Are you ready for some foot­ball?

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Rob Se­nior For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia @RSe­nior31 on Twit­ter

By most mea­sures, the Bears’ first sea­son un­der coach TJ Miller was a step for­ward — a 5-6 over­all record, 3-2 mark in the Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Lib­erty Divi­sion with an East­ern Foot­ball Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship and tie for 2nd place in the PAC’s Lib­erty Divi­sion.

But per­haps the most en­cour­ag­ing sign for Miller was the team fall­ing one win shy of a District 1 Class 6A play­off berth — close enough to make it hurt and make a play­off berth an at­tain­able goal in 2018.

“We won’t be com­pla­cent,” Miller con­firmed. “We want to be­come stronger, faster — we want to win in ev­ery phase of our lives. If you’re not play­ing to win the league, then why are we even here?”

Lead­ing the Bears’ prowl to­wards that next step will be se­nior QB Ay­den Mathias, who emerged in 2017. Mathias, a du­althreat at the po­si­tion, says the key to his own de­vel­op­ment and con­tin­ued pro­gres­sion has been coach­ing and con­sis­tency. “I feel like now I step in, I know what’s go­ing on, and I can help bring the younger guys along,” he said.

To that end, Miller has al­ready no­ticed the ad­van­tages of be­ing a coach in his sec­ond year with the pro­gram as op­posed to his ini­tial foray last year. “First year, you’re try­ing to in­still ev­ery­thing,” he ex­plained. “Guys are get­ting used to you and vice versa. This year? We’re able to just get go­ing.”

The Bears’ of­fense will get go­ing this sea­son be­hind the back­field tan­dem of se­nior Dy­lan Robert­son and ju­nior Jamie Moc­cia. “Ver­sa­tile, strong, tough,” Coach Miller said in de­scrib­ing Robert­son. “He’ll run through a wall for you.”

In last year’s triple-op­tion Bears’ of­fense, there were plenty of car­ries to go around, and this year sopho­more Joey Dulin will fig­ure into the mix at tail­back as well.

On the out­side, the Bears hope to re­place grad­u­ated se­niors with se­nior Blaise Caroselli, and ju­nior Aaron Tidd. Se­nior guard Carter Watts an­chors an ex­pe­ri­enced of­fen­sive line.

On the other side of the ball, Caroselli re­turns after an all-league per­for­mance at line­backer and is as good a bet as any for a po­ten­tial PAC De­fen­sive Player of the Year. Watts and Jake Ed­dinger will lead the way up front.

“They’ve got good reaches, they’re strong—and they’re hun­gry for the ball,” sum­ma­rized Miller.

Robert­son will an­chor the de­fen­sive sec­ondary.

Sea­son Out­look

Ev­ery high school team takes a toll each year due to grad­u­a­tions, and the Bears are no dif­fer­ent, los­ing state in­ter­cep­tions leader Jerry Kapp and workhorse RB Mar­cus Thomas, among oth­ers. But Mathias is one of only two re­turn­ing start­ing QBs in the divi­sion, and an im­proved de­fense an­chored by Caroselli could be the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor as Boy­er­town vies for a re­turn to the District play­offs.

SAM STE­WART - DFM FILE

Boy­er­town’s Ay­den Mathias (11) re­turns at QB for the Bears in 2018.

AUSTIN HERT­ZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

From left, Boy­er­town’s Dy­lan Robert­son, Carter Watts, Blaise Caroselli, Ay­den Mathias.

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