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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blazers were ready for stiffest test yet

This column was originally published in the Oct. 21 edition of The Mercury.

One can only wonder if Dave Bodolus, or any of his Daniel Boone players for that matter, may have circled Week Eight on this season’s football calendar.

Maybe just as a reminder of last year’s carnage – or harrowing 42-0 setback to Governor Mifflin – the Blazers’ lone setback of the regular season and one that led to an eventual three-way tie for the Berks Football League Section One title.

Or maybe just to motivate the gang a bit…

“Not really,” Bodolus said earlier this week. “There’s no need to beat a dead horse.”
In other words, the unbeaten Blazers (4-0, 7-0 overall) aren’t looking back, only ahead to tonight’s section showdown with the visiting Mustangs (4-0, 6-1 overall) in a game that – before it kicks off, at least – is so eerily similar to last year’s affair.

“I think some of the kids remember last year a little bit,” Bodolus said. “But I think they learned from it, too. Things just kind of snowballed on us. It got ugly. But that happens every now and then.”
Neither Bodolus nor the Blazers intend on it happening again. Not tonight.

Except for Week Two’s non-league overtime win down at Spring-Ford, Daniel Boone hasn’t really been challenged this season, averaging over 400 yards a game while permitting just over 160 and outscoring its seven opponents by an average spread of 30 points. They have offensive weapons throughout its lineup, all centered around quarterback Tom Bodolus – who leads the area in scoring (17 touchdowns) and rushing (991 yards) while throwing for another 988 yards and 13 touchdowns. Darrell Scott – who ran for 1,517 yards a year ago – has added 607 thus far, but has become equally as productive as a receiver with area-highs of 36 catches for 570 yards and seven touchdowns.

There are other contributors, of course, all of whom are guided by a workhorse offensive line.
The unsung front men are center Rhett Glazer, guards Sean Covatta and Dom Erjavec, tackles Jesse Jones and Zach Robinson, and rotating tight ends Rich Kelemen and Pat Stone.

That group will need to take a stand, or make a statement, because Governor Mifflin’s defense isn’t exactly all that generous. The Mustangs allow just under 217 yards and 14 points a game.
“To be a good football team you have to have a good defense,” Bodolus said. “And I think that’s a reflection of both these teams. Both of us have done well so far this season.”

The Blazers sure have that good defense. They’re situated among the area leaders and are near the top or on top in the BFL against both the run (89 yards) and pass (77), and in scoring defense (10.9 points). No one is playing better on that side of the line than nose guard Zach Robinson, who has already bettered last year’s sack total of seven with an area-high eight to go along with his 45 tackles.
Robinson has gotten a lot of help from those around and behind him, too. The rotating threesome at end features Covatta, Kelemen and Covatta, with Ryan Bologa (39 tackles) and Jesse Orr (35 tackles) the inside linebackers and Ky Gauger and Jesse Kline are the outside linebackers. The outstanding secondary includes Tracey Wright and Scott (three interceptions, two sacks) at the corners, and Bodolus (team-high 47 tackles) and J.D. Okuniewski (two picks) as the safeties.
That defense has yet to surrender a single point in the first quarter, and no more than a touchdown in the second quarter of a game this season.

The Blazers have taken care of the ball, too. Offensively, Bodolus has thrown just one interception, and there have only been five fumbles lost. The defense, meanwhile, has come up with 17 turnovers, leaving the Blazers a very impressive plus-11 in takeaways.

Defense will be needed to slow the Mustangs. Quarterback David Clemens is quite proficient at running (528 yards) and throwing (573) the football. Feature running back Jake Snyder is just one yard ahead of him carrying the ball.

“They’re definitely a run-oriented team,” coach Bodolus said. “They don’t do anything different than we’ve already seen. (Clemens) can throw, too, if he has to.”

The Mustangs are coming off a strange 42-14 rout of winless Twin Valley. Strange in the sense they fumbled the ball six times (losing two) and got hit with 90 yards of penalties. But another strong defensive showing, anchored by Christian Jeznach and Dan Schlegel, was more than enough to offset those shortcomings.

Tonight, though, there’s little margin for error.

“No question this is our toughest game yet,” Bodolus said. “(Governor Mifflin) is the best team we’ll have faced yet this season.”

And it won’t get any easier over the next two weeks either, with trips to contenders Conrad Weiser (4-0, 7-0) and Exeter (3-1, 6-1).

“Our last three games are going to have that playoff atmosphere,” Bodolus said. “Every week from here on in is going to be very tough.”

* * *

Tonight’s game will have a bearing on the District 3-AAAA power ratings as well. Daniel Boone is No. 1 in that category, just ahead of Cumberland Valley (6-1) and No. 3 Governor Mifflin. Bodolus: “Everyone enjoys (the playoffs), but we can’t think about that yet. We’re just concerned with one game at a time.” … Among common opponents this season, Governor Mifflin has rolled up a 173-41 advantage, slightly better than Daniel Boone’s 159-49 advantage. … Conrad Weiser is at Exeter in tonight’s other big BFL game.

* * *

Upper Perkiomen wideout Ron Gillespie and Pope John Paul’s Jacob Gribb are only the sixth and seventh Mercury area players to go over the 1,000-yard receiving mark. With a minimum of three games remaining, PJP teammate Jared Siejk (713) could become the eighth. … Gillespie (1,357 yards) is now fifth all-time, while Gribb (1,063) is seventh. Both, as well as Siejk, would need strong finishes to join a short list of Mercury area receivers with 100 or more career catches. … Daniel Boone’s Tom Bodolus is currently eighth on The Mercury’s all-time total offense (rushing-passing-receiving) chart with 5,288 yards. The next three ahead of him are all Daniel Boone graduates – Chris Bokosky (5,297), Nate Romig (5,534) and former teammate Jon Monteiro (5,443).



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