Coach Mike Jurkowski's squad dominated Hanover; Now Comes GAR

The Hornets took their first step along the road to gridiron redemption this past weekend.

Honesdale's varsity squad traveled to Hanover Area on Saturday morning for its lone exhibition game of the 2017 campaign.

Coach Mike Jurkowski's lads are focused on erasing the memories of last year's disaster … an 0-10 season in which the Red & Black were outscored by an average margin of 42-7.

“I'm very pleased with how we played,” he said afterward. “The kids really flew around the field. We hit hard on defense and executed on offense.”

The result was a dominant performance by the Hornets, who powered their way into the endzone four times and held the Hawkeyes scoreless.

“I'm encouraged,” he said. “I think we showed a great deal of improvement on both sides of the ball.”

Honesdale is now deep into preparations for its regular season debut. The Hornets will host Wilkes Barre GAR Friday night.

“They're a really athletic team,” Coach Jurkowski said of the Grenadiers, who went 5-5 last year in the WVC. “Their quarterback is quick and slick, so we're going to have to keep him under control.”

Opening kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.

On the Field

While Coach Jurkowski emphasized that Saturday's showing was a total team effort, he did single out several players for individual praise.

Nicolas Vlacich is a senior who just recently moved to the tight end position on offense. Vlacich appears to be making a seamless transition, handling his pass catching and blocking responsibilities with aplomb

“Nic did a very nice job for us out there,” Coach Jurkowski said. “Even though he's new to the position, he looked very comfortable and made some really good plays.”

Walker Carney is new to the varsity line-up. A sophomore lineman who's listed at 6-4 and 300 lbs., Carney appears to have found a home for himself at left tackle

“The thing that really stood out for me was his hustle,” Coach Jurkowski said. “Walker was way downfield on a number of occasions making blocks to spring our backs for big plays.”

Cameron Baker also earned rave reviews from his mentor. A junior who starts both ways at receiver and linebacker, Baker dazzled defensively.

“Cam was just all over the field,” Coach Jurkowski said. “He understood his responsibilities, especially on defense, and just made all the plays.”

Meanwhile, Honesdale unveiled what promises to be a potent 1-2 punch in the offensive backfield,

Garyn Barnes and Andy Carroll both ran roughshod over the Hanover defense, each finishing up the game with 100 yards rushing.

“I was very impressed with Garyn and Andy,” said Coach Jurkowski. “They hit the hole, ran hard and broke a bunch of tackles. It's the best I've seen from us in a long time.”

Leadership

Four Hornets have been named team captains for the 2017 campaign.

Beau Freiermuth, Ethan Dunn, Alex Atcavage and Vlacich will lead the Red & Black onto the field Friday night against GAR.

“I'm expecting a lot from them this season,” Coach Jurkowski said. “They're all good kids and they'll set a great example for our younger players on and off the football field.”

A perfect example of the Hornets' intent to be a force for good in the community came this past week. A group of 12 players spent an entire day helping out with the latest Habitat for Humanity house, located on Ridge Street in Honesdale.

“I'm proud of them,” said Coach Jurkowski. “They're good kids doing their best to help out in the community.”

Freiermuth is a senior who also served as a captain last fall. Beau will see action on both sides of the ball as a fullback and inside linebacker.

Dunn is a junior and the team's starting quarterback. Ethan will also play a bit in the defensive secondary.

Atcavage is just a sophomore, but is already turning heads with his play at left guard.

Looking Ahead

Following an Opening Night battle with GAR, the Red & Black host Scranton High School in Week Two.

The Hornets then hit the road for a non-conference clash with Tunkhannock (Sept. 8), followed by yet another home game … this one versus arch nemesis Wallenpaupack Area.

“We're just taking things one day at a time, one game at a time,” Coach Jurkowski said. “Our first goal is to be competitive every time we step on the field.

“If we can do that and keep working hard on the fundamentals, I think the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”