Football Player's Senior Project Tackles Devastating Disease
Mark Hiller - www.pahomepage.com

He's number 74 on the Nanticoke High School Football Team. Christian Stevenson tries to give it his all tackling the enemy -- both on and off the field. For his senior project, he decided the enemy he would tackle is breast cancer. He'd try to beat it by selling pink and black t-shirts with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. "Everybody wanted the shirts so we sold a lot. I mean a lot," chuckled the teen. Ann Marie Coughlin is the president of Nanticoke's 12th Man Booster Club. She said, "As part of his senior project he sold over 650 shirts and our shirts say 'Tackle The Cause'," said
The cause became even more personal on October 7th for the rough and tough football player. One of the team's coaches, 50-year-old Henry Turoski, died from another form of the devastating disease. "He fought a heck of a battle and he had cancer for the past three years but unfortunately he lost that battle," said Ms. Coughlin.
As Nanticoke battled Northwest Area Saturday night, the loss of the man affectionately called "Coach Hank" left the Trojans playing with heavy hearts. "Big time, big time. I lost an uncle to cancer, too, so this just on top of everything," said Stevenson. Ms. Coughlin added, "Coach Hank was an awesome guy I mean you can ask anybody here. He's been a mentor, he's been a parent. He always had a kind word to say."
The sight of so much pink throughout the stadium in Nanticoke was a sign that Stevenson's senior project is a big success -- and something that would have made the man known as "Coach Hank" mighty proud. "God bless him, if he was alive he'd be here today with a huge smile," said Ms. Coughlin.
Christian Stevenson's senior project raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

'Coach Hank' - An inspiration to many

Bob Kalinowski, staff writer, was inspired by Coach Hank's fight against cancer. He can be reached at 570-821-2055 or bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com.

Coach Hank and I were going to work on a story about his cancer.
It wasn't supposed to be this one.
Most of you reading probably don't know Henry Turoski, known to us in the Nanticoke area as Coach Hank. But every town across America has their own Coach Hank-type figure.
On Friday, we lost ours.
At age 50, Coach Hank lost his battle with cancer.
It was a courageous fight that inspired thousands and showed the best in small-town America rallying around a dear friend.
Coach Hank was a long-time supporter and coach of Nanticoke football, from the mini-Trojans to the varsity team.
I was one of those mini-Trojans years ago.
A few months ago, I wrote Coach Hank some words of encouragement: "In the practice fields of Wanamie, you were known as 'Coach Hank' to me and countless other youths. An endearing thing about being called coach is that's a proud title you always carry. To this day, you're 'Coach Hank' to me."
Literally hundreds of young people can say the same.
One of them is current Nanticoke Area head coach Ron Bruza, who played many years under Coach Hank only to wind up on the same coaching staff all these years later.
"He was the heart and soul of Trojan football for many years," Bruza said.
A word that comes to mind when thinking about Coach Hank is strength. He was the rock solid guy who pumped iron in the weight room with the young players and inspired them to lift more and more. They even made "Body by Hank" T-shirts to wear.
Before cancer, Coach Hank's strength impressed people in a physical way.
The past three years, it was his strength to survive and his strength to live.
That strength carried him through the dark, painful days as the colon cancer just spread and spread since he was diagnosed in September 2008. Almost every visit to the doctor ended in bad news, but Coach Hank was determined to "crush cancer." Step by step, setback by setback, he vowed to fight to the end. And he did - publicly, inspirationally and bravely.
Through it all, Coach Hank got himself to the football field day in and day out. It didn't matter how sick he was or how much pain he felt. In early September, it just got too tough for the big guy.
"He coached right up until he couldn't coach any more," Bruza explained.
Coach Hank then had one last fight in him - to live long enough for the birth of his first grandchild. I think you can guess how this story goes.
Coach Hank and his wife of 31 years, Mickey, have three children, Kim, Henry Jr., and Kristen. Henry Jr. and his wife, Melissa, were expecting their child to be born Oct. 5.
Doctors didn't know if Coach Hank had that long. But then Savannah Turoski arrived Sept. 21.
"She came two weeks early - for him," Mickey said. "It was a godsend. That's what he was living for - to see that baby."
Around the Turoski home in Nanticoke, nearly every decoration on every wall has the word 'Believe.' That became the rallying word for Coach Hank's family and friends. His football players raised their helmets and shouted 'Believe' each time they left the field. They did it for him. They believed. Everyone believed in Coach Hank to the very end.
"He fought to the very last breath," Mickey said.

