Thursday, November 13, 2014

District Five Class A Semifinal Outlook: Meyersdale at Tussey Mountain

Meyersdale (9-2) at Tussey Mountain (9-2)
Saturday 7:00 Tussey Mountain High School


Meyersdale easily dispatched Everett last week by a score of 27-0. The Red Raiders look to continue their push to the district final on Saturday as they travel to take on the defending champion, Tussey Mountain. Meyersdale has seemingly recovered from their late season two game losing streak, and they now resemble the team that started out 6-0.

The Red Raiders survived last week without starting quarterback, Connor Christner. They received big plays from the running game, and the defense stiffened up in a big way.  The offense is paced by running back, Jason Ritchey. He is a tough runner that sets up the passing game. Riley Christner made some plays at quarterback filling in for his brother. Cole Clark is an electric player that is always in the middle of making big plays.  The story for Meyersdale is likely their defense, though. They have pitched five shutouts this year, and they have been clicking since the Portage loss. It all starts with their hard-nosed defensive line led by Tim Garlitz and Justin Dunmeyer. They will be tasked with slowing down a very tough Tussey Mountain offense. 

Tussey Mountain is coming off a thrashing of Windber in round one. The Titans hung 62 on the Ramblers, and it was another impressive performance for the defending champs. They will look to make it back to the district final again to defend their championship.

Tussey Mountain has a balanced offense with plenty of experience back from last year's run. Quinn Barnett does not have ridiculous stats, but he is a winner and he is a reliable QB. Barnett's record is 20-5 as the starting Tussey quarterback in two years and he is just a junior. Barnett has thrown a touchdown in each of the past 8 games with 15 total on the year.  Daniel Taylor, Chris Wentz, and Drew Sitch form a potent trio running the football that has combined for 37 rushing touchdowns this year. Overall, the running game averages 317 yards a contest and it is difficult to key on one player, and that's what makes it so effective. The Tussey Mountain defense has taken a step back this year, and it has forced the offense to win in some shootouts. The offense can make up for it, but it could cost them in a big game against a tough Meyersdale team. 

(Helmets courtesy of  PA Helmet Project)

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