SOUTH DAYTON - With a new high school football season comes many opportunities, expectations, and most of all, a blank slate.
For Pine Valley, some major changes were seen this offseason when first-year coach Ehrich Zollinger took the helm - which also brought a new offensive scheme to the mix.
On the other side of the ball, Frewsburg saw its change come in the form of a sophomore quarterback in Brady Collver, who had minimal live-game experience at the varsity level.
OBSERVER?Photo by Lisa Monacelli
Pine Valley quarterback?Dan?Weaver scrambles in the pocket during Friday’s Class D high school football game against Frewsburg.
At the end of Friday's Class DD matchup, it was Frewsburg which came out on top, 35-0, as both teams began to write their stories for the 2013 season.
"It's always important to build confidence early on," Frewsburg coach Terry Gray said. "We came out physical which is always positive because we aren't able to have live scrimmages because our lack of numbers."
Frewsburg proved to be in control from the very start as it showed its physicality on the defensive side when it forced the Panthers to go three-and-out.
The stout defensive effort from Frewsburg put the team's offense in excellent field position as Collver took his first snap as starting quarterback from the Pine Valley 45 yard line.
On the first offensive play of the year for the Bears, Collver connected on a pass to Garrett Steele for 8 yards.
"Brady Collver really impressed us," Gray said. "He probably had 12 snaps as a freshman, so he hasn't had much game experience. We didn't ask him to throw the ball a whole lot, but when he did he was spot on."
It took just six plays for the Bears to reach paydirt, with Trevor Spicer capping off the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
"Trevor Spicer was our leading rusher and defensively he was all over the field," Gray said. "He is a tough runner and was making some big hits for us."
The Panthers offensive line continued to struggle against the relentless rush of the Bears' defense as Pine Valley was forced to punt after failing to pick up a first down yet again.
"It definitely wasn't the way we wanted to start off," Zollinger said. "We have some kids that got a late start and didn't have enough practices in that play offensive line and we also had some injuries."
After another punt by the Panthers, Frewsburg set up shop at the 45 yard line for the second time. From there, it took just eight plays for the visitors to strike once again. The second score of the game came from Jordan Ingerson who punched the ball in from 5 yards out to make the score 12-0 after another point after attempt failed.
"We weren't sure if we were going to have to pass to set up the run or run to set up the pass," Gray said. "The plan is to be a very balanced team though."
As Pine Valley's offense continued to sputter in the team's third possession of the game, the Bears' defense continued to prove troublesome as they sacked quarterback Dan Weaver in the end zone for a safety with :03.5 left in the first quarter.
With the two-point score, the Panthers found themselves trailing 14-0.
"We knew that our defense was way ahead of our offense," Gray said. "We told them to set the tone and win the field position battle to give our young offense some chances."
On Frewsburg's ensuing possession, Ingerson used a big run back to set the Bears up at the Panthers' 25 yard line. On the very next play, Kevin Rogers scampered into the end zone to increase Frewsburg's lead, 20-0 following a successful extra-point.
Midway through the second quarter, the Panthers were able to find some momentum as they moved the ball into Frewsburg territory for the first time.
However, the drive was halted when Bryce Peterson picked off Weaver and returned the interception 60 yards for a touchdown.
"We made some adjustments as we went," Zollinger said. "Our pass protection was suspect, so we tried to pack it in more and run the ball."
Peterson's interception return made the score 28-0 in Frewsburg's favor just before halftime.
To add to the Panthers' problems on offense, they were forced to play most of the second half without their quarterback as Weaver went out of the game minutes into the second half.
"It's hard to get things going especially with your quarterback out," Zollinger said. "He had a shoulder injury that happened when he was in on defense. Right now we are just going to wait and see and figure it out from there."
Frewsburg scored once more when Collver connected with Steele for the 50-yard scoring play to make it a 35-0 final.
"We have a new offense and some guys missing right now," Zollinger continued. "We knew there was the possibility of getting off to a slow start, but I've been saying it isn't about how we start it's about how we finish."
Next up for the Panthers is a matchup at home against Cassadaga Valley, where Coach Zollinger will take another shot at getting his first career victory.
As for the Bears, they will hit the road again as they make the trek to Franklinville.