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2005 Tuesday Trojan Trivia

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #1

Welcome to the first installment of Tuesday Trojan Trivia for 2005. Our first questions will make you go back a few seasons: who was the last regular season opponent of the Trojans that was not a District 5, 6, or 7 team? What was the season? What was the result?

The other part of this daily feature, as you might remember is “a look ahead”. This is where the opponent for Friday’s game is normally handicapped. Although most people dismiss Central as a viable opponent I strongly caution against that. This team isn’t one of the best as far as won-loss figures go but they always play their opponents hard and should not be written off as a walkover as other LHAC squads are (and in those cases usually rightfully so).

Yes, the going has been tough for the Scarlet Dragons since they joined the LHAC but who could forget their late season major upset over a highly talented Bishop McCort team back in 2001. I was leaving the Point Stadium that night following a JHS loss to Forest Hills and my ears were burning when I caught that score on the radio on my way home. Both JHS and Central were struggling through their initial seasons on the LHAC, while McCort was on its way to an 11-3 season that saw its playoff run end against WPIAL and eventual PIAA AA champion Washington. This was probably the biggest upset in the LHAC in the last five years.

But alas, that is all ancient history as the kids playing football this fall would have been in junior high or elementary school when those events were taking place. And although the Trojans have improved more each season in LHAC life the Dragons have pretty much stayed the same.

I won’t offer an official prediction until Friday’s Tale of the Tape but I do believe Johnstown will win. The quirkiness of the LHAC schedule is one reason that will help. I’m not saying that JHS would lose had the game be played in Martinsburg but I just think an upset would be likely if that were the case. The friendly confines of Trojan Stadium, the hype of opening night and just the anticipation of starting another season and facing off against an opponent in a game that counts, rather than a scrimmage, will be too much for Central to overcome.

Jason Subich reported a few weeks ago that the team speed may be better than last year if that’s possible. I don’t think there is a cornerback in the conference that can stop Xavier Thomas on his first move off that quick stop pass that the Trojans have featured in their two scrimmages. Another factor not to sleep on is that Hurricane Katrina is dropping rain on the east coast all week. If conditions are wet Friday, playing on the artificial surface at Trojan Stadium is advantageous for the team speed factor.

So while I think the Dragons should not be overlooked and they will stay close early with JHS, like last year, I see a similar result at the end of four quarters, and we all know that is truly what counts.

So all the work in the weight room, the sweaty August practices at camp, the running , the preparation, it all goes live Friday night!

See you at Trojan Stadium!

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #2

This week’s trivia question is as follows: this current LHAC coach won a District 6 title at Johnstown Vo-Tech. He was a head coach prior to current athletic director and JHS assistant coach Tony Penna taking control at the helm for the Spartans. Who is he?

The “Look Ahead” portion of this week’s feature takes us to Cresson and Penn Cambria. Ernie Fetzer, in his first game as head man in charge of the Panther program, got a 14-0 victory over the school he coached a season ago, Somerset. The Panthers did all their scoring in the first half as they used a bevy of ball carriers (six different ones in the first scoring drive alone) and controlled the ball most of the second half.

According to the highlights on television, PC used two different quarterbacks. The second of which was Luke Tomaselli who scored both the Panther touchdowns which were on the ground. The first quarterback featured was George Klayko who had key passes to keep more than one drive alive including a fourth down conversion on their first scoring drive.

Does this mean we’ll see a two-headed quarterback monster? I don’t know but from reading accounts of the games and the watching the highlights it does appear that one PC QB is more adept at throwing the ball while one is better at running. What I would like to key on is the running game in general whether it be from the running back or quarterback position.

Sure, Somerset is not the same team as JHS is, however, I would rate Penn Cambria as a better squad than Central. The Dragons were able to execute their running game with success against the Trojans so why not Penn Cambria? They appear to have more weapons than Central as Alex Strittmatter, Matt Holsberger and Justin Long were all used in PC’s two scoring drives Friday night. Central for the most part only used their fullback and tailback. Add Tomaselli to the mix and that’s four legit running threats come this Friday night in Cresson.

Another option on offense is milking the clock. The previous regime under Tom Walters attempted this against the Trojans the past two years and although last year’s contest was closer the strategy didn’t work. Why? Because in order for the “kill the clock” style of offense to work you have to score! PC hasn’t score against JHS in the last two contest.

Not to say that Fetzer will deliberately stall like Walters did the past two years, but it does appear that his running game is geared to win on the time of possession side of things. You can’t ask for more than for your team to drive 82 yards in 10 plays as the Panthers did on their initial scoring drive against Somerset.

