Trojans building some confidence

The opponents won’t be mistaken as state title contenders. Not in the past, not in the present and it’s highly doubtful in the future.
But what Nanticoke accomplished the past two weeks is noteworthy – consecutive shutouts. First, the Trojans made quick work of Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 36-0. They followed with a 10-0 victory over Susquehanna last Friday.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza said. “They’re taking strides forward. They are listening to their assignments, following our gameplan. I’m pretty happy with their performance the last two weeks.”
To put the shutouts in perspective, consider the following:
• You would have to go back to 2009 to find the last time a Wyoming Valley Conference team posted consecutive shutouts. Berwick and Coughlin did it that season. So did Northwest, but the Rangers weren’t in the WVC at the time.
• In 2010 and 2011, only two other District 2 teams achieved the feat. Valley View did it in both seasons. Dunmore did it last year.
Coughlin, Dunmore and Scranton have done the same this season, but those teams traditionally have strong defenses. All three were considered solid playoff contenders, with Dunmore and Scranton as favorites to win District 2 titles.
Not Nanticoke.
The Trojans had played 55 games since their last shutout – a 35-0 victory over Bishop O’Reilly in 2006. After that win, they went on to lose 32 in a row and 33 of 34 games before Bruza took over.
Since Bruza’s arrival, Nanticoke won four games in 2010 and three last season. The Trojans haven’t finished at least .500 since going 6-4 in 2002.
“The first thing is making these kids believe they can win,” Bruza said. “People think it’s funny, but one problem we have is we don’t know how to win. There are teams out there that know how to win. It seems like we get in a close game, we can’t find a way to win.”

Trojans making steady improvement
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice

During his first season at the helm of the Nanticoke Area program, some of coach Ron Bruza's players remembered him from his playing days as a bruising fullback/linebacker who graduated in 2000.
Now that he's three years into his tenure, Bruza's players know him only as a coach.
The way Bruza sees it, that change is a good thing for the Nanticoke Area program.
In two years under Bruza's direction, the Trojans are 7-12. Prior to his arrival, it took the program six years to win that many games.
"The generations have changed," Bruza said. "We go over the history and the pride of the program quite a bit. Some have an understanding of the history we have here. But we have been in a slump so long, some people think it is a joke."
Bruza sees the community becoming more interested and he has shown that he is not afraid to let the younger kids play, which he proved last year when he benched a number of upperclassmen in the final two weeks.
"We fell on some hard times and we gave the upperclassmen a shot all year," Bruza said. "We figured we would let some of the younger kids play and let them show what they can do. There has to be a point where you stop looking at this year and start looking toward next year."
Fullback Mike Colatosti and halfback Pat Hempel are the most experienced players on offense. Hempel rushed for 444 yards a year ago and Colatosti averaged 4.4 yards per carry in a limited role.
The most intriguing part of the offense may be the passing game, where J.T. Levandowski takes over as the starting quarterback.
He played in the final two weeks of the 2011 season, so he does have some varsity experience. One of his appearances was a season-ending win over rival Hanover Area.
Levandowski completed four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in two games.
"That win over Hanover Area gave us a positive outlook coming into this season," Bruza said. "It gave us some confidence knowing the younger kids stepped up and played."