Phil’s Blog: Fleetwood
Hey, remember me?
Other commitments have kept me from contributing a blog post consistently, but I will give it a go – as best I can – the rest of the season. To the many who inquired, thank you for caring and reading. It means a great deal to me. To those who were less than gracious, I do this voluntarily. So piss off. (Yes, this is how I endear myself to my readers.)
Mid-Regular Season Takeaways
- The coaching staff has been utilizing a number of players at pretty much every position and it shows. Only a few Spartans are full-time two-way performers – Max Hurleman, Jevin Tranquillo, Darren Brunner, Ian Brunner, Evan Niedrowski, and now Jack Feightner. These guys all get breaks throughout the game – especially the linemen – and those replacements are playing well. This is a very good sign as the season progresses.
- You just cannot undervalue the worth of this seasoned staff. This was never more evident than against a big and talented North Schuylkill squad who seemed off-balanced on both offense and defense. The Wing-T was humming, and an aggressive blitzing package kept North Schuylkill in reactive mode.
- Offensive Execution. The Spartans just keep getting better. The O Line has several newer faces this season – Rocky Ferrandino, Evan Busack, Seamus Filloon, Rushard Williams, Aiden Mack, Jack Feightner, Julian Dimaio – along with returning starter Ian Brunner and are clicking. Quarterback Jordan Auman has shown poise, accuracy, and athleticism. Not bad for a halfback, huh? Darren Brunner brings a great pair of hands, size, and moxie the split end position. The move of battering ram Niedrowski to fullback has paid off very well. This is a tribute to his versatility and the offensive line depth to replace him. This move has put less defensive focus on halfbacks Hurleman and Tranquillo, allowing them to showcase their speed and agility. Collectively, this is one of the bigger and better blocking backfields this program has seen. And it is deep.
- Defensive Execution. The defense has played very well and against some formidable competition. The D Line starting triumvirate of Ian Brunner, Isiah Fernandez, and Steven Olexy have stuffed the run and provided pressure. Jack Feightner and Darren Brunner at outside linebacker plus Niedrowski, Brayden Eberhart, and Tommy Grabowski at inside linebacker are disruptive and playmakers. The secondary was revamped with the loss of Zach Zechman and the domino effect of Auman now only playing on offense. Two athletic sophomores, Amory Thompson and Nevin Carter, have played well at corner and the co-captain duo of Max Hurleman and Jevin Tranquillo are outstanding at safety. There is depth on defense too. Most importantly, this is a sure tackling group.
- Special Teams. This is an area where the Spartans’ depth and athleticism are on display. The return game of Hurleman (punts and kicks) and Tranquillo (kicks) is dangerous. Coverage is exceptional. In addition to others already mentioned, Jack Miller, Christian Almonte, and Xavier Aitelmajouh,have been special teams stalwarts. Aiden Cirulli is a weapon and is one of the county’s best kickers and punters. Snapper Ian Brunner is a veteran and very accurate. Frosh Matthew Kramer has done a nice job as holder.
- Leadership and Unity. This squad just has a good “team” feel to it. They were diligent with their offseason work and seem unselfish. Many players are contributing. There is a classic Spartan Football vibe to this crew.
Thank you, Veterans!
We’ve had two former players honored for their service the past two home games. At the Blue Mountain game, 2014 graduate and Marine Lance Corporal Cody Cox was honored. Cody was an offensive and defensive lineman for the Spartans which included the 2012 state championship team. He is pictured with 2019 Flag Bearer Evan Busack.
For the West York game, 1999 graduate and Corporal Chris Johnson was honored. Chris, too, was an offensive and defensive lineman as well as a linebacker. He is pictured with Busack, his wife Denise, and children Ryder and Ava-Marie.
On behalf of the Spartan Football Family and community, we say, very humbly, thank you Cody and Chris.
Taming the Tigers
A midseason test with the, what?, undefeated and top ranked District 3 AAAA Fleetwood Tigers! Saturday night is Homecoming and the environment should be electric as this is easily the biggest game in the Fleetwood football program’s history. Good for Coach Gaul. He is a likable guy.
Directions To Fleetwood
Nah, too easy.
Okay, maybe not a milestone, but North Schuylkill was the highest state ranked team to be beaten by Wyomissing Area at the A Field. The Spartans have played higher ranked teams at home (#1 Mount Carmel in 2000 comes to mind) and beaten higher ranked teams on the road but this one was special at the cozy confines of the A Field.
Now this qualifies as a milestone. The win over West York was the 500th in program history. This is inclusive of Wyomissing High School and now Wyomissing Area. (Give me some time, fans, and I will get the West Reading High wins total too but the state only recognizes the same school name.) The program dates to the 1944 season. Allow me to share this with you. This is the program cover from the first Wyomissing High School game. October 14,1944.
This program was shared with me by the late Colonel Philip Grimm, US Army. Colonel Grimm and I struck up a friendship in 1999 and he was gracious enough to lend me his scrapbook from that inaugural season of which he was the team captain. As historian for the program, this may be my most prized possession.
Name Wyomissing High School’s nickname in 1944.
Nice job recognizing the Oldsters & Youngsters from the past two posts. To refresh memories, the first week was a pair of #24s, not-so-oldster Nolan McCready and youngster Alex Anzalone. The last post featured oldster Terry George and youngster David Mendoza. Terry was an All Berks tight end in 1984 with the Spartans’ first I-C championship team. David was an All Berks defensive end in 2003 and 2004. He also played tight end which explains, hopefully, the correlation.
All right, fans, whatcha got? I’ll throw in a Zero candy bar if you can come up with the correlation, too.
(Aside from both being All Berks)
Phil’s Blog Readers Poll
Last season we had a very successful campaign to determine the Greatest Spartan Nickname. After weeks of voting, 2006 grad Matt “Cement Head” Hartman was named the winner. I promised a commemorative plaque. When asked about the plaque, in true Spartan team fashion, Matt wanted to have it displayed in the locker room. Here is a photo of Matt’s plaque.
That’ll do it for me this week.
Make it a great day to be a Spartan,
The Voice of Spartan Football