Several Berks teams look to earn their first win in league play on Friday.
Coming off losses in their first Lancaster-Lebanon League games of the season, Hamburg (0-1 Section 5, 3-1) will take on host Kutztown (0-1 Section 5, 1-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. in a clash of teams looking to get back on track.
After starting the season 3-0, the Hawks lost 28-7 to Annville-Cleona in Week 4. The result marked the first time Hamburg was held below 10 points since it lost to Boiling Springs in the 2021 District 3 Class 3A semifinals.
“We went back to basics this week,” Hawks coach Matt Hoffert said. “We didn’t get our jobs done last week and it shows.”
Hamburg will again lean on its pass-heavy offense and quarterback Tyler Shuey. The junior leads the county with 1,217 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Shuey’s top targets are junior wide receiver Ty Werley and senior tight end Mason Semmel. Werley leads Berks with 420 receiving yards, while Semmel is right behind him with 399 yards.
“Kutztown is a tough team,” Hoffert said. “When bad things happen, we got to pick our heads up and move forward. When good things happen, we got to keep it rolling.”
The Cougars enter Friday’s game coming off a 49-21 loss to Schuylkill Valley in which the Cougars lost four fumbles.
“When you have as many turnovers as we had, you can’t be successful,” Cougars coach Larry Chester said. “You got to protect the football.”
While Kutztown has dropped its last two games, its rushing attack remains one of the best in the county. The Cougars average 234 rushing yards per game, the third-most among Berks teams.
“We truly believe that we’re moving in the right direction with our offense, defense and special teams,” Chester said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to play at home again against a solid team.”
At Shillington, Gov. Mifflin (0-1 Section 2, 2-2) also will be searching for its first victory in league play when it hosts Muhlenberg (1-0 Section 2, 1-3) at 7 p.m. The Mustangs are coming off a 31-10 loss to Exeter.
“When it counted, we didn’t finish it,” Mifflin coach Jeff Lang said. “We learned a lot from last week’s game.”
While the Mustangs gave up only two second-half touchdowns last week, they have been outscored 58-27 in the second half this season, something they will try to improve upon in Week 5.
“It’s going to be a test for our D-line to get some pressure on the quarterback and our defensive backs to start coming up and making some bigger plays,” Lang said. “They’re focused. They’re determined.”
The Muhls enter Friday’s game fresh off their first win of the season, a 13-7 victory over Lebanon. Muhlenberg recorded a season-high 239 yards of offense.
“They saw that playing four quarters, playing collectively together, executing the game plan allows them to gain the experience they need to see how that victory takes place,” Muhls coach John Lorchak said. “Every part of the game, we’ve seen growth.”
Muhlenberg has allowed just 188.8 yards per game, the third-fewest among Berks teams. The Muhls have allowed 25 or fewer points in three of their four games this year, but Lorchak understand the Mustangs’ offense will pose a great challenge.
“They are a big, strong, physical team that you just have to try to somewhat slow down,” Lorchak said about Mifflin. “They are effectively running the ball.”
In other action, Schuylkill Valley (1-0 Section 5, 3-1) will host Pequea Valley (0-1 Section 5, 1-3) Friday at 7 p.m. without standout running back and leading rusher Dominic Giuffre. The senior suffered an arm injury against Kutztown last Friday and will miss three to four weeks, according to Panthers coach Bruce Harbach.
Giuffre ranks sixth in Berks with 384 yards rushing this season. Junior Cooper Hohenadel and sophomore Logan Cammauf are expected to handle the majority of the workload at running back in Giuffre’s absence, according to Harbach.
“All our wide receivers and running backs know to step up,” Harbach said. “(Giuffre) is chomping at the bit to get back.”
This week’s schedule
Friday (all at 7 p.m.)
Penn Manor at Reading High
Wilson at Cedar Crest
Lebanon at Exeter
Muhlenberg at Gov. Mifflin
Daniel Boone at Ephrata
Garden Spot at Fleetwood
Twin Valley at Elizabethtown
Berks Catholic at Donegal
Octorara at Conrad Weiser
Pequea Valley at Schuylkill Valley
Hamburg at Kutztown
Elco at Wyomissing, 1:30 p.m.
Source: Berkshire mont