On the defensive side of the ball, not to dismiss what the Panthers did because they did their job and earned a shutout, I doubt PC faced athletes with half the talent that is on JHS’ offense. With the yards after catch ability of Xavier Thomas and the continued improvement of Brandon Hody I think the Panthers will be preparing for an offense many moons ahead of anything PC could have thrown their way.

As far as coaching goes, anyone who has been around the high school football season in the district in the past 10-20 years knows that NO team coached by Ernie Fetzer can be taken lightly. Although he is asking a group of kids learn new systems, he seems to have a way of getting the best out of every bunch of kids he and his staff coaches. While I think the Trojans will ultimately come out on top and improve to 2-0 it will not be a cupcake type of game as PC has been in the past.

Similar to last week and Central, if PC is allowed to hang around in the game for longer than they should it could be trouble for JHS. As long as the proper adjustments are made on defense, the Trojans should be fine.

The moral is not to take the team lightly, especially after they are coming off a victory after having seniors that have won three games the last two seasons. These guys are hungry and nothing would be sweeter than knocking of the mighty Trojans, the defending 6-AAA champs.

I don’t think Bob Arcurio would let this happen and I expect to see a team a bit more fired up this Friday after a hard week of practice.

See you in Cresson!

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #3

9/13/05

The Trojans narrowly escaped the shutout against Penn Cambria this past Friday night. Can you name the last time JHS was shutout?

The look ahead this week takes us to Price Field and the Westmont Hilltoppers. Westy remains the only LHAC member to play their games on Saturday afternoons rather than the Friday night lights. The last time the Trojans visited Price Field for a matinee it was not pleasant for the Hilltoppers as the Trojans romped them 39-8. That was a very long time ago though and this is definitely a case of a team in a different situation.

Brad Kanuch will get all the attention and rightfully so, he’s a great athlete. However, he’s shown a propensity for fumbling as have the JHS running backs. That being said, Kanuch is not the player that concerns me the most. Look, the guy is going to line up all over the field on offense, he’s going to get his touches and his numbers. The fact of the matter is, he’s not even the leading rusher on the squad. Nick McCloskey actually has more yards (147 yards on 21 carries) than Kanuch (111 yards on 28 carries).

However, the bigger concern I see is wide receiver Max Khuri. Last year, Stan Skowron used this tough nosed, tall receiver very effectively in the second half. He was a big reason the Hilltoppers moved the ball down the field on the Trojans in the second half of last year’s game. So far this year, Khuri has caught 6 balls for 112 yards. Although he only has one score, the possessions he’s made show he has the hands to make the big catch, move the sticks and maintain a drive.

The player delivering the ball is different this year, Joe Ozbold is gone and Paul Vrabel is the 2005 quarterback at Westmont. On the young season, Vrabel, who pretty much played exclusively on defense a year ago, is 14-of-26 for 238 yards. He has one touchdown and has one interception.

So while Kanuch will get the attention he deserves, the Hilltoppers’ offense definitely is no one-trick pony. The Trojans’ suspect defensive backfield didn’t get much of a workout defending the pass, as Penn Cambria only attempted three passes. However, there was enough shown on film in the Central game to show Skowron and his staff that a balanced attack could be successful against the young JHS defense.

On the offensive side of the ball for the Trojans, look for them to improve on the past two performances. Obviously the offensive stat sheet was none too impressive at first glance. Quite frankly, the only stat that matters is points scored by the team at the end of the game. But to look on the positive side of things, even in the loss, Brandon Hody put up decent numbers (11-for-16, 101 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). If the passing game can get back on track and the option is used as nicely as it was in the few series we saw it Friday, JHS could really keep the Hilltoppers’ defense on its heels.

Forest Hills put 30 points on the board against this defense by using a non-traditional running attack as their quarterback Travis Rearick scored thrice on the ground. The option package saw both Xavier Thomas (4 carries, 29 yards) and Hody (1 carry, 18 yards) take snaps and gain yardage as well as a big gain by Antwuan Reed on the pitch on a third quarter drive.

Special Teams can be a strength for the Hilltoppers and could decide a close game. Like Ben Landis for the Trojans, Cameron Pecoraro handles both the punting and placekicking duties for Westy. He is perfect on the year in both PATs (3-for-3) and field goals (2-for-2 with a long of 36). He gets the credit for avoiding the shutout against Forest Hills as his field goal were the lone points the Hilltoppers scored on the Rangers.

As if being in coming off an upset loss isn’t enough here are some more factors to consider. First, this is the first week of section play. It is only going to get tougher in the section following Westmont as games with McCort and Carroll will be plenty tough. Secondly, this game will be televised statewide on tape delay Saturday night on PCN.

I hope the guys that were on this team a year ago recall how well they played against Bishop Carroll on PCN a year ago and bring the wood!

