H.S. FOOT­BALL FAN GUIDE: WEEK 5’S BEST BET, BEST START AND MORE

Damian Gar­cia lat­est in long line of school’s elite run­ning backs

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Groller

Damian Gar­cia knows all about lin­eage of great run­ning backs at Sau­con Val­ley.

Evan Cul­ver, Al­stan Wolfe, Zach Petiet and Ian Csic­sek are among the Pan­thers who have had suc­cess on the ground in the past decade.

Gar­cia learned from Csic­sek to keep push­ing, to keep fight­ing for yards.

Four games into his sopho­more sea­son, Gar­ica is do­ing it well.

He is se­cond in the Colo­nial League in rush­ing with 626 yards on 59 car­ries, an av­er­age of 10.6 yards per carry, and com­ing off a 246-yard ef­fort against Sal­is­bury.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Gar­cia also has five touch­downs for a 3-1 team that has bounced back well from an open­ing loss to South­ern Le­high.

The Pan­thers, who have played in five con­sec­u­tive Dis­trict 11 cham­pi­onship games, travel to North­ern Le­high Fri­day night in one of the best matchups on the Week 5 sched­ule.

Gar­cia has made Brad Trem­bler’s first sea­son as Sau­con’s head coach en­joy­able. His emer­gence is not to­tally a sur­prise since he gained 293 yards on 39 car­ries in a backup role last sea­son and go­ing over 100 yards in a game twice.

“He was a JV run­ning back last year and he did very well on the JV level,” Trem­bler said. “But when he got time late in [var­sity] games, he showed flashes. So we ex­pected a lot of out of him com­ing out of the gate even though he’s so young.”

Trem­bler said Gar­cia was ten­ta­tive early in the sea­son.

“His ath­leti­cism and his speed are his best as­sets,” Trem­bler said. “He’s one of our most fluid ath­letes. The last two weeks he has got­ten a lot of tough car­ries be­tween the two tack­les …”

Gar­cia and the rest of the Pan­thers back­field has been op­er­at­ing be­hind an of­fen­sive line that had some holes to fill.

“In the first three weeks, we didn’t have one guy who was start­ing in a po­si­tion where he had ever started be­fore,” Trem­bler said. “But it’s a good line with some up­per­class­men and not a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence, but they’ve done a phe­nom­e­nal job and coach [Ed] Chrom­czak does a great job get­ting those guys pre­pared.”

Nick Warnke, a se­nior who waited for his chance, has played well as has David Os­man, a two-year starter at cen­ter who is now at left guard. Evan Deily is back af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a se­vere el­bow in­jury. Cody Sweeney, Eli Deily and Bobby Yo­vish are all cre­at­ing holes for a ground game av­er­ag­ing 326 yards per game.

Gar­cia said he’s just try­ing to get bet­ter.

“As a fresh­man, I had a rough start, but got my car­ries and tried to rack up some yards,” he said. “This year, I’m just try­ing to prove my­self. I’m for­tu­nate to have such a good of­fen­sive line and the chem­istry has got­ten bet­ter and we’re just like fam­ily out there.”

So far, so good: Trem­bler, an Em­maus High and Millersvil­le Univer­sity prod­uct who coached for seven sea­sons while work­ing at one of the sports books in Las Ve­gas, has ad­justed to the role of head coach af­ter one year on the staff pre­vi­ously run by Phil Sams.

“We laid an egg in that first game against South­ern Le­high,” Trem­bler said, re­fer­ring to a 45-13 de­feat on open­ing night. “But South­ern Le­high is good, phys­i­cal and they get af­ter it and they get af­ter you. We knew com­ing in that we’d get bet­ter as the sea­son goes on with such a young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced group. That’s what they’re do­ing … get­ting bet­ter ev­ery day. Our last game has been our best game as we’ve gone along.”

Trem­bler said be­ing a head coach comes with its chal­lenges and added that it’s ev­ery­thing he thought it would be and “maybe a lit­tle more.”

“I’m learn­ing some­thing new ev­ery day,” he said. “The kids are putting in the work and play­ing hard. We’re happy with where we’re at.”

KRIS­TEN HAR­RI­SON/THE MORN­ING CALL

Sau­con Val­ley coach Brad Trem­bler is pleased with the im­prove­ment he has seen with his young team.

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