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2004 Tuesday Trojan Trivia

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #5

9/28/04

Alright trivia heads, in order to earn you wedge piece in this week’s Trojan Nation version of Trivial Pursuit (board game ready when the online store comes out!!!) you have to give me the correct answer to this question: Windber High School was at one time a major Trojan rival, many years playing their grudge match in front of a packed house at the Point Stadium on Thanksgiving Day. Our question this week: when was the last year JHS and Windber played each other and what was the result?

Now, on this week’s business and the opponent at hand: the Golden Eagles of Somerset High School. They are coached by Ernie Fetzer. His track record speaks for itself so there is always that possibility of being “out coached” when you are dealing with a seasoned veteran like he is. He won a District 6 championship with Vo-Tech “back in the day” and had many successful seasons with Westmont.

That old foe came back to bite over the weekend as the Golden Eagles are coming off a loss to Westmont at Price Field. Turnovers hurt Somerset and probably kept them from at least having a chance to win the game. Westmont held Josh Simmons to only 43 yards on the ground but the all-purpose back had 5 catches for 100 yards from quarterback Brian Sherbine.

Even in the shutout of Richland, the Trojans pass-defense looked suspect as it has all year. This could prove to be the game plan for Somerset as teams that have not been able to run the ball that well against JHS go to the air and exploit the weakness. The Trojans appear to have stayed with their man-to-man coverage scheme in the secondary. They may want to think about adjusting to some zone coverage, at the least to get some pressure off of freshman Antwuan Reed.

Conversely, on the offensive side of the ball for JHS they should no doubt look to continue to pass the ball. Carosi and the passing game have gotten better each week and the Trojans really need to take advantage of the nice weather while they can. LaRod will become more important as the Trojans get deeper in the fall and have to deal with cold, rain and snow (hopefully!). Offensive coordinator Brian Wright seems to be getting more confident with his receivers and he should. They have improved immensely since week one.

Although this game will not be the Trojan blowout it has been in the past, JHS should still win easily. We will say JHS by 14.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #6

10/5/04

First, let’s get the Tuesday Trivia Question out of the way. How was the only team to beat the Trojans during the 1991 regular season?

Now, on to the look ahead. A good friend of mine e-mailed me after reading my Saturday Game Report over the weekend. My last paragraph was questioned regarding the verbiage “their first true test”. How can this be? Johnstown already lost a game so weren’t’ they already tested? Well, yes and no. In boring, cliché “coach speak” every game, no matter how weak the opponent, is a test. Anyway, the question is a valid one so let me explain.

I am chalking the Westmont loss up to one of those “Any Given Friday” (or Saturday in this case) things. I truly believe that if JHS and Westy played nine more times, the Trojans would come out on top each time. There was a letdown. Perhaps the Trojans were a bit overconfident going into the game. One could blame this, yet again, on the weak LHAC. Lopsided wins against Cambria Heights and Central could have your team easily sitting at 2-0 and falsely boost their ego.

Bishop Carroll is a different story. They are a strong football team that seem to reload each year after losing key guys to graduation. QB Joel Takacs and RB Paul Forcellini are the catalysts in Coach Craig Sponsky’s option attack. Brad Kanuch is a quality tailback but Forcellini is among the district’s elite at the position (along with LaRod and Berlin’s Eric D’Carrion in that category.)

At the risk of getting ahead of myself, I honestly believe that McCort will be the Bishop that gives JHS more trouble this year. Ken Salem’s squad barely lost to Bishop Carroll and are much improved from the squad that JHS beat 14-9 a year ago.

This will be the year JHS finally scores a victory against the Huskies. As we will detail later in the week in our “Tale of Tape” piece, the Trojans have not won against Bishop Carroll since their entry in to the LHAC. Also, there are many players on the team this year that remember that stinging 7-6 loss a year ago at Central Cambria Stadium.

