The 2012 season was a turnaround campaign for the Grove City College football team. The Wolverines - a Division III school - rebounded from a 3-7 record a year ago to finish 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
Two of the main reasons for the turnaround were local products, Josh Bermann and Jason Ferguson.
The senior, a graduate of Ursuline High School, was rewarded for his play by being named to the All-PAC first team.
Bermann, a 6-foot-1, 270-pound right guard, started all 10 games this season and helped anchor a line that helped Grove City average 174.2 rushing yards per game and lead the PAC with a 32:41 average time of possession.
"It's an honor that I definitely feel really good about," said Bermann, a team co-captain. "I was an all (Steel Valley) conference selection in high school and I wasn't able to have that honor in college until my senior year."
Ferguson, a 6-0, 235-pound senior inside linebacker, led the Wolverines in tackles with 84. Ferguson had 50 solo tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. The Mineral Ridge native added one fumble and one interception to his resume.
Meanwhile, Bermann said while he was pleased with the Wolverines' 6-4 record, he felt it could have been even better.
"It was a good season for us. Last season we were 3-7 and had to deal with a ton of injuries," he said. "I knew if we stayed healthy we'd have a really good team. We were able to keep all our key guys healthy, which hadn't happened since I've been playing at Grove City.
"Us being 6-4 was also frustrating. There were three games we lost that were by a touchdown or less. The season could easily have had a postseason appearance. We were projected eighth in the conference and we finished fourth, which is a step in the right direction for the underclassmen."
Bermann said two games in particular stood out to him in the 2012 season.
"I would say the games against Bethany College and Westminster College," he said. "Bethany was our homecoming game. We decided to spot them a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. We ended up coming back from that deficit, then in the second half we spotted them another 16-point lead. We won 44-40. That was one of the most exciting games I've ever played in. In the Westminster game, we had a two-possession lead until the fourth quarter. We ended up having to drive the length of the field to win that game."
Bermann, an exercise science major, will play one more football game in his career before continuing his education.
"Jason and I both get to play in an all-star game (the Bowl of the Stars) in (Guadalajara) Mexico in December," he said. "Then I'll attend grad school for my masters in exercise physiology."
The Bowl of the Stars pits the best Division III players against the Monterrey Tech Stars on Saturday, Dec. 19.
He graduated from Ursuline in 2009, helping the Irish make the state championship game in 2007 and win it all the next season. Bermann kept up with Ursuline's 2012 postseason run, attending the 38-37 loss in the Division V regional final against Kirtland on Nov. 17 at Aurora.
"I'm actually going to the game as we speak," he said. "I think they have a good chance to win. Ursuline and Kirtland have played in the playoffs the last couple years. My senior year we played in the regional championship game. I think it's going to be a real good game."