Trojans win for coach Hank
By Angelo Sulla - sports@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2060

Heading into its game with Holy Redeemer the theme for Nanticoke Area was win one for coach Hank.
That goal was accomplished, as the Trojans defeated the Royals 52-36 Saturday afternoon at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Hank Turoski, who was well-respected coach and advid Nanticoke Area follower, died Friday.
Nanticoke Area was paced by a rushing attack that had 366 yards. Brian Maslowski lead the way with 208 yards and four touchdowns. Pat Hempel chipped in with 137 yards and one score of his own.
"Running the football is our bread and butter," Nanticoke Area coach Ron Bruza said. "We were certainly able to run the ball effectively."
Holy Redeemer got on the board first as Kurt Jones blocked a Nanticoke Area punt on the first possession of the game. On its first play from scrimmage, Jimmy Strickland hit a wide open David Gawlas with a 29-yard scoring strike.
Forcing Nanticoke Area to punt the ball on it next two possessions, Holy Redeemer put the ball in the end zone as Gawlas went untouched from 18 yards out to increase the Royal lead to 16-0.
The Trojans then struck back as Hempel scored from 42 yards out on a double reverse.
Holy Redeemer needed four plays on its next drive to move 70 yards. Nick Tarselli hauled in a 55-yard pass from Gawlas to keep the Royals' drive alive. On the next play, Strickland hit Gawlas with a 35-yard scoring strike.
Nanticoke Area's Pedro Bracero recovered an errant Holy Redeemer snap to give the ball to the Trojans. Six plays later Jeff Jezewski hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Zak Matulewski.
On the first play of the second half Zak Matulewski intercepted a Strickland pass to give the Trojans possession of the football.
Maslowski then took a handoff and scampered 42 yards untouched for the Trojan touchdown.
The Trojan defense then stiffened as they forced a Holy Redeemer punt. Two plays later the combination of Matuleski to Jezewski struck pay dirt with a 66-yard pass play.
After a poor Royal punt gave Nanticoke Area the ball on the Royal 25-yard line. Nanticoke Area's Brian Maslowski burst off tackle for a touchdown on the Trojan next play from scrimmage.
Jezewski's second interception of the game set up Maslowski's 34-yard touchdown run.
Following the Nanticoke Area kickoff the Royals had the ball on their 42. Strickland hit a wide open Thomas Cosgrove with a 58-yard scoring pass.
After Redeemer pulled to within six points, Nanticoke put together a time consuming eight-play, 72-yard drive that culminated with Maslowski scoring the game's last touchdown from 12 yards out.
Strickland lead the Holy Redeemer attack with 214 yards passing and three touchdowns. Gawlas aided the Royal cause with three touchdowns of his own Cosgrove chipped in with two touchdowns.

Henry M. Turoski
October 7, 2011

Henry M. Turoski “Coach Hank,” 50, of Nanticoke, passed away Friday, October 7, 2011, surrounded by his loving family at the Hospice Community Care, Inpatient Unit of Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre.
Born May 20, 1961, in Wilkes-Barre, he was a son of the late Henry B. and Marie Matelinas Turoski.
Hank was a graduate of Hanover Area High School, where he excelled in basketball, and he was a member of St. Faustina’s Parish, Nanticoke.
He had been employed by Quaker Oats, Mountain Top. Also, he was a football coach for Nanticoke Jr. Trojans and Nanticoke High School, as well as a strength and conditioning coach for many years. His unique love for sports and physical fitness allowed him to inspire many of our area’s youth to grow into the individuals they are today.
Hank had an enormous love for the game of football and was a devoted fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Also, he was an avid power lifter and a volunteer fireman.
One of Hank’s greatest joys was to be here for the birth of his first grandchild, Savannah Lee Turoski.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Michael Shemanski.
Surviving are his loving wife of 31 years, the former Michaelene (Mickey) Shemanski; children, Kimberly Turoski of Nanticoke, Henry Turoski Jr., and his wife, Melissa of Hanover Section of Nanticoke, and Kristen Applegate and her husband, Richard, of Alexandria, Va.; granddaughter Savannah; special little princess Tillie Grodis; mother-in-law Viola Shemanski; brother, Michael Turoski of Hanover Township; sisters, Leona Luongo of Wilkes-Barre and Sharon Wiatrowski and her husband, Edward, of Hanover Township; brothers-in-law, Gerald Shemanski and Michael Shemanski Jr.; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday from the S.J. Grontkowski Funeral Home, 530 W. Main St., Plymouth, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in St. Faustina’s Parish, 520 S. Hanover St., Nanticoke. Interment will immediately follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hanover Township. Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday .
Hank’s family would like to specially thank the staff at the Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Hospice Community Care and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Cancer Center and Medical Center for their care and compassion.
Please visit www.sjgrontkowskifuneralhome.com for directions or to submit online condolences to Hank’s family.

