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Yurish eases growing pains for 'Dogs

September 29, 2000

Yurish eases growing pains for 'Dogs



By MARK KELLER / Sports Editor


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Things are coming much easier this year to Martinsburg quarterback Joey Yurish.

Through five games of his first season as the starter, the junior has thrown for 637 yards and nine touchdowns, while only being intercepted twice.

Of course, playing against teams like Greenbrier East, Oak Glen and Stone Bridge is nothing compared to the fire Yurish was thrown into last year.

When Raymond Snow was hurt in the regular season finale against Jefferson, Yurish, fresh off the JV squad, stepped in to finish out the game.

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When Snow wasn't ready to go in the playoff opener the next week, Yurish was forced into action ... against Riverside.

"It was big, because we played at home, but we were still the underdog," Yurish said. "I knew I had a lot on my shoulders. And they were huge."

The Bulldogs lost 59-22, but Yurish and coach David Walker agree that the experience gained by the quarterback were invaluable.

"It made him grow up a lot faster," Walker said. "Coming in there an playing against the eventual state runner-up ... I think it made him realize he needed to work on his physical skills. But it helped him mentally as well. He got a good understanding of the system."

Yurish said it was his job over the summer to make sure he was ready to get the ball to his receivers. He said he threw the football 200 times a day and attended several camps to make himself into a better quarterback.

"He's really improved with his ability to throw the ball down the field," Walker said. "He's gotten a lot stronger because he worked at it over the summer. There's always things that we can do better, all of us. But I'm not surprised by what Joey has done this year."

Yurish admitted that his reasons for the hard work were a bit selfish, too.

"I love to throw the ball," Yurish said. "Coach calls the plays, and I just get a big smile on my face when it's a pass play."

If Yurish keeps this up, he'll be doing a lot more smiling as the season goes on.

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