BERWICK – As the Abington Heights players heard their names blasting through the stadium speakers while receiving their championship medals, Berwick coach George Curry shot a glance toward the team that defeated his Dawgs 44-35 Saturday for the District 2 Class 3A championship.
That's a good football team, Curry said. You can tell they've been around for years. He has his kids doing what we used to have our kids doing. Strong, smart, know the system, recognize fronts, pick up blitzes. They did a good job because they've been with that program.
When you have continuity year in and year out, you're going to get to that level.
Curry had that continuity in his 35-year run at Berwick as his teams won an unprecedented six PIAA Class 3A state championships. Whether his second stint at Berwick lasts more than a year is unclear.
Curry was hired as interim head coach in June after Gary Campbell resigned. He said earlier this week if Berwick finds the right candidate to take the position, he'll step aside.
He said as much, but in fewer words, after Saturday's loss ended Berwick's season at 10-2.
We'll see, Curry said.
Curry, though, talked like a coach not ready to go back into retirement after increasing his Pennsylvania all-time victories total to 423. He addressed his team's line, which gave up three sacks in the loss and seven in the semifinal victory over Dallas.
Two of the sacks Saturday came in the fourth quarter when Berwick was in Abington territory and trying to rally.
We're weak, so we have to get stronger, Curry said. We have big kids, but they're not strong. We're going into the weightroom and we're going to work.
We had lines in the past where every kid benched over 350. Some of our lines benched over 400. We have to get that kind of strength. To pass protect, you have to be a strong kid. … In my offense, you have to set up one-on-one and block. That's the hardest block in football, a one-on-one pass block.
Despite the loss, Curry felt he got a lot of mileage out of his team, which was a preseason favorite to advance to the D2-3A title game. But he believes the ride could go farther next year. He has spoken highly of the current sophomore class and two of them – receiver Andrew Force and running back Nate Maczuga – have shown flashes of the speed the coach covets.
We'll get there, I guarantee it, Curry said. We got some good kids coming and we'll be there.