Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Know The Drill

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 24, 2010 edition of The Mercury.

BIRDSBORO – Daniel Boone is unbeaten through three games. That’s 3-0. Hip, hip hooray … but no big deal.

Except for one of the last six seasons, the Blazers have opened up with three or more wins, all of which kick-started a run to a couple of Inter-County Section One titles and six straight postseason appearances.

Now that is a big deal.

And an even bigger deal is how the Blazers have gotten to 3-0 this month considering graduation took quarterback Jon Monteiro and running back Brian Evans, or more than 3,000 yards, from its offense and all-state nose guard Mitchell Stead from its defense.

They’re unbeaten going into tonight’s Inter-County Section One opener at Twin Valley because of some new personnel and a few position changes here and there that haven’t only gone well but arguably above expectations.

On offense, Tom Bodolus moved from wideout to quarterback and has thrown for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in two of the Blazers’ three games. Bodolus has completed just under 60 percent of his attempts for 669 yards and 12 scores, which alone is enough to energize an offense. And running back Daryl Scott, with his 429 yards and jaw-dropping 9.9 yards per carry, keeps opponents honest. Together, along with a small but proficient gang in front of them, Bodolus and Scott have helped the Blazers punch up over 40 points a game thus far.

On defense, which happens to get overlooked a good bit with all the game-breakers and record-breakers in recent years, Zach Robinson and Alex Downs have come out of relative obscurity and, with help from tackle-happy Ryan Stone and Jesse Orr and a veteran secondary anchored by Jared Stoffers, have provided some much-needed leadership in dictating what opponents are capable – or incapable – of doing against the Blazers.

And, for added measure, the fleet Justin Brown, a transfer from Plymouth-Whitemarsh, has proven to be a legitimate threat anytime he gets his hands on the football. He’s returned a kickoff 91 yards for one touchdown, returned an interception 93 yards for another score, and taken both of his pass receptions for 48 and 32 yards and, yep, two more touchdowns.

“We’re 3-0, but we need to get better,” said head coach Dave Bodolus, who put the Blazers in reverse the moment he took over the program in 2003. “We have a lot of new faces playing. We need to get that (game) experience, to keep working at getting better.”

That may be a tall step to make considering the Blazers have buried three straight opponents.

“We still have some concentration lapses,” Bodolus explained. “Part of that is our inexperience. Maybe the kids are thinking more than they have to. But we kind of expected that to a certain degree. The big thing is learning from the mistakes.”

Tom Bodolus has certainly learned well. He was a starter at both wideout and corner last season, but threw only seven passes as Monteiro’s backup. Still, he hasn’t been that big of a surprise to his coach, who happens to be his father, too.

“I was a little bit concerned about him before the season because he was going to be a first-time starter at quarterback,” coach Bodolus said. “But I got a little more time with him than most guys, and we used that time to give him a few more responsibilities. Playing both ways last year has helped him, too.”

Bodolus’ work, Scott’s running and yeoman work by an undersized line in front of them has thus enabled Daniel Boone to maintain the productive offense it’s been known for through the years.

“We’re not big up front, so we have to be very open-minded at times,” Bodolus said. “If the other team wants to put a few more people in the box to stop our run we’ll throw it. If they want to sit back and put a few more people in the secondary we’ll run it. It’s very important for us to recognize that, to be more balanced, to make a team defend the whole field.”

The Blazers have done a rather good job squeezing the field with their own defense.

Robinson (6-0, 205) and Downs (6-1, 210), both juniors who line up at nose guard and end, have unquestionably been the go-getters in that endeavor, too. Robinson has been in 29 tackles, Downs on 22. Stone and Orr have been in on a combined 51, and unsung Justin Kline has a team-high four sacks.

“I wasn’t really concerned about our linebackers or our secondary because we have a few people back from last year,” Bodolus said. “But our defensive line has been a pleasant surprise.

“We’re getting a lot out of Robinson at nose and Downs at one of our ends. Those two guys were both linebackers on the junior varsity team last year, so they’ve really come up big in new positions for us. They’re great kids, hard workers.”

Daniel Boone will need to work hard this evening against Twin Valley, which ended a season-opening 0-2 skid last weekend with a 14-0 shutout of Kennett. Quarterback Josh Kurtz (6-4, 210), who threw for more than 2,000 yards a season ago, is back. And despite not having near the experience or talent around him, is still capable of taking over a game.

Thus far, Kurtz is only 15 of 40 for 131 yards, and running back Trey Harges has 202 yards and two of the Green Raiders’ four touchdowns. That hasn’t been near enough to offset a generous defense, one that is allowing over 350 yards and 27 points a game.

“We have to get better because the competition is going to be getting better,” Bodolus said, choosing to look ahead rather than back at yet another strong start. “The road is getting tougher now.”

* * *

In Bodolus’ eight seasons at Daniel Boone, his teams are 20-4 through the first three weeks overall. … Daniel Boone leads the series with Twin Valley, 11-3. … Veteran head coach Mike Korom is in his first year guiding the Green Raiders, who had five sacks in last week’s shutout of Kennett.



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