Freshman CB Bergman is big hit with Terrors

October 25, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Western Maryland freshman Aaron Bergman wasn't expecting to see much playing time on defense this season.

After all, the North Carroll grad was a first-year player on a football team that returned 10 starters on defense from last year's squad.

Content on returning kicks and playing on the kickoff team at the varsity level, Bergman was looking forward to getting some hits in at his cornerback position when the junior varsity team met Dickinson on Monday.

So when Green Terrors coach Dale Sprague named Bergman starting right cornerback for Saturday's varsity game against four-time defending Centennial Football Conference champ Dickinson, Bergman had plenty to think about.

"I was a little nervous and antsy going in," Bergman said.

"It doesn't take much to get up for Dickinson. I heard so many stories about how good they were and all that stuff, it got to the point where it was the middle of the week and I hated the color red."

Bergman figured he would be OK after he got that first hit out of the way. And what a hit it was.

The Red Devils took the opening drive 59 yards in five minutes of the first quarter. It was fourth-and-two at the WMC 16 when Dickinson quarterback Stu James rolled to his right.

"I was looking for them to run a fade, then I saw he was rolling out," Bergman said.

"At first, I just wanted to stop him from reaching the end zone, but then I thought I had a chance to come up and get him before he reached a first down."

He did, and the Red Devils had to turn the ball over on downs. On a day of big plays, that was the first.

"That was a huge play," Sprague said. "He came up and snuffed it well, making a great tackle. If they [Dickinson] continue that drive and score a touchdown or even a field goal, it changes the whole complexion of the game."

After seeing a tape of the play for the first time later in the week, Bergman said it was an "OK hit." He knew he made a big play, but didn't realize how big until after the game.

"I never really thought about it," Bergman said.

"I knew it was fourth down, but didn't know how big of a play it was until people started coming up to me and talking about it after the game. It did make me feel a lot more confident the rest of the way."

Confident enough to make six more tackles on the day and break up a pass to help the Green Terrors knock off Dickinson, 17-14, and take sole possession of first place in the CFC. Impressive enough for Sprague to stay with him as the starter in yesterday's game against Franklin & Marshall.

The fourth-down snuff wasn't the only big play Bergman has enjoyed this season. The week before, he returned a kickoff 89 yards for a score in the Green Terrors' 48-30 non-conference loss at Randolph-Macon.

Bergman had a lot of opportunities to return kicks in that game as Macon racked up 499 yards of total offense, a major reason Bergman was inserted at cornerback against Dickinson.

"After the Randolph-Macon game we felt we needed to change some things and he stepped up and did a great job against Dickinson," Sprague said.

"He played a lot on special teams and in the nickel package and really impressed me from the start with his speed and strength. He breaks to the ball real well as a defensive back and tackles like a 500-pound pack of dynamite."

Bergman didn't play competitive football until he was a junior at North Carroll. Western Maryland tailback and fellow North Carroll grad Rob Johnson turned him on to the sport.

"We've been friends since the third grade," Bergman said. "He kept asking me to play football and I finally came out my junior year. I played junior varsity then started at safety on varsity as a senior.

"Robbie really keeps me pumped up. He's run like that as long as I've known him and has done things I've never seen others do."

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