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It’s good to be a Bison these days

There might not be a school in the area happier that the PIAA went ahead with fall sports than Bedford.

It’s hard to argue against the Bisons looking the most impressive in the region over the first three weeks of the high school football season with a dominating win over long-time rival Chestnut Ridge, a victory over defending District 6 Class 2A champion Richland and a 28-0 shutout of ball-control specialists Westmont Hilltop.

Bedford has really hit its groove over the past couple years following a switch at quarterback from Steven Ressler to Mercury Swaim. The pair connected a few times and had success when Ressler was starting under center as a sophomore and Swaim, a freshman at the time, was a wideout, but coach Kevin Steele has been getting much more out both players since the change.

Swaim has been a threat both with his arm and legs, as he’s rushed for a team-high 272 yards and thrown for 483 yards. His top target is Ressler, who has 13 catches for 219 yards. Gregory Edwards has also been a big-play threat with nine catches for 218 yards. Ressler, a senior, was also an all-state basketball player for Bedford last year.

The Bisons are one of just two 3-0 teams in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference along with Central Cambria and control their own destiny in the quest for a league title in a year still holds plenty of uncertainty, especially in regard to the postseason.

It hasn’t just been the football team excelling in Bedford, though. Through early this week, both the boys and girls soccer teams were undefeated and impressive in doing so.

The Lady Bisons won a state title in 2018 and have their eyes on another. Lindsay Mowry, just a junior, recorded her 50th career shutout in goal for Bedford earlier this week. The Lady Bisons already have a 22-0 win over Johnstown and a 17-0 triumph over Bishop McCort under their belts this season.

Making their point(s)

Sticking with Bedford for the moment, Lizzy Martz, a member of of both the girls soccer team and the football team, has made all 12 of her extra point attempts. Martz is one of several female kickers in the region along with West Branch’s Sarah Betts, Richland’s Autumn Facci and Tyrone’s Kendall Markley among others.

Markley’s seven extra points in the Golden Eagles’ win over Huntingdon were the second-most for a Tyrone kicker in a game ever, and when she kicked three extra points in the Golden Eagles’ opener against Bellefonte, she became the first female to score a point for the Tyrone football program.

Tough decisions

Every year it’s a challenge to pick the Altoona Mirror Athletes of the Week each Sunday night, but this season has been especially challenging. It’s great to see so many special performances taking place across the Mirror’s coverage area worthy of recognition.

Especially when a month ago, we didn’t really know if there would be any. Even though only one male and one female can be honored each week, let’s remember to celebrate everything these student athletes are accomplishing despite all the adversity they have faced the past seven months.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com. Follow him on Twitter @BoytimMichael

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