2019 Football Preview: Berkley High

2018 Record: 2-7

By: C & G Sports Staff | Woodward Talk | Published July 22, 2019


Last season’s record: 2-7
League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division
Returning starters: Seven
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. Ortonville Brandon
Offensive keys:
From the perspective of coach Sean Shields, the Bears’ offensive line is “basically (going to) determine how far we’re able to go this year.”

A few of the linemen who can help put Berkley in a good position are Justin Anagonye, Zach Gebhardt and Cody Rigley.

One of their biggest responsibilities will be to provide protection for quarterback Hunter Kiesling.

“Looking to play a lot (of) ball control this year, use our strong-minded quarterback and our really physical offensive line,” Shields said.
Defensive keys:
Berkley has two defensive linemen with the potential to play at the next level in Anagonye and Gebhardt.
Anagonye has offers to go Division I, and according to Shields, Gebhardt has been getting “some looks from some Division II (programs) to play some defensive or offensive line.”

The Bears can get some help at the outside linebacker position from Sean Smyk, at the inside linebacker spots from Jalen Spratt and Henry Pennington, and in the secondary from Liam Sarris.

“Got a lot (of) young guys, but … our line is by far our biggest strength,” Shields said.
Coach’s outlook:
If the Bears can stay healthy, Shields expects them to be able to contend for an OAA Blue championship.

Berkley’s non-divisional schedule includes Ortonville Brandon and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Last year, Brandon qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Although Notre Dame Prep didn’t make it to the postseason last year, the program has qualified for the playoffs in five of the last eight seasons.

“Our league is tough, and I didn’t do us any favors by scheduling programs like Ortonville Brandon and Notre Dame Prep for our out (of) conference games,” Shields said.

Berkley has not made the playoffs in the last two years, and with the possibility of making it back there this season in mind, Shields said, “I would rather us be able to play good competition, because once we get into the playoffs, we’re a Class A Division 2 school, and we’re (going to) see the likes of a De La Salle or Brother Rice, Groves; some of the bigger, stronger programs.”
vs. Ortonville Brandon (8-2) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29
In the only game played between the programs, Berkley won 53-14 in 1995. The Blackhawks scored 50 or more points four times last season.

at North Farmington (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
With a 22-14 win last season, North Farmington improved to 5-3 all-time against Berkley. Last season, the Raiders scored less than 10 points in six of their games.
vs. Royal Oak High (5-4) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
With a 37-0 win last year, Royal Oak is now 2-3 all-time against Berkley. Royal Oak’s program has qualified for the playoffs two times since it started in 2006.

at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (4-5) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
The programs have played once before. Prep won 26-3 in 2016.

at Ferndale High (7-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
Prior to a 20-7 loss last season, Berkley had beaten Ferndale in eight consecutive games. The Eagles held opponents to 10 points or less six times last season and have qualified for the playoffs three consecutive years.

at Pontiac High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Since beating Berkley in its inaugural season in 2009, Pontiac has lost the last four games played between the programs. In those four games, the Bears have outscored Pontiac 174-9.

vs. Farmington High (8-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Farmington beat the Bears 37-21 last season. Last year, the Falcons won their first five games of the season.

vs. Auburn Hills Avondale (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Last season, the Yellow Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak against Berkley with a 53-0 victory. Avondale has qualified for the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

at Troy High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
With a 20-12 win last year, Troy beat Berkley for the 10th time in the last 11 games played between the programs. Last season, the Colts scored 10 points or fewer five times and were shut out twice.