Keeping the faith in week 2
It’s often said that positivity is at its highest in the preseason when every team is 0-0.
But, after reviewing each team’s Week 1 results from the Mirror’s coverage area, there’s certainly a reason for every team, even the ones that experienced lopsided losses, to feel good about themselves.
Six teams gave up at least 35 points in losses — Altoona, Tyrone, Penn Cambria, Claysburg-Kimmel, Northern Bedford and Moshannon Valley.
Mountain Lions coach Vince Nedimyer Jr. showed that his system of running the ball and stopping the run can work. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until the second half in Altoona’s loss to Hollidaysburg, but even Golden Tigers coach Homer DeLattre expressed frustration that his team couldn’t put much together after the half.
The Golden Eagles got an explosive performance from Damon Gripp, who caught six passes for 100 yards, and Tommy Hicks showed versatility as a running back who could throw the ball out of the Wildcat formation.
Nick Felus may have lost his debut at Penn Cambria, 42-6, but he also may have found his quarterback for the next four years. Garrett Harrold, just a freshman, impressed many and threw for nearly 200 yards. Jacob Tsikalas, last year’s quarterback, led the area with nine catches in the game.
The Bulldogs took one on the chin in their opener against Tussey Mountain, a game that was expected to go down to the wire. But C-K has proven players that will have time to turn things around before the playoffs, and it’s hard to imagine a repeat of Friday’s debacle.
Both the Black Panthers and Black Knights ran the ball extremely well against competition in higher classes, including an eye-popping 458 yards on the ground by Moshannon Valley. The Knights have a good chance to approach those numbers again this week against a West Branch team that allowed 224 yards on the ground to Philipsburg-Osceola.
Speaking of the Mounties, they matched their season win total from a year ago with a dominating Week 1 win over the Warriors. In addition to that, they gained another home game when Bald Eagle Area’s Alumni Stadium wasn’t ready to host tonight’s game.
Other teams that struggled last season like Bishop Carroll and Williamsburg also had encouraging efforts.
The Huskies shut out Carrick and have an excellent chance to improve to 2-0 this week against a Fairfield team that lost to Penns Valley, 77-0, last week.
The Blue Pirates were in a position to win their game against Glendale in the second half and scored 14 points. It took Williamsburg six games to reach that point total during last year’s 0-10 campaign.
Eleven teams — Carroll, Bishop Guilfoyle, Huntingdon, Northern Cambria, Portage, Cambria Heights, Tussey Mountain, Juniata Valley, Central Cambria, Chestnut Ridge and Bedford, held their opponents to single-digit points.
And best of all, no matter how bad things went in the first week, the worst any squad can be at this point is one win from a .500 team.
Michael Boytim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 946-7521