by Parker Stone, Panhandle News Network Sports
Berkeley Springs, WV – In what was a season of ups and downs last year for Berkeley Springs High School Football, Head Coach Terry Rea is looking to improve upon his second season at the helm with an Indians squad who came just one win away from a playoff berth.
“The Petersburg game last year really was the difference” said Rea, alluding to last year’s opener that saw the Indians lose in a shootout 58-56. Rea has been preaching to his team to start as good as they finish, as the Indians started last season 1-3, but rallied and went 5-1 to end the year, including winning four straight games to close the 2021 football season.
“COVID really gave us trouble at the beginning of the year.” said Rea “We were in positions where players didn’t have the experience that early in the season. I am proud of how we rallied at the end of the year, but starting as good as finishing is what we aim to do this year.”
Rae discussed the early quarterback competition this summer, as star senior Gavin Barkley has graduated and moved on to play basketball at Potomac State.
“Connor Duvall is currently leading our QB competition.” Rae said about the 6-foot 190-pound junior.
Sophomore Aiden Cain is set to back up Duvall, but Rae hasn’t ruled out Cain as a potential starter. He said Cain has looked very good at his backup reps and a decision won’t be final until the week of the opener.
Although the experience of Barkley will be missed, Rea still plans to air the ball out this season for a team that averaged 43 points a game last year. The difference will be the dual threat that Duvall adds as a runner.
“We are still going to throw the ball a lot. We were 60-40 passing more last year, and we aim to bring that closer to 50-50 to keep teams on their toes and to realistically use Connor the best we can. Carlestor Allen and Terry Rea III will see carries for us at running back. I’m very excited for Tymir Ross and Gavin Young at receiver this year,” Coach Rea said.
Ross may be positioning himself well to play on Saturdays following his high school career.
He’s already garnered All-State honors at wide receiver and looks to have a great senior season.
“He has been looked at before and I think he has what it takes to make it as a college athlete” according to Rae.
“Gavin Young was our breakout freshman last year at receiver, he played extremely well. He will see defensive snaps this year at corner as well as Ross.”
Rea is very enthusiastic about his trenches this year, as he is returning many starters from last year.
“Hunter Ambrose will be a four-year starter at guard and will be our strong side end for our 4-2-5 defense. Cole Bernard returns at right tackle where he will be a three-year starter, along with Landon Helman at center, Brady Wilt at guard, and sophomore Seth Armentrout slating in at the left tackle position.
Rea made it a point to emphasize the potential impact of the 6’3 215-pound senior Demario Cook. “He will either be seeing time as a tackle for us or as a hybrid tight end in our offense, but he is a stud at defensive end. He’s a great athlete.”
Rea talked about of the return of senior Austin Patton, saying “people forgot he was a two-year starter on the line as an underclassman before getting injured last season.”
Helman and the returning Gabe Clark will make up the linebackers for Rea’s defense. Clark returns after taking his junior year away from football. “We are excited to see Gabe back on the team for his senior season” Rea added.
Duvall and basketball standout Holden Gurson will make up the rover spots on defense, as sophomores Terry Rea III and Adrian Feliciano will fill out the starting safety spots.
Ross, Young, and Allen will be at cornerback for the Indians, as Rea looks to bring a much-improved defense into the 2022 campaign: giving up 37 points a game last season.
“This is year two of the system we have put in place,” said Rea. “We are very confident with COVID not being an issue for players missing games and practice time as well as this system being brought through our JV ranks as well, that we will be vastly improved on the defensive side of the ball.”
Rea and the Indians seek to start strong on
August 26th, as they open with Petersburg once again this year.