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Luvara leads Indians to historic year

December 16, 2007|By MARK KELLER

The Berkeley Springs football team was coming off its second 0-10 season in three years when Angelo Luvara took the reins in 2000, leading someone to ask him if another 0-10 season would result in the school dropping the football program.

"I told him, 'We're never going to do that as long as I'm here,'" Luvara recalled. "I told everyone we were going to be a lot better that year."

The Indians finished 3-7 in 2000. It wasn't a stellar season, but in hindsight, it was the first step in a building process that culminated in the best season in the Indians' long history this year - and certainly eliminated any ideas that Berkeley Springs would be dropping football any time soon.

Berkeley Springs won nine games to establish a school record, celebrated its first playoff victory and hosted a postseason game - two, in fact - for the first time in the program's history, all factors which led to Luvara's selection as The Herald-Mail's Football Coach of the Year for 2007.

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"We knew we had a good football team this year," Luvara said. "There were some questions on defense, but yeah, we thought we'd be pretty good."

The Indians started the season 6-0 before hitting a brutal three-game stretch against Keyser, Mountain Ridge and Allegany. They won just one of those three games, but it was a big one - a 22-16 victory over Mountain Ridge in which the Indians ran just one offensive play in the fourth quarter and made two defensive stands to keep the Miners out of the end zone.

That win clinched a "home" playoff game for the Indians three weeks later, though they played it at Martinsburg High School. Berkeley Springs beat Logan 55-40 to get the Indians their ninth win and first-ever postseason victory.

"I think we had two big wins this year and those were the ones," Luvara said. "To get the Mountain Ridge game in the middle of that tough stretch, and especially the way we won it, and definitely the first playoff win.

"If you'd have been in that locker room and seen the faces of those kids it's something they'll remember the rest of their lives."

Still, Luvara can't help but wonder if it all could have ended differently had his two workhorse running backs - Cody Hess and Cody Reed - not left with injuries on consecutive drives in the first quarter of the Indians' state quarterfinal game, a 54-20 loss to Scott.

"If they don't go down in that first quarter, who knows what would have happened?" Luvara said. "The team was in shock for 10 minutes, but they never gave up. They fought to the end and that's all you can ask of a football team."

Luvara is 45-39 in his eight seasons at Berkeley Springs. He was the head coach at Potomac State from 1979 to 1999 and was an assistant at Bruce High School (which was consolidated first into Westmar, then Beall) from 1975 to 1978.

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