Berwick Football: Film Documents George Curry’s Life, Career

September 18, 2016 GMT

By Jim Reeser Sports Editor Alfredo Mercuri played football at Pottsville in the late 1990s and had the chance to compete against George Curry and the Berwick Bulldogs. “It was frustrating in the sense that we were so well scouted,” Mercuri said. “I lined up for a play, and the Berwick sideline is calling out the exact play we were going to run.” It’s that kind of football brilliance and passion for helping players succeed that come to the forefront of the documentary “Curry: God. Family. Football.” It debuts Sept. 30 at the Berwick Community Movie Theater. Mercuri, a television editor in Philadelphia, and fellow executive produced Jason Genovese, who is a professor in the Department of Mass Communications at Bloomsburg University, started the project in December 2015 following Curry’s last season on the sidelines. “(Alfredo) and I are childhood buddies and we always talked about working together,” Genovese said. “When we learned coach was retiring, we started to think about how a film looking at his life and career would be appropriate. “When we told coach what we wanted to do, he was all for it.” Mercuri and Genovese spent the next several months researching, collecting photos and film and interviewing some of Curry’s former assistant coaches and players like Ron Powlus, Bo Orlando, Gus Felder and Dave Robbins. They interviewed Curry in February, and the 55-minute film includes a scene in which Curry is enjoying breakfast with his friends in March. It was filmed less than a month before Curry died from complications of ALS on April 1. He was 71. The film, sponsored by the Ken Pollock Auto Group, starts with Curry’s life in Larksville, then moves to his career at Temple, where he studied dentistry and played football. Following graduation, Curry began in coaching career at Lake-Lehman in 1967. Carl Kern, one of Curry’s former players at Lake-Lehman and former head coach of the Black Knights, was instrumental in providing film of Curry’s team. “Carl had some old film,” Mercuri said. “That brought the piece together. It showcased the crazy offense coach Curry was running in the 1960s. “Everyone from the people of Berwick to his family to former players were helpful and welcoming. It was easy to get people like Bo and Ron to talk. It was because of coach Curry.” The documentary highlights Berwick’s dominance throughout the 1980s and 1990s and the impact Curry had on the community. Curry’s departure from Berwick, time at Valley West and return to Berwick are also discussed. In addition, Mercuri and Genovese made sure to include the recruiting allegations that followed Curry throughout his career. “Growing up in Pottsville, you heard all the rumors,” Mercuri said. “You could easily make the assumption wrongly that he’s this win-at-all-costs guy. Within the first two minutes of meeting him, you realize that’s not the case. He just cared about people and helping his players.” According to Mercuri, Curry and Felder were open to discussing the allegations that Felder was recruited to play football at Berwick. “When we interviewed coach Curry, he answered the question. It was to the point, very detailed,” Mercuri said. “When we interviewed Gus, we wanted to make sure the story checked out. Gus told the same version. Right there you knew there was no funny business. You could tell they were telling the truth.” Mercuri and Genovese said piecing together the documentary was educational and rewarding, and they hope viewers get a sense of Curry’s passion for life, the game and the players. “He was an amazing man that had an amazing life,” Genovese said. “We hope viewers get a better appreciation for the kind of man he was. He changed a lot of people’s lives for the better.” jreeser@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2065