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Lower the Boone
One of the better Week One games, on paper at least, takes place in Denver Friday night (7 p.m.) as host Cocalico entertains Berks County up-and-comer Daniel Boone in a non-league match-up.
A year ago in Birdsboro, the Eagles rolled into town and put up seven scores in a 49-14 rout of the Blazers.
But that was 22 seniors ago for the Eagles, who were hit hard by graduation. Boone, on the other hand, overcame a 1-4 start last season and nearly made the District Three playoffs, finishing 4-6 overall and 3-4 in Section One of the Berks Football League.
Junior QB Nick Hughes returns to guide a speedy unit that is looking to take the proverbial next step in 2014.
As for Cocalico, the Eagles have a host of seniors who will look to contribute and carve their own niche after sitting in the shadows of last year’s class. Junior QB Dante Haines takes over for Jhet Janis at quarterback while tailback DJ Fabiani and Matt Weinhold will lead the way for the running game.
While Cocalico could pass more this season with Haines calling the signals, still expect a heavy dose of run game from the Eagles, who do return the majority of their line from last year’s 11-2 campaign.
Cocalico Coach Dave Gingrich and Daniel Boone Head Man Bill Parks replied recently to the following questions from Review sports editor Todd Ruth about the pending match-up:
Todd Ruth: What are your thoughts as you head into Friday’s opener?
Bill Parks: Cocalico is a very good football program. Although they lost some excellent players, they will reload. They are very good fundamentally and a very disciplined team that makes very few mistakes.
Dave Gingrich: We are a little banged up right now, but have shown some improvement. (But) we need to be more consistent in all facets of our team.
TR: Tell me a little about what you guys like to do offensively?
BP: We have simplified our offense this year so that our players won’t have to think as much on the field. We want our players to play fast, play hard, and finish.
TR: What are your concerns about your opponent heading into Friday?
BP: We are concerned with their option system. Our defense needs to be very disciplined and play responsible defense. The running backs are very physical and we must do a good job tackling and taking proper pursuit angles.
DG: They put some nice athletes on the field, and they are very aggressive defensively.
TR: In your mind, what do you guys need to do to be successful Friday night?
BP: We need to take advantage of every opportunity. It will need to be a full-team effort on offense, defense, and special teams if we are going to beat Cocalico this year. Every player must do their job and be accountable for their responsibility.
DG: We need to play our game; focus on us, rather than on them. Defensively, we have to avoid giving up the big play and create some turnovers, and offensively, execute our game plan and avoid the turnovers. We also need to make some plays on special teams.
TR: How important is it to get off on the right foot?
DG: For an inexperienced group like us, this first game is huge. We need to play with emotion and develop our team’s personality.