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Storm chasing next up for Yurish

April 05, 2002|BY MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Joey Yurish is taking another year before taking the next step in the hopes that the next step will be a little bit higher.

The Martinsburg senior, who quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the West Virginia Class AAA title game last season, will attend Mercersburg Academy and play football for the Blue Storm as a post-graduate in the fall.

Yurish, The Herald-Mail's Offensive Player of the Year in 2001, passed on several Division II offers in selecting Mercersburg. He said he wants his year at Mercersburg to prepare him to play at the Division I level.

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"It's a kid's dream to play Division I football, and I know if I put my heart into it and work at it, I could go to a Division I school," Yurish said.

He turned down almost half of the West Virginia Conference, telling Glenville State, West Virginia Wesleyan, Fairmont State, Concord and Shepherd, "Thanks, but no thanks."

"It's not a knock against the conference, because there are some great teams in there," Yurish said. "But Division I is what I want to play, and I want to get away from home. I want to go explore things."

Yurish will find a big difference between quarterbacking at Martinsburg and doing the same job at Mercersburg. While Yurish was counted on to run the Bulldogs' offense, he had plenty of help behind him in 1,000-yard rusher Steve Weatherholtz. At Mercersburg, Yurish will be the first option on nearly 90 percent of the Blue Storm's offensive plays.

Duke Hasson, Mercersburg's quarterback in 2001, threw 353 passes in nine games, an average of just over 39 attempts per game. In 10 regular season games last year, Yurish had 135 attempts.

Putting the ball in the air more often won't be a problem for Yurish.

"I thought they threw a lot at Glenville," Yurish said. "I just hope they adapt to me as well as I adapt to them."

Even if Yurish's dream of playing Division I football does not come true, he'll be able to play out another dream next year at Mercersburg.

"At the end of the season, I said I'd do anything to get to play football next year. I love football. I've just got to play," Yurish said.

"So, if nothing else, I get to play another year of football."

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