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Perkiomen School looking to gel again this season

PENNSBURG >> Late last week, the Perkiomen School football team spent a night at the movies.

Their film of choice? The Legend of Tarzan remake.

Seems oddly appropriate, given the fact that the Panthers will look to remake their success from the 2015 season where they finished 7-2 with both losses coming by a combined four points.

Perk School senior Josh Cruz, right, wraps up a Hill School ball carrier during a joint practice last week. Cruz will be one of few seniors returning with experience this season.(Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

Perk School senior Josh Cruz, right, wraps up a Hill School ball carrier during a joint practice last week. Cruz will be one of few seniors returning with experience this season.(Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

“Just a team bonding experience,” said seventh-year Perk head coach Tom Calvario. “At this point in the season, we’re trying to get everyone together and trying to get the guys bonding off the field.”

Developing on-field relationships comes next.

Less than a day after the team gathered in the cool movie theater, the Panthers found themselves out on the hot practice field for a joint practice with The Hill School on Aug. 29.

Throughout the practice, the teams worked individually then separated into linemen/skill position groups where they worked head-to-head against one another.

Throughout, first-year Perkiomen quarterback Nick Guadarrama worked with his receivers to get on the same page.

“Our timing, that’s one thing we really need to get down before the season starts,” said Guadarrama, who saw a handful of drops during the 7-on-7 porion of practice. “That comes with repetition. We’ve just got to be out here throwing, working after practice. It’ll come.”

The 6-5 QB out of Newington, Conn., will re-class as a junior this season.

Nick Guadarrama, from Newington, Connecticut, will serve as quarterback for the Perkiomen School this season. (Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

Nick Guadarrama, from Newington, Connecticut, will serve as quarterback for the Perkiomen School this season. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

QB? Cue Z

Last season, shortly after being diagnosed with ALS, Tom ‘Z’ Ziemak joined the Perk staff as a quarterbacks coach.

The results speak for themselves.

Quarterback Brett Ciocari, now at Farleigh-Dickinson, was one of several players who put up career-best numbers last season under the guidance of Ziemak.

Though several of his everyday abilities has been confined as a result of the disease, Ziemak’s quarterback vision hasn’t been altered. He still gets around practice offering words of advice to Guadarrama.

“Nice throw, Nick,” said Ziemak through a voice synthesizer.

“Get your feet set before your throw,” he added later.

Of course, that advice never went over the head of Guadarrama.

“I like Coach Z a lot,” he said. “You can tell he knows a lot. He’s been keeping an eye on my footwork, telling me to keep my elbow low. It’s really special to have him out here.

“I had an uncle who had the same disease,” he added. “So to have Z out here with us, I know it means the world to him. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Time’s Yours

A Perkiomen School receiver can’t haul in a pass from quarterback Nick Guadarrama during a joint practice with The Hill School last week. (Sam Stewart - Digital First Media)

A Perkiomen School receiver can’t haul in a pass from quarterback Nick Guadarrama during a joint practice with The Hill School last week. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

The Perk School roster consists of nearly a dozen seniors. That said, it doesn’t mean all of them have gained the necessary experience leading into the season.

“We’re not completely young, but we’re inexperienced,” said Calvario. “Even though we’ll be starting a lot of seniors, we just don’t have the experience.

“We’ve gotta work through it and get that experience through the season.”

Streak on the Line

The Perk School has won its last two meetings with Nativity B.V.M — a 34-0 shutout win last season following a 49-7 tilt in 2014. The two teams will meet up again on Friday, Sept. 30.

After starting the 2015 season out 1-1, the Panthers rattled off four-straight wins. On the year, Perk outscored opponents 250-105, including a pair of shutouts against B.V.M. and Eastern Shore Bucks.

Windows Down & Cruz

Perk’s Josh Cruz will be back for his senior season running out of the backfield.

The senior, who has started the past two seasons, will likely be the Panthers’ main option out of the backfield in 2016.

“Like I told him, he’s one of the seniors that has the experience,” said Calvario. “He’s a great leader — not just by what he says, but leading by example. We’re hoping he can put in a really strong year.”

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