Historic season bolsters Fleetwood Tigers’ confidence

Heading into the 2013 season, the Fleetwood High School football program had never had a season in which it won more than two games. One of the smaller schools in the league, Fleetwood always has trouble getting enough players to come out for the team.

Last year there were only 36 players on the team, five of them were freshmen. But through hard work and a lot of things going right, the Tigers went 4-2 in the Berks League, and 6-5 overall. The Tigers also played in their first post season game in program history.

The question is, can they do it again? They have many of their key players back again this year, including star running back Tyler Emge, and starting quarterback Zach Koenig.

“As soon as the season ended last year, our kids couldn’t wait for next season to begin,’ said Fleetwood head coach James Martinez. “They put in a lot of work in the off season. They wanted to make sure that this would be a successful season.’

With Emge and Koenig back, there is reason for optimisim. Emge has been an almost unstoppable force for the Tiger running game. Last year he rushed for 1,134 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and scored 16 touchdowns. He has rushed for over 2,000 yards in his three years with the team and is expected to be as dominant, or more, this year.

“Tyler is a very talented runner, but he is also a very hard worker,’ said Martinez. “He is a very explosive running back and pound for pound is the strongest player on the team. He can run through you or around you.’

Koenig will be back for his senior season as quarterback, after a very successful first year as a starter in 2013. He threw for 1,617 yards (115-for-202) with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. A year under his belt will only make him better in 2014.

Also returning is All-Berks receiver Michael Allen. He led the team in receptions last year with 39, covering 572 yards with those catches.

“He’s a very elusive receiver with great feet,’ said Martinez. “He will be a big impact player for us this year.

Samson Lerch will back for his junior season this year, after performing well as a safety last year. He will try his hand as a receiver this year for the first time. Martinez is confident he contribute a lot at his new position.

Cress Fisher is only a sophomore, but he made a good impression on the offensive line last year as a freshman. He 6′-2′ 295 lineman is going to be a force for the Tigers this year, and the next two years.

Albano Ferreira is coming off a great season on the defensive line. He will be back and counted on as the teams main defensive line in his junior season.

Offensively the team should be solid. With Koenig having a year as the starting quarterback under his belt. Martinez will add more plays to the offense, as well as speed it up a big.

Martinez believes that the best offense is a simple offense. He keeps the number of plays down to avoid confusion. Of course with Emge in the backfield, a lot of the plays include him in some way or another.

With the success the team had last year, Martinez and the coaching staff was hoping the number of players who came out for the team would increase. But that didn’t happen. There are only 37 players on the team which means they can’t afford to have many injuries if they want to improve on last season.

“Health is going to be a big issue for us this year,’ said Martinez. “If we stay healthy, we can definitely improve on last year’s season. We want to not only make the district playoffs, but win a couple of them this year. But we have to stay healthy if we are going to do that.

“We have a good hard-working group of core kids. Our numbers are still low, but we are able to get by with what we have. We have a good group of kids who are dedicated to winning this year. I think we could have a very good season.’


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