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Area football teams prepping for district games

Mirror file photo Hollidaysburg’s Bryce Martellacci and his Tigers get Central Mountain on Saturday in the finals.

Hollidaysburg needed overtime to pick up a victory in its last game, but the Golden Tigers probably appreciate that extra bit of playing time now.

Homer DeLattre’s team has been inactive the past two weeks, including not being able to practice in-person for a short period, but will finally return to the field Saturday when the Tigers play Central Mountain for the District 6 Class 5A title at Mansion Park at 1 p.m.

“We’re going to get three practices in before we play,” DeLattre said. “We’re doing some online meetings and watching a lot of video, which will help prepare us for those days of practice.”

Central Mountain has been able to play all seven weeks of the high school football season and comes into Saturday’s game at 4-3.

“They are very big and have a lot of big linemen,” DeLattre said. “They have some 300-pound kids that are very good. It will be a good challenge for us up front, because they are much bigger than we are.”

Wildcats running back Ryan Pentz has 808 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, and Peyton Johnson has caught 23 passes for 312 yards.

Meanwhile, Hollidaysburg has struggled with consistency on both offense and defense, scoring 19 points per game and allowing 22 during a 3-2 start.

“They run a different defense than we have seen this year, so that can be a challenge facing a different defensive look,” DeLattre said. “They are very much improved, especially up front. Pentz, their running back, is a quality skill guy. They have a good mixture of talent.”

More redemption?

Altoona has already proven it is a much-improved team from a season ago, and now the District 6 Class 6A champions have a chance to show it again when the Mountain Lions travel to Bald Eagle Area to play District 4’s Williamsport on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Millionaires handled Altoona, 31-0, last season in a game that was close at halftime and got away from the Mountain Lions in the second half.

“They are just overall a pretty good football team,” Altoona coach Vince Nedimyer Jr. said. “They have some good down guys and a lot of skill guys that can make plays down the field. Defensively they are pretty sound, and they run around pretty well. We’re going to have to play well, but we’re excited to have the opportunity, and I know the kids are looking forward to it. We’re going to prepare and be ready to go on Friday night.”

Williamsport enters the game at 6-1 behind the arm of quarterback Frankie Morrone. Its only loss came to a Mid-Penn Conference opponent, 41-0 at home against Harrisburg.

Ram tough semifinal

A year ago, Bellwood-Antis nearly upset Ligonier Valley in the District 6 Class 2A semifinals, and though the Blue Devils enter Friday’s game with defending 2A champion Richland as the top seed, they are likely underdogs again.

“Their line is really good, and they move really well and work as one big unit,” B-A coach Nick Lovrich said. “They have some good skill kids including their quarterback, who is a returning starter that throws a really nice ball. They are able to run the football and have a really good receiver, Griffin Larue that can run, catch and jump. He looks very athletic, so they definitely pose some problems for us.”

Richland has been able to hold powerful running games in check all season, but Bedford found success against the Rams with a good mix of the run and pass, something Bellwood-Antis is hoping to do Friday.

B-A passed for a pair of touchdowns in its quarterfinal win over Bald Eagle Area, and quarterback Zach Pellegrine was 11-for-14.

“We have been trying to work on becoming more balanced all season,” Lovrich said. “Our running game has done really well, and I think Zach Pellegrine has come along really well as a quarterback. (Last) Friday night was the best game he’s played all year. He distributed the ball and made some plays with his legs. I thought he did a great job.”

SUBHED: Back to business

Another team that hasn’t seen action in two weeks, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, also returns on Saturday when it travels to Conemaugh Valley for a District 6 Class 1A quarterfinal game.

“They are impressive on film, and their backs definitely have some skill,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler said. “Some of their formations are pretty balanced. They will throw the ball and run it.”

The Marauders will have to slow down Logan Kent, who has 869 yards rushing in just five games for the Blue Jays. Wheeler will be looking to his seniors to lead the way.

“I hope there’s no reason to be concerned, because I think they are hungry and tired of Zoom meetings,” Wheeler said. “They are ready to get back on the field. We have a pretty senior-heavy team, and a lot of these guys have started for a couple years. Hopefully we can get back into it pretty quickly.”

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