This will be the Huskies first visit to Trojan Stadium to face JHS, although they are not strangers with the surroundings. They played tenant Bishop McCort there already. They will be ready for the hostile environment. On top of that, it will be JHS’ homecoming so there will be the added atmosphere. It will be an electric night indeed.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #7

10/12/04

You get an easy one this week in the trivia department. Bishop McCort is such a big game, we at Trojan Nation cannot use valuable preparation time in thinking of a hard question! What Class of ‘93 grad is currently playing in the CFL for the BC Lions and all pace to break the single season CFL record in receiving yards?

Now, let’s get down to business. By far, the big rivalry for JHS is Bishop McCort. Sure the Trojans’ games with Forest Hills and Bishop Carroll garner a lot of attention, it is the city rivalry that has the bragging rights. Especially since the teams began playing each other with some regularity. There were some sporadic games in the 70s and 90s, but the advent of JHS playing in the LHAC, and being in the same section, has allowed this rivalry to continue and flourish.

Truthfully, over the past few weeks, McCort is the “Bishop” that I have been most concerned with. They came within inches of at least forcing overtime against Bishop Carroll. They destroyed a Westmont team that beat JHS earlier this year. The Crushers have pretty much taken it to everyone they have faced. It is an athletic team that probably matches up better with Johnstown than any other team in the LHAC does. I expected JHS to beat Bishop Carroll, although not as badly as they did. This McCort game will be a barn-burner, perhaps going to overtime.

Johnstown and Bishop McCort are also the most balanced teams offensively in the conference, hence their success. Both have great running backs, although Shawn Lewis is nowhere near the back LaRod Stephens is. Both have better than average passing games; Devin Carosi leading the Trojans’ attack while Mike Sheridan leads the Crushers. Both have stingy defenses; the Crushers have allowed a LHAC-low 62 points, JHS is second giving up only 65.

And then there is the dynamic of Johnstown playing an away game at their home stadium. Believe me, as part of a JHS team that had to play the Crushers at the Point Stadium on the visiting sideline, that is a very odd variable indeed. Although back in ‘92, Josh Constable and Jeff Sotosky ran the option at will and could have beaten us Fichner Field for what it’s worth! I do not think the venue had much to do in that case. Besides, the Point is cavernous. Even on the home sideline, the bleachers are removed far enough that the intimacy just is not there. Trojan Stadium is a far superior venue for high school football so even on the visiting sideline, there still will be a crowd atmosphere that can act as a 12th man.

There also is the story of tickets. Rumors have been around for weeks that there is funny business as far as to the amount of tickets JHS fans will be allotted. There has not been any substance to any of this yet, but I would advise fans to get to the stadium early in order to avoid getting shut out. An e-mail to Bishop McCort Athletic Director Fran Zima on this and another topic has not been answered at the time this article was published on the web. (I also wanted to ask Crushers Coach Ken Salem why he felt the need to still be passing when he was up 42-7 in the second half against Westmont. Yes, I realize there were backups in but the etiquette is you still run the ball. Hey Coach, methinks you might want to save some of those touchdowns for Johnstown, eh?!)

All that aside, the “Battle for the City” should be a good one, probably the good one we thought Bishop Carroll would have given us. Look, I would not mind at all for another blowout but I do not think that is going to happen. Also, keep in mind, Bishop McCort still remembers that 14-9 loss a year ago. The ambiance of the inaugural Trojan Stadium game will not be there, but a festive atmosphere will be present. That game last year was closer than it had to be. Poor clock management gave Bishop McCort the ball deep in their own territory with very little time left and no timeouts, but they still had a chance to get a long play and win the game. Recalling how close they truly were will be something in the back of every Crushers mind as the teams line up Friday night.

Get their early and cheer on the Trojans often!

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #8

10/19/04

This week’s trivia: In 1995 the PIAA adopted overtime rules similar to college football, thus making ties an obsolete statistic. What was the last tie game JHS played in? What year and who was it against?

I honestly pondered simply putting the trivia question on this week, thinking that the Tale of the Tape would do but I really should not slack so I will post an abbreviated column.

I really hope Penn Cambria does not try to stall on offense like they did last year. If I have said it once, I have said a thousand times, that does not work if you cannot score. What did the Panthers have to show for it last year? Zero points.

