Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The current weather for 2013 spring football practice can best be described by taking a page out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
For the Berkeley Stags it’s that crucial year three under the guidance of Coach Jeff Cruce. The Stags finished the 2012 with a 5-8 mark and fell in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs 41-14 to Socastee.
“The third year is the big year,” he said. “I know Moncks Corner and Berkeley fans don’t like to lose. We look to put a winning team on the field this fall.”
For Cruce, his Stags are finally coming of age and the dividends from a three-year, high caliber weight training program have surfaced across the board during Berkeley’s 2013 spring sports season.
These Stags also have experience. Cruce will field 41 seniors during workouts over the spring and summer.
“We have virtually everybody back,” he said. “This is the largest returning senior class of any team I’ve coached in twenty-five years.”
With experience on both sides of the ball, the Stags will be able to fine-tune their offensive and defensive schemes.
Joseph Dress looks to get the starting nod under center as the 2013 season approaches. “Our line is back, we have a deep core of quality backs and our defense is returning as well,” Cruce said.
Branden Williams and Josh Simmons head up a strong Stags defense and Sterling Fiddie anchors the offensive line at center.
The Stags open up the season on the road on Aug. 30 at Stratford. Berkeley’s first home game is set for Sept. 6 against Summerville.
The St. John’s Christian Academy Cavaliers, SCISA 8-man football state runners up from 2012, will get another crack at the state title even though the Cavs have to replace seven starters which include their quarterback, top linebacker and their tight end. With eight players on the field that’s almost half the team.
But it is the nature of the beast in small-school football and coach Bill McCall is well used to it by now.
“We lost seven starters last year that will be missed,” he said. “We will use spring practice to evaluate our players and see where we are and try to evaluate them. We have 17 already signed up and we expect those numbers to grow. If we can fill those three voids at quarterback, linebacker and tight end everything else will fall into place.”
The Cavaliers finished the 2012 season with an 11-2 mark and advanced to the SCISA Class A 8-Man Football State Championship Game. SJCA fell in the title game 58-42 to Wardlaw.
Rashae Bey, who rushed for more than 2,700 yards last year returns to try it all again. Joining Bey to lead the returning Cavs are Jalen Ward and Damion Hurta.
“These are three key home run threats,” McCall said. “We have to get the ball in their hands on offense and we will be able to score.”