For many high school football players they may play against a player for a couple of years and never see them again. That's not the case for two former Miami Valley players who have gone off and made a name at the next level of play.
Former Xenia great Trent Cole found a home in Cincinnati and is building on what looks to be a great future. Former Wayne standout Jeff Berk headed to West Virginia and found playing time after his redshirt freshman year. He then broke the starting lineup with three games left in the 2001 season and never looked back. The Cincinnati game will be his 19th straight start for the Mountaineers. While Berk and Cole played against each other in High School, the story doesn't start there.
Jeff Berk grew up in Xenia, Ohio and played football in the youth programs during that time. Trent grew up outside of Xenia in Wilberforce, Ohio home of Wilberforce University and Central State University. The two future college players played roles on different elementary teams growing up and would have given Xenia a great pair to build a high school program around. That all changed when Berk moved from Xenia to Huber Heights, Ohio. Instead of Cole and Berk working together to win WOL games in Xenia, they would face each other as rivals. During his three years of starting for Wayne, Berk and Wayne would win 3 out of 3 against his old home town.
Move ahead to 2002 when Berk is a starting left guard for the Mountaineers and Cole is playing defensive tackle for the Bearcats. While they had some plays against each other it wasn't really a one-on-one battle. And both didn't even think about the other until they talked after the game and wished the best to each other. Each knew that 2003 could be a big year for the other and looking at this weeks game both have become leaders of their teams line.
Now in 2003 Cole is coming off a monster game for the Bearcats as they pounded ECU. Trent was the defensive star of the game and big things are expected of him from his right defensive end position. With his performance and work ethic don't be surprised to see Trent follow former Bearcat Antwan Peek into the NFL with his great athletic ability.
Berk and the Mountaineers are headed into their third game of the year after losing to Wisconsin by 7 points and also pounding ECU. Berk who now plays left tackle, will renew the wars of old as he will go one-on-one against his old friend Trent Cole.
In published news reports both players spoke about the other. Here is what Trent had to say.
"I was a running back on our team and he was a lineman," Cole said. "I used to run behind him."
"It's going to be nice," Cole said. "I'll do what I have to do to get around him because I want my team to be successful."
Berk was quoted by saying,
Berk knows there are no secret strategies to containing Cole.
"We're going to have to do our techniques and rely on what (offensive line) coach (Rick) Trickett teaches us to do," Berk said. "We have to believe in it and just go out there and do it to the best of our ability. As long as we do our techniques properly, we should be able to calm it down a little bit."
While I was unable to get a chance to speak with Trent, I did speak with Jeff and he informed me that, "Trent is looking great. He has really become such a great player and I will have my work cut out for me on Saturday. Its going to be fun to play against him again and at this level. Who would have ever given either of us a chance of playing at this level back when we were in elementary school."
For those who are in the Cincinnati and Dayton area the game is to be carried on Ch 19 out of Cincinnati at 12:00 noon. Here are profiles on each other these players from the colleges they play for.
Source for quotes: The Dominion Post
Preseason All-Conference USA choice. . . moves to defensive end after starting at defensive tackle last year, a switch designed to take advantage of his quickness and pass rushing skills. . . superior strength and conditioning allows him to play the majority of the game. . . earned the nickname "scrap iron" because of his solid physique, owning less than seven-percent body fat. . . ranks second on the team with a 37" vertical jump.
2002: Received the team's Defensive Newcomer of the Year award after starting nine of the 14 games. . . finished fifth on the team with 87 tackles and was fourth with 12 TFL and third with five sacks. . . second on the team with 18 quarterback hurries and third with eight quarterback hits. . . broke into the starting lineup at defensive end against Temple, making five stops. . . moved to defensive tackle for Tulane game, making eight tackles and blocking an extra point. . . made a career-high 10 tackles at Louisville, including a quarterback sack and a fumble caused and recovered. . . had nine tackles with three TFL and 1.5 sacks in win over UAB. . .made 10 stops with a sack at East Carolina. . . earned first letter.
2001: Enrolled at UC and sat out the season while meeting NCAA initial eligibility requirements.
High School: First team all-state selection by the Associated Press as a senior at Xenia High, playing for coach Paul Jenne. . . rushed 184 times for 1,241 yards and 10 touchdowns. . . named league defensive lineman of the year after recording 121 tackles and eight quarterback sacks. . . first team all-league, all-county and all-district. . . named the area player of the year by the Xenia Daily Gazette. . . second team all-league choice as a junior. . . tabbed for the Dayton Daily News all-star team. . .played in the Ohio North-South all-star game. . . lettered three times in football, twice in track and once in basketball.
Personal: Born Oct. 5, 1982 in Xenia, Ohio. . . son of David and Angela Wilson and Trent Cole, Sr. . . has two brothers and three sisters. . . general studies major.
Hometown: Huber Heights, Ohio
Second-year starter at left guard ... experienced and tough competitor ... hampered by injury during spring practice ... started every game last season ... Offensive Champion: East Carolina ... converted tackle who saw more playing time each week during 2001 ... started at left guard in the 2001 Syracuse game after injuries to Ken Sandor and Jason Brooks ... also started the Temple and Pitt games ... Offensive Award: Syracuse ... did not see varsity action in 2000 ... rookie of the week: Virginia Tech ... three-year starter who led Wayne High to a 13-2 record and a trip to the state championship game, losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius ... finalist in the North-South Miami Valley all-star game ... played under Coach Jay Minton (former coach at Boca Raton High in Florida where he tutored former Mountaineers Khori Ivy and Perlo Bastien) ... strong student who never missed a day of school ... born September 3, 1980 ... son of David and Eleanor Berk ... one of four sons ... one of two married players on the team (wife is Julie) ... majoring in physical education with a specialization in athletic coaching education
Source for profiles were the offical web sites of The University of Cincinnati and West Virginia University.