This honestly is not a game for the casual observer. Only parents could possibly want to travel to Cresson on a cold fall evening to watch the Trojans probably win by 40 in an uncompetitive game that will feature a running clock in the second half. LaRod will probably have 200 yards in the first half.

JHS will be looking to take out their frustrations from the McCort game on a far inferior opponent. The Panthers managed to score 14 points against Forest Hills last week, although that was late in the game. (And by the way, Forest Hills scored 54). Games like these, against teams like Cambria Heights and Richland really exploit the weaknesses of the LHAC.

The gap between the haves and the have nots is huge. Sure there is an even balance among teams at the top. For instance, Bishop Carroll beat Bishop McCort. Bishop McCort beat Johnstown. Johnstown beat Bishop Carroll. Westmont beat Johnstown. You get the point. You really do not have to have a set nine game schedule against all conference opponents. It would be neat to have Altoona back on the schedule for Johnstown. Indiana would be a good local game to get back but would be hard to schedule with the Indians being that they are in the WPIAL. District 9 Punxsutawney is also a game that could return to the schedule. Even Class A Windber, who was once a huge Trojan rival, would be better for local interest. All of those games interest me more than Richland, Penn Cambria or Cambria Heights. It is a shame that the current conference set up makes these types of match ups impossible.

The Panthers are 1-6 and will be 1-7 after Friday night. The Trojans might not even have to pass the ball in this game. They will roll easily and improve to 6-2. It is too bad Penn Cambria is not a Class AAA school anymore because the extra points in the playoffs standings would be nice to have to pad the lead the currently enjoy.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #9

10/26/04

This week’s Trojan Trivia is somewhat of an abstract question: when was the last teacher’s strike in the Greater Johnstown School District that adversely affected football results?

The Trojans close out their regular season this Friday night at Trojan Stadium against the Central Cambria Red Devils. Senior Night will be anything but easy for the JHS. They will love, however, to get back on their home turf. The fast track surely benefit’s the speedy Trojans and playing on another surface like the one in Cresson could be detrimental to their post-season hopes. (Just ask Steve Breaston about playing on a muddy field in Hershey and how it affected the state title hopes of Woodland Hills a few years ago.)

Central Cambria improved to 5-3 with their 28-6 victory over Somerset a week ago. Although one could argue that the Trojans got the easier part of Section I for their non-section schedule (and they would be successful as I would rather play Central, Cambria Heights and Penn Cambria than Forest Hills or Bedford at this point of the season) beating the Red Devils will be no easy task.

They feature the area’s most prolific passer in Matt Mesaros. Against Somerset, he had 203 yards and one touchdown through the air on 12-of-21 passing. Derek Natcher was Mesaros’ favorite target last Friday, hitting him for 112 yards receiving and one touchdown.

The Red Devils have the best passing game in the LHAC and this may not bode well for the Trojans. Anyone who has seen them in action this year would probably say that the pass defense of this team is its weak point. It played pivotal roles in both JHS losses to date. Westmont was pretty much able to pass at will on second half against Johnstown and Bishop McCort hit key completions on their game winning drive. Even in the blowout of Richland, freshmen Rams’ QB Marco Pecora through some nice passes. If these holes are not patched up, this could not only cost JHS the game against Central Cambria, but it sets them up to be even more exposed then they already are for District playoff action. Believe me, after this week Huntingdon will be getting its passing game in check during practice as will Central Mountain and Bellefonte.

As far as the playoffs and the Red Devils, they are firmly in the seventh of eight playoff berths in the District 5-6 AA bracket but would love to win this game as some insurance. JHS is in first place but needs the win more. With Huntingdon in second place and playing 1-7 Glen Mills they will most likely get the bonus points of beating a Class AAAA opponent. JHS has a slim 90 point lead in the District 6-AAA table so they really need this game more.

We will see how they go about business on Friday night.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #10

11/2/04

For this week’s question, we’ll keep it a little more recent: Who scored the last touchdown in the last home game the Trojans played at Point Stadium ever?

