Thursday, November 13, 2014

District Five Class A Semifinal Outlook: Shade at Berlin

Shade (7-4) at Berlin (10-1)
Friday 7:00 Snyder's Athletic Complex 

Shade has now advanced to the second round of the district five playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Panthers are now looking to breakthrough to the championship in 2014, a far cry away from where the program was back in 2011 when they went 1-8. 

The Panthers lost to Berlin way back in week one, but since that game Shade has displayed plenty of improvement. Shade is a team that is very balanced, and one that wins without a true offensive star.  As evidence to that, Shade has four rushers with at least 500 yards on the year. It seems each week a new guy steps up, and it was Logan Glessner in week one of the playoffs against Northern Bedford by going for for 101 yards.   This week it could be Mitch Napora, Ted Dunagan, and Baily Blackburn carrying the load.  They even get solid production from Preston Broncoski, the senior quarterback. Shade is a hard-working team that absolutely works well together.  They hung around and narrowly lost to WestPac powers Portage and Meyersdale this season, and they are hoping they have closed the gap on Berlin by now as well. 

Berlin is sitting on ten wins right now, and that's the third consecutive year the Mountaineers have achieved double digit wins.  Doug Paul and his staff have this program as solid as it's ever been, and they are looking for their second championship in three years. 

The Berlin offense is explosive, and it has many weapons. Although, just one player stands out above the rest.  Braden Fochtman is sitting on 1,540 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, and the junior back already has surpassed the 4,000 yard total for his career. He is a big play waiting to happen on any given snap, and seemingly does the impossible sometimes, like last week by rushing for over 200 yards on just 7 carries. Shade also gets significant production from their junior quarterback, Brentson Harding. He has thrown for 16 touchdowns and rushed for 8 more, and has come up with some big plays for this team in his first year as the starter.The Berlin defense does not get the headlines, but they can really play. Dante Paul is a big player on that side of the ball, and really makes that unit work. 

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