coached at Berwick from 1971-2005, compiling six state championships. He stepped down after the Dawgs finished 7-4 and failed to make the District 2 Class 3A playoffs.
It didn't take too long for Valley West, which had a long-running infatuation with Curry, to approach him about taking over as coach. After a tumultuous – and occasionally silly – battle between Curry supporters and those of then-coach Ed Michaels, the Larksville native was hired.
The Spartans were 26-8 in his three years, qualifying for the District 2/4-11 Class 4A playoffs every year. He resigned due to health issues and only returned to Berwick on an interim basis after the late resignation of six-year coach Gary Campbell.
A lovefest spawned from his return to Berwick isn't likely tonight from the Valley West fans. Especially because of what the Dawgs (3-0) can do to the chances of the Spartans (1-2) making the D2/4-11 Class 4A playoffs.
Valley West (1-2) is third in the District 2/4 Class 4A standings with 80 state points. The Spartans trail Delaware Valley (3-0, 320) and Scranton (3-0, 290), the two teams they have lost to the past two Fridays. Every game is crucial from this point since neither DelVal nor Scranton is expected to trip up three times.
Meanwhile, Berwick is second in the D2-3A standings, 10 points behind Coughlin and among five unbeatens in the bracket.
"We don't look ahead, we don't look behind," Curry said. "All it is right now is Valley West and Berwick."
Valley West lost 34-14 to Scranton last Friday, scoring a cosmetic touchdown with six seconds left against the backups. Otherwise, Scranton – and in particular sophomore running back Jake McCarthy – ran over the Spartans. McCarthy rushed for 276 yards on 19 carries, scoring on runs of 80, 63 and 56 yards as part of his five-TD performance. It didn't matter that Scranton's excellent throw-catch duo of Marlinn Waiters and Karlon Quiller had an off night.
Berwick brings similar firepower into Spartan Stadium. Running back Matt Cashman has rushed for 499 yards and six touchdowns, the latter tied for the conference lead. Quarterback C.J. Curry and receiver Jake Pecorelli have connected on five touchdowns, with Pecorelli's 357 receiving yards leading the WVC. Curry, though, said a minor but nagging injury could determine Pecorelli's status.
Berwick at Wyoming Valley West
Hazleton Area at Williamsport
Hanover Area at Wyoming Area
Northwest at GAR
Tunkhannock at Pittston Area
Wallenpaupack at Crestwood
Coughlin at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Lake-Lehman at Holy Redeemer, 1 p.m.
Nanticoke at Meyers, 7 p.m.