When Ron Bruza walked into one of his classes at King's College several years ago, he thought nothing of wearing a Nanticoke Area football T-shirt.
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

He was supporting his alma mater and was letting people know he was a member of the team. It's a common occurrence at colleges, big and small, all across the country.
At least that's what Bruza thought.
Little did he know, that shirt would turn into a topic of conversation - one he didn't want to be a part of for very long. He would get some chuckles and smirks and people would ask if he was wearing the shirt because he lost a bet.
That was, and in some instances, still is the perception of Nanticoke Area football.
But it's something Bruza is trying his hardest to change.
Last season, Bruza's first as head coach at Nanticoke Area, the Trojans finished 4-6. They opened a few eyes around the WVC and even surprised themselves. After all, this was a program that wasn't used to winning and, at times, struggled with the new found success.
The Trojans had just one winning season from 2000-2009 and the four wins last year equaled the total amount of games they won from 2006-09.
"We knew when we came in we were taking over a 1-9 team," Bruza said. "Even last year when we were doing our preseason workouts we knew we were better than a 1-9 team."
That is what the coaching staff thought. The players? They weren't so sure.
"They were definitely surprised," Bruza said. "When we got the two wins early that helped us get the other two. They were playing with confidence, but they still had those (doubts)."
Bruza had more than just instilling confidence in his team to worry about. He needed the group to play more like a team and not as individuals. That was evident two years ago when the Trojans gave up a long run for a touchdown. As the Nanticoke Area special teams unit gathered in a circle prior to taking the field for the return, pushing and shoving ensued amongst the Trojans themselves. "We're basically more of a team now," quarterback Josh Decker said. "We don't argue with one another after a play goes bad. When things go wrong we don't break apart."
Staying together has to do with the fact the Trojans have 18 seniors on the roster this year and got a taste of what winning feels like.
"I have only had these guys going on two years now, but you can see the maturity in the players from this year to last year," Bruza said. "Not only are they growing as players, but they are growing as young men."
The next step for the Trojans will be to beat a team they aren't expected to beat. Following last week's season-opening win over Montrose, this group has now won five of its last 11 regular season games.
But this group wants more.
"We came into this year with expectations," Decker said. "If teams are thinking of us as easy wins, we're thinking of them as wins, too. We see ourselves as one of the top three teams in the conference this year. We're going to be the sleeper team this season."
In order to reach that goal, the Trojans must beat the likes of Wyoming Area, Hanover Area, GAR and Lake-Lehman. Last year the Trojans accomplished one of their goals by knocking off Meyers.
"That's the next step. We need to beat somebody we shouldn't beat," Bruza said. "Sometimes they think things won't go their way because they haven't gone their way for so long. I always tell them actions speak louder than words. I don't want to hear it, I want them to show me."

