Two top high school football programs from outside the region are coming to Altoona this weekend, and one of them is bringing a running back on a record pace with it.
The Altoona Area High School athletic office has announced that perennial PIAA Class AAAA power McDowell and defending PIAA Class AA champion Lancaster Catholic - now in Triple-A - will meet up at Mansion Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. It's part of a two-year contract that will bring the Trojans and Crusaders back again in 2013.
"Both teams needed a week 3 game, but neither wanted to travel the entire distance to the other city. Both school knew about our facilities and contacted me about the possibility of playing here," Altoona AD Phil Riccio said.
McDowell brings a 1-1 record into the matchup. Lancaster Catholic is 2-0 with a pair of seven-point wins, but the bigger story with the Crusaders is the roll on which bruising senior running back Roman Clay is on to start the season.
Clay enters the game with 691 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 44 carries. In the season-opener, Clay amassed 442 yards and scored six times.
The 215-pound Clay now is drawing major Division I recruiting interest, including that from Penn State and Pitt.
Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students and available at the main gate, which will open at 2:30 p.m. The Columbia Park entrance will be closed.
- Philip Cmor