Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Morning QB: Week One


-- A lot of hype surrounded the Bishop Guilfoyle during the off-season, and they finally got to show people what it was all about on Friday.  Richland is clearly not what they were last year, but for the Marauders to go and dominate as they did by winning 61-12 is still impressive.  The two guys that we have all been talking about put on a show. Brandon Chadbourn played like he was one of the best players in the state, and Sam McCloskey matched his productivity as well. They will host Westmont this week, and I think they could see even less resistance than Richland gave them. It will be all about staying focused and not getting too far ahead of themselves throughout this season. 

-- Forest Hills went in and took care of business Saturday night against Bishop McCort by winning 35-0. The Rangers have two stars to match Guilfoyle's and Shareef Blough looked real good this weekend. Blough is such a weapon, and he can match anyone in this league with play-making ability.  Joe Donoughe actually turned in a big performance on defense, but the quarterback still looked solid on offense, he just didn't have to make too man throws.  Forest Hills hosts Somerset Friday, and that is one of the games of the year in the LHAC.  It should be a real interesting game to see, and see how those two teams picked towards the top measure up against one another. 

-- Speaking of Somerset, they really took it to Bishop Carroll.  A lot of talk about BC this off-season was that they were big and physical, but Somerset just owned them on Friday and that is very impressive.  Dylan Barnes is just going to keep getting better as the year goes on, and he is one of the real exciting quarterbacks in this league. Obviously heading into Friday night, Somerset has to know this one won't be nearly as easy.  The Golden Eagles will be up to the task for sure, and I just really think it is going to be an excellent football game. 

-- Bedford won, but not convincingly as some of the other favorites in this league.  Bedford had such a good ground game last year, and to see them only hit 138 yards is a little concerning, but give Penn Cambria credit, they are supposed to have a good defense.  Bedford's rushing game may have not been dominant, but Austin Montgomery really put up some numbers throwing the ball. Montgomery and his top receiver, Zach Shaffer really seem to have a good connection. Traveling to Central Cambria Friday night is going to be a really tough game with Central Cambria fighting desperately not to fall to 0-2.

-- The Johnstown and Central Cambria game was good, and it lived up to the expectations. Johnstown won by two scores, and it was one of their better wins in recent memory after two dreadful 3-8 campaigns.  The numbers matched up well on paper, the big difference though, was the big plays.  Johnstown has multiple guys that can turn in a big play anytime they touch it.  I think the biggest development this season for Johnstown is the improvement of Terrell Jones and the running game.  If Johnstown can continue to get 100 yard efforts from him, that is a a lot less pressure on the passing game.  Central Cambria never got Will Seymour going on the ground, and that hurts them. He's a dual threat guy, and when he is held to only 21 yards, that's not a good sign, Johnstown has two very winnable games on the horizon, they need to stay focused and not overlook Bishop Carroll. Central Cambria will have a very competitive game with Bedford, and that's one to keep an eye on heading into Friday. 

-- How about Westmont?  The Hilltoppers get coach Pat Barron his first win after a winless 2013 campaign.  Westmont will have a very difficult time against Guilfoyle, but it's great to see that losing streak out of the way.  It has been difficult to sustain success at Westmont with all of their coaching changes through the years, it would be nice to see him stick around and bring them back to the playoffs. Westmont had some really good teams in the late 90's and early 2000's, and maybe Barron can get them back there someday.  

-- As far as the other teams go, it's back to the drawing board. Richland has talent, and breaking in 20 new starters against Guilfoyle was not ideal, they'll get better.  McCort may have a tough time this year, we'll see where Davitch has up his sleeve.  Cambria Heights and McCort play Friday night in an intriguing game.  Bishop Carroll also needs to figure out some things on offense, and new coach Joe Ridgely will be challenged with that task.  


-- Some thought Berlin and Shade would be a good game, and it was for the most part. Berlin didn't dominate or blow them out entirely, but it definitely was a sound victory. Braden Fochtman turned in a solid 172 yard rushing game, and his prolific numbers keep going up each and every game.  Berlin ushered in a new quarterback and Brentson Harding turned in a 3-12 output and threw two picks, however he did score two touchdowns on the ground. Berlin isn't much of a throwing team in general, but Harding will need to limit turnovers moving forward this year. Shade just couldn't seem to get things going on offense, but I still think they have a good team. The Panthers have an easier task this week with Conemaugh Valley. Berlin heads up the road to Davidsville in what should be a spirited game with an upstart Conemaugh Township team. 

