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Rivalries can’t be interrupted

There’s plenty of buzz this week about the Penn State-Pitt series coming to an end again after it was resumed following a long break four years ago.

Generations seem split on the issue, but that’s just because your perception of the world is based off your life experiences.

For current college students, the teams never played during their formative years and it hasn’t been often that both teams have been competitive at the same time.

Older adults lived on the edge of their seat watching the Nittany Lions and Panthers, knowing bragging results for the next year were on the line.

At the high school level, the same thing can be said for the Altoona-Hollidaysburg football series.

Sure, it’s still an important game to both schools, and it helps that it has served as the opener to both team’s season the last two years. But from my view, the football series doesn’t seem to currently have the same spark that the rivalry has in other sports in which the series was never disrupted.

Before last season, the Mountain Lions and Golden Tigers didn’t meet on the gridiron for six consecutive seasons and only played in two of the previous 11 years.

During that gap, football seasons went on and importance was placed on different things in both programs. Success was not defined by beating your rival, and players, coaches and even teachers at the schools changed.

There wasn’t a Hollidaysburg week at Altoona nor an Altoona week at Hollidaysburg. There was just football season and life went on and people adjusted.

That’s not to say the game isn’t important to people who experienced the rivalry firsthand like current Mountain Lions coach Vince Nedimyer Jr. or to say that it can’t develop into the best rivalry in Blair County again someday.

But for now, with today’s area players, coaches and teachers, a football rivalry like Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis that has never been interrupted isn’t challenged by the Altoona and Hollidaysburg series.

That’s the same reason current Penn State students have Ohio State and Michigan circled on their calendars long before this weekend’s game.

Quick change

A glance at the Mirror’s high school football statistical leaders through three weeks can offer an eye-opening experience by just looking at who is on top.

Bishop Carroll and Penn Cambria struggled to put any kind of passing game together just one season ago, and now Huskies quarterback Hunter Dumm leads the area in passing yardage. The Panthers have the top two receivers, statistically, in Jake Tsikalas and Nick Marinak.

How quickly things can change from year to year.

Silk finds home

One of the bigger off-the-field issues in District 6 took place just outside of the Mirror’s coverage area this offseason.

Kyle Silk, who led United to the District 6 Class 1A championship game last season, transferred to Heritage Conference rival Ligonier Valley.

Silk was ruled ineligible on a 9-8 vote by District 6, and that decision was held up on an appeal to the PIAA.

It appeared as though Silk, a senior, would have to sit out this season before he transferred once again.

Silk, a left-handed dual-threat quarterback, landed at the Kiski School, which is not part of the PIAA. In his first game this past Friday, he led the Saltsburg-based school to a 56-42 triumph over St. James of Hagerstown, Md.

No matter which side you’re on with this topic, it’s good to see the kid get a chance to play his senior year of football.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com or 946-7521

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