Well, it’s playoff time! It really does not get much better than this. I really hope that the Johnstown community realizes how lucky they are and comes out to support this team on Friday night. I can tell you this much, there are a lot of empty bleachers on the visitors’ sideline that could be filled. So if you are able to, come on out and cheer on the Trojans.

This is the third year in a row the Trojans have advanced to the District 6-AAA playoffs and the second year in a row that they will host a first round game. So yet another school gets to see first hand what a beautiful facility Trojan Stadium truly is. I saw a couple of Central Mountain coaches scouting at the Central Cambria game and they probably already have the scoop. This is not one of those facilities that will embarrass you when you watch a highlights package on television.

Now for a little background on Central Mountain. They started playing football in 1999 after the merger of the former Lock Haven and Bald Eagle Nittany High Schools. This is their first season at Class AAA, previously they had competed with Altoona, State College and Hollidaysburg in the District 6-AAAA bracket. Central Mountain played an independent schedule this year and below are their results:

DuBois, 0-35, Loss

Lakeland, 10-21, Loss

Erie Central, 50-14, Win

Red Land, 31-7, Win

Williamsport, 28-41, Loss

Indian Valley, 31-7, Win

Manheim Central, 7-43, Loss

Cedar Cliff, 30-43, Loss

Jersey Shore, 42-20, Win

As can be seen, the Wildcats are 4-5 and not only that but it is an unimpressive 4-5 as the combined records of the teams they have beaten are 6-30 and they did not be one team that finished the 2004 season with more than two wins.

Senior running backs John Kaluzny and Doug Nyman lead the Wildcat rushing attack. Kaluzny has gained 670 yards on 79 carries and scored 2 touchdowns while Nyman has gained 470 yards on 62 carries and has scored 6 times. Junior Blake Barth and sophomore Kyle Turchetta have split time at quarterback. Barth is 30-for-58 for 609 yards and 8 touchdowns; Turchetta is 27-for-64 for 474 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior Frank Probst is the leading Wildcat receiver with 18 catches for 414 yards and 6 touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior Steve Brown, senior Doug Nyman and Kaluzny lead the Wildcats with 66, 63 and 62 total tackles respectively. Probst has 4 interceptions as a defensive back while Nyman’s 2 ½ sacks lead the club.

The Wildcats’ special teams are led by Kaluzny who handles the punting duties. He sports a 32.6 average and has a long of 46 yards. Junior Kyle Miller is the placekicker. He is 27-for-29 on extra points and 4-for-5 on field goals with a long of 30 yards.

The Wildcats have been outscored 231-229 by their opponents thus far this season.

Happy Election Day, vote early and often!

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #11

11/9/04

This week’s trivia question: what Division 1-A school did early 80s Trojan standout Joe Greenwood attend?

Last week in this very column I mentioned how lucky and fortunate the Johnstown community was to have a team like this advancing in the playoffs and how special a home playoff game is. Some schools have to wait many years for just one and we have had one two years in a row. Nevertheless, not many of you responded as reports told me that the crowd was rather weak in comparison to other crowds this year. I doubt if the school keeps records but I would guess that attendance was pretty solid this year at Trojan Stadium. Why then, would you attend all the regular season games but not show for a home playoff? I guess you all just took Central Mountain as lightly as I did and figured you pack the car for a better game in Altoona next week.

For the second year in a row the Trojans have advanced to the District 6-AAA finals although this year is different. JHS is clearly the favorite going in to Friday’s game with Bellefonte. The Trojans are 8-2 and coming of a first round shutout victory while the Red Raiders improved to 6-4 with their 28-14 win over Huntingdon. Bellefonte plays in the Seven Mountains Division of the Inter County Conference, which is the large classification division of the two division conference. All the teams in that division are Class AAA. Below are the results of Bellefonte’s year-to-date schedule:

Punxsutawney, 20-28, Loss

Philipsburg Osceola, 22-25, Loss

Huntingdon, 25-20, Win

Clearfield, 14-49, Loss

Indian Valley, 34-12, Win

Tyrone, 13-35, Loss

Lewistown, 35-18, Win

Penns Valley, 42-0, Win

Bald Eagle Area, 35-14, Win

Huntingdon, 28-14, Win

 

