Nanticoke Area stifles Redeemer
and claim the Class 3A Eastern Conference championship
Daniel Newhart - Citizens Voice
Under most circumstances, Nanticoke Area head coach Ron Bruza would
probably prefer not to be soaked with a water cooler on a brisk night
with the temperature hovering in the mid-50s.
The moments following his teams victory to claim the Class 3A
Eastern Conference championship would be one of the few exceptions.
The Trojans held Holy Redeemer to 61 yards of total offense and put
up over 500 of their own in a 58-12 win over the Royals.
Joe Ammons and Dawson Hughes had three rushing touchdowns apiece,
combining for 353 yards on the ground in the process and Trevor Grohowski
had an interception aiding a Nanticoke Area defense that sacked Holy
Redeemer quarterback J.D. Turosky eight times throughout the game.
The Royals Colin Conway had a 25-yard interception return for
a touchdown and Turosky connected with receiver Jared Piontkowski
on a 15-yard pitch-and-catch late in the fourth quarter.
Its not even about me, its about these kids,
Bruza said. Theyre a great group of young men they
overcame some adversity and some things throughout the middle of the
season and they turned it on (at the end of the season).
Joe Ammons had the lone score of the first quarter on a 2-yard score
that capped off a 4-play drive that lasted a little over three minutes.
After Conways pick-six at the beginning of the second quarter,
which tied the score 6-6, the Trojans got their offense rolling, responding
with four touchdowns all courtesy of Hughes and Ammons who had two
each on the ground.
Coach (Dwayne) Downing and his staff did a good job to confuse
us early with some of their blitzes and stunts and things like that,
Bruza said. Once we settled down and got things together we
played our football game.
Hughes picked up where he left off to start the third quarter, running
it in from 32 yards out on a 4-play drive that lasted two minutes
and was also highlighted by a 19-yard run from quarterback Colby Butczynski
on a fourth-and-10 to keep the drive alive.
Butczynski connected with receiver Darren Boseman on an 86-yard pass
to extend the lead early in the fourth, then Collin Kashatus
four yard scamper capped off the scoring for the Trojans.
Turoskys 15-yard pass to Piontkowski was the final of the night
for either team.
Backfield tandem helps Nanticoke Area start
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
Bruza has an interesting dilemma on his hands when the Nanticoke Area offense
takes the field.
In the grand scheme of things, its tough to consider
it a problem. Its more of a luxury that any football coach would love to
Bruza can hand the ball to bruising senior fullback Dawson Hughes, who
has the ability to pick up the tough yards inside.
Or, Bruza can call on senior
Eric Jeffries, who follows the path Hughes creates to pick up the big yards in
the middle of the field or on the edge.
Either way you look at it, the two
have formed the most dynamic one-two running punch in the Wyoming Valley Conference,
and one that has the Trojans off to a 3-0 start heading into tonights showdown
Through three weeks, Jeffries leads the conference in rushing with
581 yards. Hughes is third on the list with 312.
They both had a tremendous
offseason and they worked really hard, Bruza said. Right now they
are playing the way we expected them to be playing.
Bruza has done a
nice job balancing the carries between the two. The 6-foot, 215-pound Jeffries
leads the team with 59 carries, while the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Hughes is right
behind with 51.
Hughes came on the scene toward the end of his sophomore season
after an ankle injury in the offseason limited his time. Jeffries began his high
school career at Holy Redeemer, but transferred to Nanticoke Area prior to last
While Jeffries was new to the Nanticoke Area program, he grew up playing
mini-football in Nanticoke so he had an understanding of the players around him.
During their mini-football days, Hughes was the fullback while Jeffries was the
Only now the stakes are a bit higher.
We had a connection
before last year, Hughes said. Now, we are just picking up where we
left off since he came from Redeemer.
The learning curve was a bit steep
for Jeffries last season. Coming from Holy Redeemer, he needed to learn the Wing-T.
It was an interesting process to say the least.
The offense took me a
while, Jeffries said. Thankfully Dawson knows the offense inside and
out. This year I had a full offseason with it. Now, I am fully acclimated to it.
two spent their offseason, along with the rest of the team, working out in the
weight room. Jeffries and Hughes took a plyometric exercise class to help improve
But the key for both has been running behind an experienced
The Trojans entered the season with high expectations. Not
just internally, but externally the word was out that this had the potential to
be a big season for Nanticoke Area.
The Trojans are coming off an appearance
in the District 2 playoffs and the extra week of football has this years
team wanting more of the same.
We knew we had a target on our backs from
last year, Hughes said. There were going to be some teams that knew
we were getting better and there are some teams who didnt think we are.
We are just a lot more experienced than we have been.
Jeffries came into
the season wanting Nanticoke Area to have the best backfield in the conference.
Up to this point, it is tough to argue against the production. But its something
they wont take for granted. There is a lot of football left to play and
things can change in an instant.
I think we are doing a good job so far,
Jeffries said. The line has been playing phenomenal. We just have to keep
taking it one game at a time. We cant worry about weeks down the road. We
just have to focus on the team we are playing.
to 1987: Nanticoke Area sends message in opener
Jim Reeser - Citizens
Nanticoke Area football coach Bill Goodman had 18 reasons to be
excited entering Week 1 of the 1987 WVC season.
Goodman welcomed back 18 lettermen,
including eight starters. With quarterback Jim McDermott leading the way, there
was plenty of optimism to turn around the Trojans 3-7-1 record from 1986.
been excited since this group was sophomores, Goodman said. Ive
just been waiting for his bunch to become seniors
and this is the year.
If we dont challenge for honors this season then it could be a long time
before Nanticoke has the opportunity again. Our strong point is our experience,
but we lack depth on the offensive line.