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #4

True or false: this Friday will be the Richland Rams’ first visit to beautiful Trojan Stadium?

The Richland Rams are the Trojans’ opponent this week and although I do expect JHS to get back on the winning track, this will not be the easy win it has been in the past. Richland is a very much improved squad.

Both from watching their first week match up against Forest Hills on TV as well as what sources that were scouting them last Friday at their game against Bishop Carroll I get the clear impression that Brandon Bailey really has this program in the right direction.

Marco Pecora was a nice looking quarterback a year ago as a freshmen and he has nowhere to go but up. He’s put up some nice numbers this year and if he stays healthy, Coach Bailey will have a great four-year starter calling signal, something nearly unheard of even at a Class A school.

Pecora had 10 completions for 170 yards in the Rams’ victory against Cambria Heights. He hooked up with Anthony Rubal 5 times for 104 yards through the air. John Kamzik leads the team in rushing with 119 yards on the ground. It’s apparent that either the Rams are more committed to the pass or that opposing teams have been able to stop them on the run (or both) thus far this year.

The shaky play of the Trojans’ secondary is one reason for concern going up against the Rams. The front four linemen, along with blitzing linebackers will need to get ample pressure on Pecora in order to help out the secondary as much as possible. The defense had to make some changes on the fly this past Saturday as Jimmy Volocko went down with an injury in the first half. He is expected to be able to practice sometime this week but whether or not he will get the start is questionable. Another question mark is at safety where Xavier Thomas did not play a lot in the second half. Whether that was performance based or just the coaches wanting him fresh for offense is not known.

This all being said, if the Trojans can stop the run like they’ve shown they can at times, and force the Rams in to a game where they will have to throw the ball the majority of the time, JHS can disrupt a lot of what Richland will like to do with a strong pass rush. The defense has to do a better job of getting off the field on third down. They allowed some big plays to keep drives going and the clock rolling the past two weeks.

Richland’s defense has been opportunistic to this point of the season despite the 1-2 record. They have 6 quarterback sacks, 4 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries. Therefore, the margin of error for turnovers must be very small come Friday night at Trojan Stadium. This means high percentage pass plays to Xavier and Coleman as well as effective running of the veer series that was mixed up pretty nicely Saturday can get the job done. Fumble exchanges on the handoff as well as fumbles in the open field just cannot happen. Richland is feeling good about themselves and primed to play giant killer. And right now in the state of the LHAC and they way the good teams are playing, JHS is the team that could most likely get knocked off by a Richland.

Balance on offense will be key. A year ago, the game at Richland was one of the first contest in which the Trojans showed a great balance as opposed to depending on LaRod for so much. There were some nice Carosi to Xavier hookups including a long touchdown. A similar successful balance will lead the Trojans to victory. (And hopefully our lights will stay on for the entire contest!)

Hopefully the Trojans won’t need to punt often but if they do, Ben Landis will be ready. He has been doing an outstanding job punting thus far this year. Unfortunately he hasn’t had too many chances for PATs since the first week of the season. We’ll look for this to change Friday night. The bad snap was probably a one-time fluke thing and I’m sure that has been cleared up this week. On the return side of the ball I look for Myron Coleman to return one big for the Trojans this week, possibly for a score. The coverage teams need to just keep on keeping on as they have done an adequate job on kickoffs and punts.

The Trojans really need the next two games to boost their confidence. Despite showing good performances the past two weeks in the second half, they need to put the complete game together and get the “W” because that truly is all that matters.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #5

What local coaching legend spent a four-year stint as head coach of this week’s opponent Somerset from 1998-2001?

Next up for the Trojans are the Golden Eagles of Somerset, coached by first-year man Steve Costea. So far this year the Golden Eagles have been outscored 136-12. Truthfully, from what has been seen of this team they could be 0-9 this year.

This being said, Bob Arcurio will by no means take this or anything at all lightly the rest of the year, especially if the team wants to defend its district championship. The Somerset game is important for Johnstown this year just as it has been the past few years. Why? Because of the 100 points earned for beating the only AAA team on its schedule. The other five schools in the 6-AAA have a clear advantage by playing more AAA and even some AAAA teams while Johnstown and Somerset only have each other.

So next order of business is taking care of Somerset in the same, if not a more convincing fashion. One look at the statistics and it’s pretty easy to see why the Golden Eagles have the record they do at this point of the season. Statistics through three games show Vince Pollock as the leading rusher with 103 yards on 21 carries for a 4.91 average.

Josh Barron appears to be the Eagles lone multi-purpose threat as he has 67 yards on 7 carries for a 9.57 average. He also has 4 catches for 64 yards and 1 TD. That is a 16 yard per catch average. Pollock has caught three passes for 17 yards and Zach Deist has caught two passes for 46 yards.