Although I believe the Trojans will beat Bellefonte it wouldn’t be a total shocker if the Red Raiders did win. One thing is certain: Bellefonte plays a much tougher schedule than Johnstown. Aside from the loss to Punxsutawney back in week one, the Red Raiders other 3 losses all came from quality opponents which are all in post-season play. Clearfield is 9-0 and has been ranked in the top ten of Class AAA teams in the state. Philipsburg Osceola and Tyrone are both 9-1and still alive, playing each other this weekend in the District 5-6 AA semifinals.

Bellefonte’s offense is led by two guys named Josh. Running back Josh Jones had 231 yards on 34 carries while quarterback Josh Mundy had two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the playoff win against Huntingdon. These two young men have paced the squad all year on the offensive side of the ball.

The Red Raiders have outscored their opponents 267-215.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia and “A Look Ahead” #12

11/16/04

This week’s trivia question is playoff related: prior to the Trojans joining the LHAC they did have a brief appearance as a member of District 6. What year did they play in the District 6 playoffs, who did they play and what was the result?

Well, I’m going to take a day off in talking about the “neutral” site although don’t worry, I have plenty of fodder to fill up two “Bullet Points” columns! Check back tomorrow for more rhetoric on that topic. As for now, I’m going to stick to the game plan and the game itself.

Selinsgrove are the District 4-AAA champions and deservedly so. They will, without a doubt be the toughest opponent the Trojans have faced this far. They have played a far better schedule than Johnstown in what appears to be a tougher conference. They have scored 40 or more points 6 times and their lone loss is to perennial Class AAA power Berwick who are also still alive in the PIAA playoffs.

Below are the results of Selinsgrove’s schedule:

Danville, 42-0, Win

Jersey Shore, 54-0, Win

Shikellamy, 46-0, Win

Milton, 38-12, Win

Berwick, 7-34, Loss

Mifflinburg, 48-0, Win

Lebanon, 48-6, Win

Shamokin, 31-13, Win

Montoursville, 26-14 Win

Mount Carmel, 31-13, Win

Shikellamy, 48-12, Win

Although the Trojans may be able to run on the Seals with some success, they have yet to face a passing game quite this good. Seals QB Derek Pope is 123-for-199 passing on the season with 1,930 yards and 20 touchdowns. His favorite target is Ryan Shuck, who has caught 55 balls for 970 yards and 13 scores. Jason Lauver leads the ground game with 465 yards and 7 touchdowns. He rushed for over 100 yards in the District championship game.

The Seals’ run a 3-5 set on defense and are lead by Bill Moore (77 total tackles) and Mike Lengel (76 total tackles and 4 sacks). Ryan Hentzelman handles the kicking duties and is a pretty good one. He is 44-for-50 on PATs this year and 5-for-9 on field goal attempts with a long of 36.

This one has the potential of being a high scoring, back-and-forth affair. I just hope it’s not a repeat of the Pitt-Notre Dame game this past weekend. I don’t know if my heart can take another game like that!

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of variables between the two teams that can be compared as far as common opponents. The only one we really were able to find was that the Seals first pre-season scrimmage was against Bellefonte and the Red Raiders were able to throw the ball well in the first drive. If the Bellefonte passing game looked anything like it did Friday in Mansion Park the Trojan passing game might be able to exploit some weaknesses. It does not bode well to place a lot of confidence in this though. The first scrimmage is not a very good barometer of how a team will play. Remember how average Bedford looked against Johnstown in those two teams first scrimmage? The Bisons were the lone LHAC undefeated squad.

The Trojans’ pass defense has definitely made strides since the scorching it got from the hands of Westmont. They are not all-state caliber by any stretch of the imagination but Reg Farrior is a very good athlete that has proved he can make plays on defense. JHS’ secondary will be tested like they have not yet been this year come Saturday at Selinsgrove.

Doug Keklak can be reached at trojannation@yahoo.com.

 

 

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