Friday night was the worse weather this season. Cold, wind, and a misty rain. You couldn’t really protect yourself from the weather because it was constantly changing. The action on the field was hot though. For my last game of regular season football, I chose Berkshire Badgers hosting Cardinal Huskies in the battle for the coveted Kinsman Cup. How could I miss such a long standing rivalry? I knew from the moment I walked into that stadium that this was going to be an amazing game. Thankfully, neither team let me down.
Cardinal started off the game with a kickoff reception. They didn’t hesitate to put some points on the board. The Huskies wanted to make an impression, and they achieved that with a little razzle dazzle play. Quarterback Justin McClain handed off the ball to Troy Sullivan who then ran towards the sideline. Before he could be tackled, Sullivan threw the ball 64 yards to an open Jason Farmwald for the touchdown. Isaiah Anderson’s point after kick was good making the score 0-7. On Cardinal’s next possession, they fumbled the ball and Berkshire recovered. The Badgers took advantage of the turnover when Jason Kaser ran the handoff from Eric Burzanko in for a 4 yard touchdown. Ian Patterson’s kick was good tying the game at 7-7.
Burzanko started off the second quarter when he put some points of his own on the board. He kept the ball for himself and ran the 2 yards for the touchdown. With Patterson’s kick going through the uprights, the Badgers took a 14-7 lead. Not wanting to go into the half without the lead, Cardinal knew they had to put some points on the board. Nick Mares was the first Husky to score in the second quarter with an 8 yard run. Anderson’s kick was no good, making the score 14-13. Cardinal knew that they had to score on their next drive to guarantee the lead before the whistle blew, ending the half. McClain made that possible when he connected with Brian Kaser for a 21 yard pass touchdown. Anderson brought in the kick, giving the Huskies the lead with a score of 14-20. The whistle blew and it was time for the halftime show including Berkshire’s Homecoming Court.
Cardinal’s Marching Band started off the festivities with an entertaining show of hits through the years. “You Can Call Me Al”, “What I Like About You”, and “Raise Your Glass” with a little dancing got the crowd on their feet and ready for what the Badgers were about to celebrate.
As the Berkshire band finished their song, they formed a walkway for the Homecoming Court to walk through as they were announced. Underclassmen representatives were, Mia Monroe, Amy Lasco, Grace Noce, Luke Byler, Chris Guinn, and Josh Williamson. Homecoming Queen candidates were Brittany Davis, Alyssa Zeitler, Stephanie Noble, Olivia Hess, and Dana Collins. The Homecoming King candidates were Ian Monroe, Tim Ludlow, Ryan Scott, Chase Rowell and Joey Geill. The seniors were all given a rose as they walked under the arch with the color hidden. The King and Queen were given a different color than the other candidates and it was time to figure out what rose they had. Stephanie Noble and Chase Rowell opened there wrapping to find red roses naming them Berkshire’s 2012 Homecoming Queen and King! Congratulations to you both! As the Badger’s played their fight song, it was time to get back to some football!
Berkshire started out the second half with the first points. Ian Patterson hit a 25 yard field goal making the score 17-20. Cardinal wasn’t going to end the third quarter without some points of their own. McClain connected with Brandon Bella for a 5 yard touchdown reception. The Huskies went for the 2 point conversion but were unable to bring it in. The score going into the final quarter was now 17-26. The Badger’s were not done fighting for the win. Burzanko handed off the ball to Jason Kaser, and he powered into the end zone on a 5 yard rush. Patterson’s kick was good and the crowd went crazy. They knew their boys were going to fight hard to get the ball back and bring the cup home. Unfortunately, Cardinal had the same motivation. The Husky’s Sullivan secured the lead with an 11 yard rush, bringing in the final touchdown of the game. Anderson made the final points when his kick was good, giving the Cardinal Huskies a 33-24 win over the Berkshire Badgers, bringing the Kinsman Cup home with them.
I have to make sure I give credit to both teams’ defensive players. Clark Thurling from the Huskies snagged an interception and a fumble recovery. Tommy Shirkey and the rest of the boys helped him out, holding the Badgers to 24 points. Donnie Hunt and the rest of the Badger’s defense played hard and strong for their team, school, and community. I have never seen two teams play with such heart in a matchup. All of the boys played with all they had during the entire game. I am proud of both of the schools in the way they played Friday night. Although this season is over for you all, you need to keep your heads up. For the seniors, this may have been your last year playing high school football, but you need to keep all of the memories in your heart and smile about the years you played.
A Beloved Member of the Community
Before I end this article, I need to talk about something I experienced while at Berkshire’s stadium. After the Badger’s were introduced, we noticed some of the players walking over to a plaque, touching it, raising a finger to the sky, and kissing it. Not being from the area, I wasn’t sure what the plaque meant, but something kept telling me I needed to find out. While waiting on the sidelines after the game, I went over to the plaque and read what it said. The plaque was a dedication to Rick Burzanko. Recognizing the last name, I went to ask a woman that was nearby what the plaque represented. Before I could, I saw Eric Burzanko walk over to the plaque, pick it up and hold it close to him. I then asked the woman who was near me if she could tell me more about the plaque and she introduced me to Eric and his family. Eric and his family told me about his dad and what he meant to the community.
The saying on the plaque were words that he would always say. Eric carries those words in his heart today and so do so many others in the Burton community and Geauga County. Rick was a lifelong resident of the area and helped with local sports in many ways whether it was coaching or officiating football, basketball, or baseball. He even helped organize the Youth Recreation League in Burton. His words will remain with me also after listening to the family talking about him and other people of the community. Thank you to the family for talking to me about your father, husband, brother, brother-in-law and friend. You will forever keep his memory alive.
I want to say congratulations to both Cardinal and Berkshire’s 2012 football teams on a great game and great season. You all played the season hard and with spirit. For the seniors, keep your heads high as you venture on in life. Whether you are playing more sports during your senior year, going to college, joining the military, or heading out into the world, remember the times you have had. Good luck to all of you!
“It does not matter how big you are on the outside.
It matters how big your heart is.” ~Rick Burzanko
Scores From Around Town
Grand Valley 21
Fairport Harding 54
Lake Catholic 0
West G 7
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