Thursday, November 13, 2014

District Six AA Semifinal Outlook: Huntingdon at Tyrone

Huntinngdon (6-5) at Tyrone (10-1)
Saturday 7:00 Grey-Vets Memorial Field 

A long time rivalry gets renewed with a berth to the District Six championship on the line. Huntingdon is in the postseason for the first time since 2010, and they are looking for their championship since 2005. Tyrone is seeking for their first trip to Mansion Park since 2011, the same year they went the whole way to the state championship. 

Huntingdon had an up and down year, and it led them to a 5-5 regular season mark. In a bit of a surprise though, the Bearcats went to third-seeded Juniata last week and upset them in the first round. Huntingdon rode a big performance by their junior running back, Jake Wagner. He rushed for 239 yards on 24 carries for two touchdowns. The Bearcats will need more of the same from him this week against a stout Tyrone defense. He has rushed for 1,183 yards and 18 touchdowns this year, and he is the undoubted star of this offense. To draw pressure away from him, the Cats may need to see some more production from the passing game. Hudson Speck has 6 passing touchdowns his year, and he did miss the Tyrone game in the first meeting. Perhaps his presence can change things this time around. Logan Fisher and Matt Speck are his favorite targets, and they will have to make a few plays to spring the upset. 

The Bearcats' defense had it's moments this year, but they did surrender plenty of points in their five losses. The first meeting with Tyrone saw Huntingdon give up 52 points, and that is not something that can happen again if they wish to pull the upset. Huntingdon does not have the offense to play in that kind of shootout, but they are an improving team. I expect things to be a little closer in this meeting. 

Tyrone is coming off a sound 35-7 win over Forest Hills in round one. The Golden Eagles have combined a balanced offense and a stiffing defense be one of the top teams in the district. This is a program that is very familiar and comfortable playing in these type of games, and beating them at home is no easy task, and that may be one of the biggest advantages they have going into the rematch with Huntingdon. 

The offense for Tyrone starts with the quarterback, Garrett Hunter. He is a senior and a first year starter, but he plays like he has been doing this for years, as he is completing 56% of his passes for 1,518 yards 17 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He was 12 of 16 in the first meeting with Huntingdon, and was 8 of 18 last week against Forest Hills. Hunter has already led them to some big wins this year, and will be ready to handle the big game moment this week.  Another Hunter is a big part of this offense, and that Aleic Hunter, the 5'7" 150 pound running back. Don't let the size fool you, he has rushed for 1,426 yards and 19 touchdowns this season including a 220 yard performance in round one. Tyrone has two pretty good receivers with Nicholas Getz and Silas Crawford, and a tight end that is reliable as well in Duane Boone.  Tyrone is equally comfortable running and throwing the ball, and that is what makes them so hard to defend. 

The Golden Eagles' defense has been on a roll lately. Since the loss to Clearfield, the Golden Eagles have only given up 29 points in their past four games. Tyrone's defense is led by one of the best defensive end duos around these parts. Duane Boone has had a beastly season with 7 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss, while Richard Reader has posted 3.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Elijah Sleeth holds it down as the team's top linebacker. Cameron Baksheshe, Nicholas Getz, and Cullen Raftery form an experienced and athletic secondary.  They will make life difficult on a Huntingdon team that does not pass a whole lot. 

-- The winner of this game advances to the District Six AA Championship, which will be held next Saturday and they will play the winner of Central-Mt. Union.

-- Tyrone is looking for their for their 14th all-time championship appearance. 

-- Tyrone is tied all-time with 8 District Six AA Championships with Forest Hills.

-- Huntingdon is a six time AAA champion, but have not had much success since they have dropped to AA.The Bearcats last championship was in 2005. 

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