-- Conemaugh Township got to play spoiler in a big alumni night in Windber, and I'm sure it didn't bother the Indians one bit.  Township rode Austin Myers for 247 yards, and he could be one of the breakout players of the 2014 season.  Windber could have got discouraged with the big 21 deficit, but they showed a lot of fight by shutting out Township in the second half, and scoring two times to make it close.  Jared Maurizio ran hard, and he will do a good job being the new featured player on offense. Windber heads to Ferndale Saturday with a good chance to even their record to 1-1. 

--  What a disaster for the Meyersdale and Ferndale game, but those kind of things happen.  You would like to see more competitive games, but Ferndale has a small roster with inexperience and Meyersdale is a playoff caliber team. I doubt anyone was running it up, sometimes these kind of things happen.  I hope Ferndale can improve as the season moves on, and more importantly I hope they stay healthy. Meyersdale heads to Blacklick Valley this week, while Ferndale hosts Windber at the Hive. 

-- Portage went in and did what a preseason favorite should do, and that's win in an impressive fashion. Much like Guilfoyle in the LHAC, Portage rode their horses, well Mustangs, to an easy win. Kephart and Dividock both made the D6SN preseason impact player list, and they didn't disappoint. Kephart went for 262 all purpose yards, and Dividock 10 yards a carry.  Blacklick Valley was thought to be having a rebuilding year, and it showed in week one.  They have a few young running backs that are exciting, so they may be able to turn things around when not facing a team like Portage.

-- North Star and Conemaugh Valley met Saturday with North Star coming away with 33-18 victory.  I know its only a game with Valley, but a lot of people are still unsure of North Star, but they came out and moved the ball on offense. North Star's Stephen Mort had a 200 yard passing day, and the return of Shawn Costas proved to be a good one.  He eclipsed the 100 yard mark on the ground. The Jays showed some fight, but they will be in for a tall order on Friday by traveling to Shade.  North Star has an even more difficult game with Portage.


-- There were some predictions out there that Bellwood would get blown out by Tyrone. They didn't have the talent, the depth, size, athletes whatever to compete with their arch rivals. So in typical Bellwood fashion, they came out and threw the first punch to Tyrone, and it landed. Bellwood was up 14-0 before Tyrone even knew what happened. Bellwood even had a big drive to get into the redzone at the end of the game, but failed to convert and lost 18-14. The Blue Devils aren't down this year, they will be in the ICC and District 6 A race all year long. Still, quick turn around for a big game with Moshannon Valley this week.

-- Trevon Walker was 9-12 passing the ball for 226 yards and 5 touchdowns, and that pretty much sums up all you need to know about Mt. Union's opener.  The Trojans have a great passing attack, and they can put up points in a hurry. Defenses won't like facing this team at all. They will take their high-flying show down to Juniata Valley this week. 

-- Northern Bedford began life after Blake Over and Kyler Diehl and the promise of a new and improved running game came into being. Austin Heck and Elias Brailler helped the Panthers rack up 247 yards on the ground. The Panthers still need to find a way to get Jacob Dasher involved more as the season progresses.  NBC hosts Tussey Mountain in the Backyard Brawl on Friday, big test for the Panthers. 

-- Everett went into a big test with Chestnut Ridge and hung around early against the heavily favored Lions, before eventually falling 31-13. The Warriors have what it takes to be a good team this year, and I think they will be a team that it will all click at once. Chestbut Ridge is a solid team, they're going to be tough to take down this season with Matt Wiley and company.
-- Southern Huntington got off on the right foot with a 28-18 win over Juniata Valley. The Rockets were 1-9 last year, so this is a positive outcome for them. 

-- West Branch also broke off a losing streak, and they now sit at 1-0 after an 0-10 2013. The Warriors have a small roster, and it's nice to see them off to a good start. Like most teams, you just hope they stay healthy and remain competitive. Obviously they can play, but the number of guys on the sidelines is always in the back of your mind. They have a second straight road game Friday as the travel to Claysburg. 

