Finding Mudville: Can Timberland beat Berkeley again?

  • Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wolves quarterback Matt Gabel scores on a 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the THS-Berkeley game last year to pull Timberland to within a point. The Stags would hold on to win 21-20. Berkeley meets Timberland on Friday on Jim Bradley Field at Bonner Stadium. DAN BROWN/INDEPENDENT

The Timberland Wolves had a bye this past week and took the free weekend to mend some nagging injuries that have plagued the team in the season’s early going.
For Timberland Head Coach Art Craig, the week off couldn’t come soon enough.
“The biggest thing we have to do is we’ve got to get healthy,” he said. “We’re trying to get healthy.
“When you’ve got all the pieces together we’re a pretty good football team.”
Coming into the bye week with a 3-1 record – the only loss coming to AAA power Hanahan with wins against Manning, Cross and C.E. Murray – Timberland is looking at Friday’s tilt against host Berkeley to show how far they have progressed since the 44-0 loss to the Hawks in Week 1.
“The thing that we know playing Berkeley is going to do for us, we’re going to see if we’ve improved any since the Hanahan game,” the coach said. “This game is important for us in that sure, we want to beat Berkeley, but to see where we are with the level of competition we’ll get.”
Craig said the Stags are a lot better than people think.
“Jeff Cruce has done a fine job building this football program and has the makings of a good team,” he said. “With the schedule Berkeley plays we’re going to get a good game on Friday.”
Craig said his team is still a work in progress with a roster full of youngsters realizing their first or second year of varsity playing experience.
“We’re still learning,” he said. “We’re still tweaking.”
As for the team’s approach to its Friday night opponents, the Wolves are focusing on what happens on their sideline as opposed to worrying about who is lined up on the opposite side of the football.
“We’ve got to worry about Timberland and not worry about who we’re playing,” Craig said. “We have to get ready for the region and focus on winning a region championship.”
Craig said Region 7AA is much improved over the 2012 season and will be tough across the board. “With the team we have we can’t go out and say we have to watch out for this team or that team. We have to watch out for everybody and watch out most for Timberland.”
With a young team Craig is looking for his seniors to step up.
“We need somebody besides Bernard Harmon to take ownership of this team,” he said. “We want our seniors to stand up and take ownership of this team. That’s the biggest thing with this team … the lack of leadership because we’re so young.”
In addition to Harmon’s play, Craig praised the hustle of senior wide receiver Matt Gabel.
“Matt Gabel has done as good a job as anybody we have,” he said. “He’s done everything. He’s played quarterback, he’s played receiver, he’s run the ball, and he’s punted. He represents everything Timberland football is about. Those are the kids you want to coach.
“He’s unselfish and works hard, giving it all he’s got day in and day out.”
Last season Berkeley edged Timberland 21-20 in St. Stephen. Friday’s game is in Moncks Corner at Bonner Stadium at Gerald Moody Field.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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