Coaches look for week 2 improvement
By Michael Boytim
Hollidaysburg came out on top in last week’s battle between the two biggest schools in Blair County, but the Golden Tigers still have plenty of challenges ahead if they want to have a successful season.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the Altoona game,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said. “We want to make sure we correct those mistakes, which we’ll work on this week and stay focused. Altoona is a big game for us, but our schedule is demanding, and we can’t really look ahead. We have some tough games coming up, and we need to just focus on getting better.”
The Golden Tigers will play at Mifflin County on Friday for the first time since Lewistown and Indian Valley merged to create the school.
The Huskies lost their opener, 35-12, at State College but will be hosting Hollidaysburg in new coach Scot Sechler’s home debut.
“We have great senior leadership,” DeLattre said. “These kids have had 22 to 23 starts now, and we’re pretty confident there won’t be a letdown because of the leadership those guys have given us.”
Though DeLattre said the Golden Tigers made too many mental mistakes against Altoona, he was happy with the progress his team is making.
“We tackled pretty well in space,” DeLattre said. “We protected the football and controlled the line of scrimmage. Those are our three must-dos, and we did those pretty well.”
Look to rebound
Altoona football coach Nick Felus has a vison for his program, and a couple minutes into last Friday’s rivalry game with Hollidaysburg, it seemed like it was all coming together.
The Mountain Lions had a huge crowd on hand, drove right down the field with some explosive plays to take the lead, and then things started to go a bit downhill.
A costly fourth-down turnover just before halftime led to a hole too deep to overcome in a 42-27 loss.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy and executed on offense and defense at first,” Felus said. “The kids were excited and showed positive energy right off the bat. It was really an electric atmosphere.”
Altoona fell victim to several big plays, something it must worry about Friday when Williamsport comes to Mansion Park. The Millionaires pounded Central Mountain, 62-26, last week.
“On defense, we have to tackle better,” Felus said. “We’ll be working on that this week. Offensively, we can be dangerous, but we have to take care of the ball.”
Friday’s game could be another high-scoring affair as Williamsport will bring in Minnesota commit Treyson Potts at running back and star senior quarterback Joe Fagnano.
“Watching Williamsport, you can tell they are a very talented team,” Felus said. “They have Potts coming back from injury and a phenomenal quarterback who throws well and can hurt you with his legs.”
This is the second of four straight games Altoona has at Mansion Park to begin the season.
“It’s important to try and win every game,” Felus said. “The kids are comfortable at home, and the crowd we had Friday was something we haven’t had in a long time.
“Williamsport is another old opponent of ours that should bring in some people and excitement. The kids will be ready to play and excited for a new challenge.”
A new streak?
Though Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic’s current one-game winning streak is much more modest than the 59-game run the Marauders carried through the past four seasons, beating Somerset 17-0 in the season opener on the road still felt pretty good to coach Justin Wheeler.
“The win felt great, because it’s Week 1 starting eight new guys,” Wheeler said. “I’m extremely excited about the way we handled the second half.”
It was that half that the Marauders drove the field to score the first points of the game, used a turnover to score another touchdown and got a field goal from Kolton McGhee, one of the top placekickers in the country.
“I thought Somerset blitzed us a lot in the first half,” Wheeler said. “As the game went on, our guys picked it up. We’ll work on blitz protection in the run and pass game this week.”
The Marauders will open their home schedule against Westmont Hilltop at Mansion Park Saturday night. The Hilltoppers are 0-1 after losing a 14-point lead to Bedford in the final minutes last Saturday.
“They are a dangerous team with 10 starters back,” Wheeler said. “Losing the way they did, they are going to want to rebound against us. We know we have our hands full.”
Bishop Guilfoyle got everything it could handle from Westmont last year in a 13-7 triumph in Johnstown.
“What they do is different. You don’t see it again the rest of the season,” Wheeler said. “It’s difficult, because they have a blocking style and plan where they only run four plays. But they are big up front with a tough back and are willing to settle for 2.5 yards per carry and live with that. It makes them hard to get off the field.”