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 19, 2012

Even Calvario can’t downplay Perk School’s 4-1 start

This column originally appeared in the Oct. 16, 2012, print edition of The Mercury.

Tom Calvario is a pleasant soul. Though quiet at times, he still has that engaging personality.

But from late-August up through October, at least during the weeks leading into his Perkiomen School team’s Friday or Saturday afternoon football games, he sure does become a little bit of a whiner … or something in between pessimistic and cautiously optimistic.

A graduate of St. Pius X High School, where he learned about the game — perhaps even a coaching tidbit or two from the legendary Jim Mich — Calvario doesn’t necessarily utter a negative word about his Panthers. But week in and week out, he sure does pitch his weekly opponents’ size, strength and speed.

And for anyone willing to listen, Calvario will likely say has no idea how his own team can match up with – let alone beat – those bigger, stronger and faster opponents.

Yet six weeks into the season, Perkiomen School is 4-1.

“I’m still trying to find out and understand all this myself,” Calvario said about the surprising but no-doubt-about-it start.

The only time Calvario’s been spot-on about being competitive was leading into the season-opener down at Tower Hill, Del. The Panthers didn’t play that badly defensively, but four turnovers handcuffed the offense and they lost, 23-0.

They bounced back with a 36-8 romp over George School to gather some momentum — and confidence — but both stalled the following week when Calvario received a last-minute call that resulted in a cancellation and subsequent forfeit win.

“I don’t know if that’s going to help us or hurt us at this point,” Calvario said shortly after Moyer Academy officials opted not to play the game.

The weekend off sure didn’t hurt the Panthers, who have since posted a 20-0 shutout of Red Lion (Del.) and went touchdown-for-touchdown in a 48-32 win over Academy of the New Church.

Calvario, who has his share of players from around the world — some of whom had never even been on a football field prior to this season — isn’t at all pleased with the Panthers’ practice routines. That alone makes him weary of the game ahead.

“To go out and perform the way they do… to me it is simply amazing,” he said. “Is it the extra conditioning work? Is it me just staying calm and telling them how disappointed that I am with their attitude?

“I try to stay calm, cool and collective, because in the big picture of life this is only a game. There are more important things than football practice and winning. But we’re obviously doing something right, but what that is I can’t tell you at this time.”

What Calvario can tell you is how his offensive and defensive lines have improved.

“We still teach basic fundamentals every day,” he explained. “Our offensive line, coming off together in unison and opening up holes for our running backs.”

Veteran Olivier Joseph has been the leader up front, getting noticeable support from Arnaldo Contreras, Bobby Lee, Quinn Kasner and Isaiah Armstrong. Together they may have had their best outing this past Saturday. John Garrett ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Isaiah Smith had enough time to complete three of his five attempts for 88 yards and another score, accounting for most of the season-high 421 yards of offense. It was also a turnover-free afternoon.

Calvario certainly needs that offense to make up for an inconsistent defense. And inconsistent, for the most part, due to inexperience.

“We have first-year players who still do no understand the game,” Calvario noted. “The key to our defense, the key to setting the tone, is O.J. (Joseph), our middle linebacker. He makes sure everyone is in the right place.”

That means keeping an eye on nose guard Andy Chen, tackles Andy Yang and Contreras, and ends Paul Csordas and Ja’ren Hampton. That means helping backing up other first-year players like Kasner, who doubles at center and defensive tackle; Armstrong, who also doubles at defensive tackle, and Alex Arhontoulis, an outstide linebacker.

And it also means keeping Calvario guessing … or continuing to be somewhere in between pessimistic and cautiously optimistic.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home