The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

October 18, 2013

Berlin, Meyersdale clash in WestPAC

BY MIKE MASTOVICH

MMASTOVICH@TRIBDEM.COM

When Berlin and Meyersdale meet on the football field, the border rivalry traditionally produces a hard-fought game regardless of how the two teams are faring in the standings.

This season, both the undefeated Mountaineers and once-beaten Red Raiders are among the top teams in the WestPAC, which only enhances an already much-anticipated meeting at Meyersdale tonight.

“It’s a rivalry game. Normally you can throw records out the window with this one,” said Berlin coach Doug Paul, whose team is 7-0 and has outscored opponents 286-52. “But this year both teams are having outstanding seasons. It should be an electric atmosphere.”

Meyersdale coach Chris Schrock pointed to both tangible and intangible reasons this will be a big test for his 6-1 squad.

“It’s always a huge rivalry. Our kids are always fired up to play them and their kids are fired up to play us no matter what,” Schrock said. “I’m sure everybody understands the gravity of the situation. It’s  more than bragging rights.

“Potentially,” Schrock added, “the winner of this game could be the No. 1 seed (in District 5-A) depending on how things play out in Bedford County. It’s a share of the conference title. It’s homefield advantage and at least a bye week. It’s a lot more than the backyard brawl.”

Berlin has the area’s leading rusher and only 100-point scorer in sophomore back Braden Fochtman, who has 1,252 yards, 16 touchdowns and 102 points on 112 carries. He averages 11.2 yards per carry and 178.9 a game.

“We’re going to have to stop a pretty high-powered offense,” Schrock said. “They have one of the best running backs, if not the best, in the area. The more I watch him on film, the more I’m impressed. But as the weeks have gone on, they’ve become more and more multidimensional. They have a variety of weapons they’re using.”

Berlin senior quarterback EJ Custer has thrown for 456 yards and six touchdowns. Senior Nick Stockwell has 12 receptions for 333 yards and seven touchdowns. A dozen other runners have positive yards to complement Fochtman as the Mountaineers have 2,044 rushing yards as a team, an average of 292 a game, with 30 rushing touchdowns.

“We’ve tried to make it a point that we had to get some other people involved in the offense,” Paul said. “Braden is averaging 10 or 11 yards a carry. Sometimes you fall into that trap and just give him the ball, give him the ball. If you’re going to have success in the playoffs, you have to have other kids involved in the offense.”

Meyersdale has relied on back Gavin Berkley, who ranks sixth in the area with 684 rushing yards on 95 carries. His totals might be better, but the Raiders have only played six games on the field due to a forfeit win over Ferndale.

Meyersdale has gained 1,472 yards on the ground, an average of 210.3 a game, and scored 23 rushing touchdowns.

The Red Raiders’ defense, led by Berkley’s 60 tackles, has helped Meyersdale post a 215-81 scoring advantage over opponents.

“Three big things jump out at me,” Paul said of Meyersdale. “No. 1 is their physical size. They’re big. They’re like a Division III football team. Their offensive line averages 250 pounds. The second thing that jumps out on me is their defense. They’re a really aggressive, get-at-it defense. Their kids fly to the ball and will hit you. The third thing that jumps out is Gavin Berkley. He runs hard. I don’t know if we’ve seen a back like him all year.”

Schrock is counting on Berkley and company to carry a big load.

“Our offense has to stay on the field,” Schrock said. “We need to be able to go on long drives and possess the ball. Keep the ball out of their hands. That might end up being our best defense, a ball-control offense that can eat the clock.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014