BERWICK – There may have been lots of outside discussion surrounding the Shikellamy High School football program as to who they would play this week…but by the time they got to Friday night, it was business as usual for the Braves. The Braves certainly carried their focus to the game field, routing Holy Redeemer 35-0 during Friday night’s game at Berwick’s Crispin Field.
Quarterback Drew Balestrini, “I felt like we had some adversity with the game getting switched back to Southern (Columbia), but stuck together and we got through it and we ended up with the win, so can’t complain about that.”
Friday’s game was the first time Shikellamy has played at Berwick in 32 years. The Braves were originally scheduled to play at Southern Columbia this week before the back and forth began.
Head coach Todd Tilford said he made sure he and the coaching staff were on top of the situation when it came out last week, “It was Lewisburg week, so we addressed it as a team because you know how those rumors get flying and we really as coaches, didn’t know what was going on. All we can do is worry about this week and that was Lewisburg.”
The first request came from Southern, which was denied by the PHAC for an improper request. Shikellamy School District Superintendent Dr. Jason Bendle then had the district file the proper paperwork to get the schedule change, which was approved Monday. While the Braves took on Holy Redeemer, the Tigers took on undefeated Wyoming Area, also out of District 2 in front of over 5,000 fans.
One Shikellamy parent is school board member Jeff Balestrini, Drew’s father. He says there was some frustration among parents during the back-and-forth, “Just not really fully understanding what was causing it. There was confusion out there. I was just glad to see that Dr. Bendle stepped up and looked out for the kids and got it done.”
But Jeff Balestrini says he also understood why both teams wanted to realign the game. Southern Columbia also won its highly anticipated game with Wyoming Area 42-0.