Right out of the gate, the Trojans
were going to be tested. They had a Week 1 matchup with traditional WVC power
The Crusaders were led by three-year starter Matt Walsh, who entered
the season with more than 3,000 yards rushing.
Without a doubt Walsh
is the key, Coughlin coach John Joseph said. We need another great
season from him.
The Trojans were looking to make an early statement
and were looking for some revenge against the Crusaders. In 1986, Coughlin routed
the Trojans 38-7. To help motivate the Trojans, Goodman and the coaching staff
wore T-shirts at practice with 38-7 on the front.
was 17 of 27 for 198 yards and a touchdown in the Trojans 31-14 win.
added two touchdowns on the ground.
My offensive line gave us so much
time, McDermott said. And they were opening holes for Bob Scally (115
yards, two touchdowns) like you wouldnt believe.
Scally had touchdown
runs of 16 and 47 yards.
This was the best game Ive had, Scally
said. When you have someone like Jimmy, who the defense keys on, my job
is a lot easier.
Walsh was limited to 55 yards and a touchdown.
Nanticoke Area: Meet the 2017 Trojan
Bennett, Staff Writer / Published: August 23, 2017
Senior Matt Wrubel (5-10, 175) returns for his third season as the starting quarterback.
Last year he rushed for seven touchdowns and threw for 559 yards and six touchdowns.
Sophomore Devland Heffron is the backup.
Senior Dawson Hughes
(5-8, 200) and senior Eric Jeffries (6-0, 215) are the most experienced backs
returning. They combined for 368 carries, 2,087 yards and 14 touchdowns. Junior
Matt Bobeck, junior John Kryzwicki and sophomore Darren Boseman will also see
time in the backfield.
Boseman, junior Dylan Szychowski
(6-2, 185), sophomore Colby Butczynski (6-2, 170), senior Mark Walters and junior
Trevor Grohowski are the receivers. Boseman had 12 catches for 208 yards and three
touchdowns last year. Szychowski had four catches, while Walters had two.
The center is 6-2, 255-pound junior Andrew Gurzynski.
guards are sophomore Kyle Bobeck (6-1, 228) and senior John Guszak (6-0, 253).
Senior Kris Siewell (6-1, 207)and senior Jack Conover (6-1, 240) are the tackles.
The tight end is 6-foot, 200-pound junior Joe Ammons.
and Matt Bobeck will be the ends. Kyle Bobeck and Guszak are the tackles.
Siewell and Hughes will play inside with Jefferies and Shoemaker
on the outside.
The corners are Walters and Grohowski. The safeties
are Kryzwicki, Szychowski, who had a team-high three interceptions in 2016, and
Sophomore Ricky Klepadlo, who kicked 11 extra points
last year, is the kicker. Kryzwicki is the punter.
Area: 4 storylines for the Trojans
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
For the first time in 17 years, Nanticoke Area qualified for the District
With all but six players returning, head coach Ron Bruza is hoping
the experience of that playoff run will pay dividends this year.
It gave the
program a taste of what postseason football is all about. The extra week of practice
certainly helped, and just being able to play a football game in Week 11 for the
third time since 1999, has the Trojans wanting more.
Finish what you start
In 2016, the Trojans won five games for the second time under Bruza.
Trojans did have a problem. In two of the games Nanticoke Area lost last year,
Trojans were up 14-0 at one point. Another game the Trojans lost by a point.
Bruza is looking for an emphasis on keeping their foot on the gas. He wants the
Trojans to take those 14-0 leads and add on. Had that been the case last year,
a 5-5 regular season would have been 7-3.
The Trojans have
the opportunity to be competitive in every game this season.
Tunkhannock and Crestwood were newcomers to the slate a year ago.
are all teams fans who follow the Trojans know a little something about. That
helped generate interest in the community, and Bruza no longer had to answer questions
about where certain teams are from.
The Trojans get to start the season with
two games at home.
Player to watch
Being a double-wing team, the Trojans
make it no secret they like to run the football.
Having 5-foot-8, 200-pound
senior Dawson Hughes back gives the offense some experience.
for 1,181 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
Coupled with Eric Jeffries,
who rushed for 906 yards and six scores, Hughes could be poised for an even bigger
season after carrying the ball 202 times out of 523 total team rushing attempts.
Monday Morning Quarterback: Trojans hope to build on
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
Internally, the expectations
are tempered. But outside of the Nanticoke Area program, there has been plenty
of talk about the Trojans heading into the new season.
But when Week 10 rolls
around this year, Ron Bruza wouldnt mind experiencing the same feelings
this year as he did last season. However strange it was.
The Trojans knocked
off Hanover Area in the final game of the regular season. By the time the Trojans
reached the locker room, they were under the impression they would be hosting
an Eastern Conference playoff game. It would have been a nice way to send the
seniors out and cap what turned out to be a fine year.
That was when things
took a bit of a strange twist for the better for the Trojans. While
receiving results from other games, and doing some excruciating math, the Trojans
found out they were not heading to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Instead, they
were making their first appearance in the district playoffs in 17 years.
stumbled a bit at the beginning of the season, but got hot at the end, Bruza
said. This year the guys are motivated and want to build off that success.
That is where they want to go.
The Trojans find themselves in pretty
good shape as far as balance on both sides of the ball. With all but six players
back from last seasons team, the Trojans have experienced players up front
and at the skill positions. There have been seasons when Nanticoke Area had one
but not the other.
We have some depth and some guys that have been around
the block, Bruza said. This is probably the most well-rounded team
that I have had here. It seemed we would always have a good backfield and a weak
line, or a strong line and weak backfield. We are going to be able to lean on
our senior leadership.