Taste of winning has GNA wanting more
Trojans expect to build on successful 2010
Matthew Shutt - Times Leader

After winning its first game in over two seasons in the 2009 campaign, the Nanticoke Trojans responded to coach Ron Bruza taking over last season with two wins right out of the gate, a 4-2 record through six weeks and even finding the potential to contend for a playoff position.
The Trojans’ season, however, came undone with a four-game losing streak to end the year.
With a taste of what it takes not just to compete and stay in the game but to string together wins, the Trojans are hungry and looking for more this year.
“They’ve been working hard all summer,” said Bruza. “We had a great offseason in the weight room, we had a great offseason studying tape and getting the kids here on the field to practice and everybody stayed in touch throughout the summer.
“We’re a lot better this year than we were at this time last year because of the foundation last season installed.”
The Trojans will turn to Brian Maslowski early and often throughout the season to carry the load offensively in what will be primarily a run-heavy and experienced offense.
“We’re hoping, offensively, to pick up where we left off last year,” said Bruza. “We’re a running team, that’s just how we are. We’ve got some great size up front and we’ve got some guys who can really run the ball.”
Maslowski – a 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior – will be the focal point of the backfield in Nanticoke’s Wing-T offense, a style of offense based upon misdirection and timing. Bruza feels confident in Maslowski, who broke through as a legitimate threat in the conference last season with over 1,200 yards rushing, a 5.9 yards-per-carry average and 14 scores in 10 games. Maslowski will be joined in the backfield by fellow senior Tom Vitale.
Josh Decker will be taking the snaps under center and when not handing off to Maslowski will look to Zak Matulewski and Jeff Jezewski as his primary targets. Derrick Wolfe, Klay Kaspryk and junior Nate Siese – the only member of the skill positions not a senior – will all see time at split end.
The line will be anchored by bookend tackles Christian Stephenson (6-2, 290) and Steve Valenti (6-2, 270), both of whom are seniors and should open up some big holes for Maslowski to exploit. Joe Voyton, Rich Badowski and Kevin Zaykosky will round out an offensive line comprised entirely of seniors. Sophmore Kyle Gavrish will see some time at tight end.
The defensive side of the ball was undoubtedly Nanticoke’s weak link last year, as the Trojans gave up an average of 40 points a game in their six losses. The Trojans will be running a basic four-linemen, three-linebacker set this season and will call on a number of seniors to shore up the front seven.
Bruza will be looking to Kevin Zaykosky to lead the group from his inside linebacker position. The 6-2, 210-pound senior will be flanked by Kaspryk and Badowski with Michael Colatosti seeing time as well.
The front four will be comprised of Stevenson and Cairee Walker at the tackle positions, with Chris Gavrish and Pedro Bracero at the ends.
In the secondary, Jezewski and Matulewski will be the starting safeties and will be joined by Wolfe and Siese as cornerbacks.
After earning four wins last season the Trojans will be looking to continue that improvement this season. The focus, according to Bruza, will be the preparation the players put into it during the week and coming together on Friday nights in a total team effort.
“For us to come together this year, we’re going to have to do it without relying on one single player,” said Bruza. “We’re going to have show up prepared, take care of the teams we should and try to get better week in and week out. If we do that, we could have a good season ahead of us.”

Trojans at a glance
Times Leader

Coach: Ron Bruza (4-6), 2nd year
Division: WVC 2A-A
PIAA Class: 2A
Returning starters: 10 offense/10 defense
Male enrollment: 288
School phone: 735-7781
Stadium location: Kosciuszko Street, Nanticoke

Key players lost: Edwin Agosto, RB-DB; Alex Leiby, OL-DL.
2010 regular-season leaders
PASSING: Josh Decker 22-of-47, 189 yds., 2 TDs, 7 Ints.
RUSHING: Brian Maslowski 206, 1,214 yds., 5.9 yds., 14 TDs
RECEIVING: Zak Matulewski 12-174, 14.5 avg., 4 TDs
SCORING: Brian Maslowski 92 pts.

Fri., Sept. 2 Montrose 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 9 Col-Montour Vo-Tech 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 17 at Susquehanna 1 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 23 Meyers 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 30 at Wyoming Area 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 8 at Holy Redeemer 1 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 14 Northwest 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 21 Lake-Lehman 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 28 at GAR 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 4 at Hanover Area 7 p.m.

2010 Results (4-6)
Montrose (0-10)…W 33-12
Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech (5-6)…W 40-18
Susquehanna (9-2)…L 54-19
Meyers (2-8)…W 44-6
Wyoming Area (8-4)…L 35-6
Holy Redeemer (0-10)…W 44-36
Northwest (5-6)…L 35-0
Lake-Lehman (7-4)…L 43-26
GAR (11-2)…L 43-6
Hanover Area (7-4)…L 34-13