Stags gearing up for regular season

  • Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dan Brown/Independent - The Stags have played better this summer than last year, according to Coach Jeff Cruce.

A little more than a month remains until 2013 preseason football practice begins and the Berkeley Stags are beginning to come together.
“We’re in full gear and getting them out there, and we’re real excited about where we are,” said BHS Head Coach Jeff Cruce. “We’re a hundred times farther out there than we were last year. We’re real excited about the kids’ attitudes. They’re becoming real leaders and we’re developing good leaders.”
This year the Stags will field a team stocked with more than 30 seniors, many with three years playing experience on the gridiron. It will be these players Cruce counts on to provide leadership between the hash marks.
“It is a privilege to play Berkeley Stags football, not a right,” he said. “We hold our players to a high standard both on and off the field. They are role models to those kids coming up behind them.”
The Stags have participated in various camps, scrimmages and passing leagues since school let out for the summer, but their big push has been in the weight room. “We’re getting in shape,” the coach said.
Coach Barry Avant conducted an offensive line camp in June that included 38 athletes, a mix of varsity, JV and B-team players, Cruce added. Senior center Sterling Fiddie has impressed area coaches to the point he has the opportunity to qualify to play in the Shrine Bowl at season’s end.
“Sterling has been really impressive this summer,” Cruce said. “He’s quick on his feet and has attracted some attention. He has the chance to be a legitimate prospect this year.”
Linebacker and safety Josh Simmons has also blossomed as his senior year approaches. “Josh is a legitimate D-1 candidate,” Cruce said.
The Stags performed well in this summer’s passing league according to Cruce, with D.J. Witherspoon, Matthew Harkness and Dylan Baker having “a real good camp,” and quarterback Joseph Dress improving.
Practice begins in the first week in August with the regular season opening on Aug. 30 at Stratford.

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