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Playoff experience valuable to returning West Beaver players

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Western Beaver running back Zach Perry.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Western Beaver running back Zach Perry.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Western Beaver running back Billy Drear.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Western Beaver running back Billy Drear.
h Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Western Beaver quarterback Hunter Roknic
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>h Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Western Beaver quarterback Hunter Roknic

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Schedule

Coach: Matt Gray

2011 record: 5-5, 5-2

Date Opponent Time

9.1 Neshannock* 12:30

9.7 at OLSH* 7

9.15 Apollo-Ridge* 12:30

9.21 at Union* 7

9.29 Rochester* 12:30

10.6 Laurel* 12:30

10.12 at Sto-Rox* 7

10.20 at Shenango* 7

10.27 South Side Beaver* 12:30

*conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing Eric Blinn*

58-118, 859 yards, 7 TDs

Rushing Dustin Creel*

89-730 yards, 10 TDs

Receiving Creel*

26-426 yards, 5 TDs

*Graduated

Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
 

Western Beaver coach Matt Gray believes postseason experience helps teams in future seasons.

If that's true, the Golden Beavers' back-to-back WPIAL playoff appearances should come in handy this fall.

“It's always nice when you do kind of well for your young guys because it gives them a little bit of extra experience,” Gray said. “They've dealt with it. We're in a really tough conference, and I think last year helps us build for this year.”

The Golden Beavers finished third in the Big 7 Conference before falling to Brentwood, 20-12, in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Two of the top playmakers — Eric Blinn and Eastern Michigan signee Dustin Creel — are gone from that team, but Gray has faith that returning players such as Zach Perry, Billy Drear and Hunter Roknich can pick up the slack.

Western Beaver had a young team overall in 2011, a big reason why Gray believes the playoff experience was so important.

“(The players) know what you're talking about,” Gray said. “If you've never been to the playoffs, they don't understand. It only comes when you experience it — the intensity picks up, everything picks up. If you like that and you like that experience, you want to feel it again, you want to do it again.”

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