The Daniel Boone High School football team has a new look this year - starting over so to speak. Former Head Coach Dave Bodlous resigned in February, so the school had to look for a new coach.
Enter Bill Parks (36 years old) who came from the Pottstown High School program. Coach Parks played his high school ball at North Penn. He was hired in mid-April and has been working very hard to keep the tradition of winning that the Daniel Boone football program has upheld over the past several years.
'We keep working hard, that's all Coach Bodlous ever told us,' said senior John Okuniewski. 'He always said 'work hard and play harder. You keep doing that you'll keep winning games.''
'We have a mind-set that even though people might be bigger than us, faster than us and stronger than us, we have the advantage because we work harder,' said senior Ethan Myers.
The team will have to replace quarterback Tommy Bodolous who threw for 1,796 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions, along with rushing for over 1,300 yards. The team will also have to replace Darell Scott who rushed for 978 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Coach Parks takes over for Dave Bodlous who spent nine years at Boone. The Blazers were 10-2 (overall) and 6-1 (league) with a season ending 27-7 loss to Wilson (West Lawn) in the 2011 campaign.
'We are focused on preparing our players and raising the bar,' said Parks.
The players are buying into Parks system, and that's been a big help in Parks first year as the head coach. 'The boys have been unified and organized since I got here,' said Parks. 'They have made it a smooth transition
Practices began August 13 and Coach Parks is happy with how the team is looking so far.
'The team is excited and working hard,' said Parks. 'They are meeting all of the challenges that our coaching staff is throwing at them.'
Myers and Okuniewski are happy with how things are going at camp so far and are excited for the beginning of the season.
'We've had a bunch of good days, but then we've had a bunch of bad days,' said Okuniewski. 'I think it's going really well so far. The 12 hours days have been the toughest part. Everyone's sticking together and there hasn't been any problems with it.'
'We've made huge strides coming together as a team under a new coach and a new system,' said Myers. 'We're looking forward to getting the season started.'
Learning the new system that Coach Parks has put in is something that everyone has been working on since he started in April. Okuniewski said that other than terminology, everything else is the same. He notes that the team is still running a lot of spread open looks. Myers noted that Coach Parks has tried to make it as easy as possible for the team to learn.
There will be a lot of younger inexperienced players that will get some significant playing time, but Parks feels that the senior leadership on the team should help overcome the inexperience.
Okuniewski doesn't see the inexperience as a concern for the Blazers during the 2012 campaign. 'We've had all summer long to prepare,' said Okuniewski. 'We've had seven-on-seven scrimmages and regular scrimmages to help us prepare. By the time the first game comes around, it's not a big deal at all.'
'We've been learning a whole new system and learning all this new stuff,' said Myers. 'They're not at anymore of a disadvantage than we were.'
There are three key players who are returning from last year. They are Rhett Glaser, JD Okuniewski and all-league kicker Andrew Ricci. Rookies Xavier Smith and Kyle Myers are looking to make an impact this upcoming season as well.
The expectation Coach Parks has for his team is very simple. He wants to win and to make the playoffs. He does feel that they'll be able to compete in the Berks I.C. League this year because of how hard the team is working this year.
'We're working hard like any other team that's come through,' said Okuniewski. 'People are saying we lost so many seniors and our coach, but it's not any different. We have a great coach in Coach Parks.
'We seem to come in as the underdogs and this year is no different,' said Myers. 'We're going to knock a couple of people off.
'We embrace it here (the underdog status) and that's the way it's always been,' said Okuniewski. 'It gives us an advantage because people never know where we're coming from. Everyone knows how to prepare for star power, but you can never measure a teams heart.'