-- Tussey had a rough go at it with Central.  That was a tough opening game, but some thought it would be closer than 34-12.  The Titans' quarterback, Quinn Barnett, had a tough game by only completing 3 passes for 22 yards, and he had over 1,500 yards last season. I would say that stat is a little alarming, and the offense as a whole needs to get better. A big one with Northern Bedford awaits Friday. 

-- Moshannon Valley has a nice team, and some were worried about their early season schedule.  Those worries went away with an easy 27-7 win over Bald Eagle. Although everything gets much more difficult starting Friday at Bellwood, then Tussey and Mt. Union in the following weeks. Nothing easy for the Black Knights, but fortunately they are 1-0. 

-- Williamsburg started in a big way with a 33-20 win over Claysburg.  The Pirates have a nice team, and a good offense.  They could surprise some people this year. They go to Southern Huntingdon Friday.  Claysburg will look to rebound against West Branch. 

-- Glendale fell to Northern Bedford 20-6 last week, and will be traveling to Everett this week. The offense needs a way to get going this week.

-- Juniata Valley has been so good over the past few years, but starting with a loss to Southern Huntingdon is not a good sign.  Bill Musser and company will have their hands full trying to slow down Mt. Union Friday. 


-- Northern Cambria had a strong 15-12 win over Ligonier to open another stretch of the Frank Paronish era. The Colts were one of those teams that many thought would sit in the middle of the pack in the Heritage, but with a chance to climb into the top discussion. Opening the year with a win over a pretty good Ligonier team is a nice start. On the other hand, Ligonier struggled in this one, and turnovers cost them. Collin Smith is a talented kid, but 4 interceptions is not going to help your team win games.  I think LV has a chance to be a good team and I think Smith has the chance to be really good too, just need to limit mistakes like that. The Rams have to go to Purchase Line this week in a tough road contest, NC hosts Penns Manor in another big early-season test. 

-- Homer Center picked up right where they left off last year with a 39-21 win over Penns Manor. Many thought the Wildcats would struggle this season, but through one week that does not appear to be the case.  Ean Lee and Aaron Berezansky dominated on the ground, and I think that will be their game plan all year long.  Homer will head over to Saltsburg this week.  Penns Manor defense obviously did not look good, as they gave up nearly 40 in week one. Bill Packer's squad will need to sure things up on that side of the ball.  This is a young team with only 5 seniors, so they will be leaning on their junior class quite a bit. 

-- Saltsburg was on the wrong end of a beatdown, but they had a front row seat to the Grant Syster show. SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS.  We knew Syster was good, but he may be better than we all thought. Saltsburg gets the defending champs, Homer Center, this week and Purchase Line hosts Ligonier. 

-- Blairsville took down Westinghouse in a non-conference game.  The Bobcats are the league favorites, and they took care of business on the road in week one even without Deion Robinson.  They get Marion Center this week who is 1-0 after defeating United. Some think United can be better this season, and that's a tough way to start. It will be the Lions' turn to step out of the league and play St. Joesph's Catholic Academy this week. 


-- Tyrone winning the Backyard Brawl is the biggest headline of the Mountain League this week. Tyrone is breaking in a new coach, and some players in big roles. While they do have high expectations, they are inexperienced in some spots.  I don't think Tyrone was ever going to blow out Bellwood, but I thought they would pull away more than they did. It's a rivalry, it happens. They need to be on their game this week with a trip to Central.

-- Oh yeah...Central, they're still good,  Even after losing all those great players, it seems like they have re-tooled. Mike Mock and Noah Benton aren't Cunningham/Moore yet, but they are going to be big time players for them this season.  Tyrone coming to town is always an exciting game, and it will be a packed house. 

-- Huntingdon was humbled a bit by Mt. Union, they aren't a bad team, it was a matter of Mt. Union just being better.  The Bearcats will get better, Hudson Speck is a nice QB. 

-- Penns Valley, Bellefonte, Bald Eagle, and Philipsburg all came out with disappointing losses to non-conference teams. They will all look to right the ship this week. Penns Valley will take on a very good Clearfield team, Bellefonte and Huntingdon will meet up, and Bald Eagle will travel to Philipsburg for a game.  There is clearly a big drop after Central, Tyrone, and Clearfield and the league, and there is probably a playoff spot for the taking in the D6AA race. 

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