Playing from behind most of the time, it’s no surprise that Somerset goes to the air more than the ground as QB Jordan Kaufman is 12-of-40 for 167 yards and 1 TD. He has been picked off three times this year. He also has 66 yards rushing, probably scrambling when protection breaks down.

If Johnstown’s front four can apply the pressure they did a week ago against Richland it could be another long night for the Eagles’ QB and another great night for the defense’s stat sheet on the sack column. Somerset will no doubt have to employ quick three-step drops in order to have proper time to pass.

Defensively for the Golden Eagles, John Heiple, Luke Miller, Barron and Deist lead the team in tackles but this is a team that has been outscored 136-12 so that probably isn’t much to brag on. The past two weeks McCort and Westy have put big numbers up on this defense. Those two teams have a lot of athletic kids on their clubs and J-town is no different. Although you may not see Brad Kanuch-type numbers as it will probably be more of a team effort but on the offensive side of the ball look for Reed to put some nice numbers up rushing and Xavier, Coleman and Hody to put some big numbers up through the air. I can see Myron Coleman scoring his first touchdown as a Trojan Friday night. Whether that will be on offense or special teams is yet to be determined.

One mention of note is the Somerset special teams, mainly the kickoff return game. Although it’s plausible to say that the numbers are padded as they have been down big in games and had the ball kicked off to them a lot, there are some good averages and that is something that both Ben Landis and the coverage teams could be wise to watch. Josh Walters has six kickoffs for 97 yards and Josey Jano has five for 86. If Landis can continue to kick deep and the coverage teams stay in their lanes the Trojans should be able to keep Eagles’ starting field position to around the 20 or even better.

Like I mentioned, this is a huge opportunity for the Trojans to gain some much needed points in the playoff table. They truly are the better team and so long the coaching staff and players are all on the same page, it really should be an easy victory come Friday.

Coach Arcurio and the staff did everything right in the week leading up to a Richland team that really couldn’t be taken as lightly as they probably have in the past. If offense, defense and special teams are all focused and amped it should be a long time for Somerset.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #6

Trivia Question: True or false, last year was the first time the Trojans beat this week's opponent Bishop Carroll since they joined the LHAC?

This week the Trojans will play again at Penn Cambria but this time they will take on Bishop Carroll. Previously the Trojans played the Huskies at Central Cambria for road games but BC is splitting time between Ebensburg and Cresson for home games this season.

Bishop Carroll's offense is one of the more explosive in all of the LHAC. They are running strictly out of shotgun this season but have still been able to get Paul Forcellini the big time numbers from the running back spot. Brock Lauer is at the controls from his quarterback spot. Through the first four games Forcellini had 1000 all-purpose yards, 626 rushing, 48 receiving, 271 on returns and 55 from interceptions on defense. He is without a doubt the best pure running back in the conference. I know, I know, Brad Kanuch is faster but Forcellini is the entire package.

When the Huskies throw the ball Lauer has been impressive. Through the first four BC games he was 30-for-49 with 385 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs. His favorite target has been Adam Crookshank (7 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD). Forcellini and Nick McMahon have also caught TD passes.

The Husky defense has given up points this year but they also have done well in the turnover/takeaway department. They have 7 INTs including 4 from Forcellini who is also the team's leading tackler. BC also has 3 fumble recoveries. So, although Richland showed that you can be somewhat successful passing the ball against them, you have to be careful and execute high percentage plays or they will make you pay. I could see bootleg and play action being a big part of the JHS game plan come Friday night but the run will have to be set up in order for that to work. The veer, belly series could also make a comeback as Coach Arcurio may want to use some of his speed burners on the corner rather than try and challenge BC up the middle where they appear to be strongest.

BC has sacked the quarterback nine times this year and are lead in that department by, guess who?, Paul Forcellini with 4. With a quick defense like BC's I could see JHS going to the quicker passes that take less time to develop. The deep ball can only be successful if, like we mentioned earlier, a running game is established. Coach seems to be getting fullback Andre Morrison involved more with running the ball as of late and there could be a nice inside/outside rhythm established between him and Antwuan Reed.

On the Special Teams note, BC has used three different kickers on PATs and is 7-of-11 on the season. Mike Hegemann is 4-of-6, Pat Hegemann is 3-of-3 and Noah Creany is 0-for-2. No field goals have been made. Brock Lauer handles the punting duties. Out of 15 punts, his long is 34. He has 508 yards and 2 of his punts have been downed inside the 20. The fake is always a threat when your quarterback doubles as the punter so the Trojan punt return team will have to be aware.

Last week, Ben Landis was rushed so his punting wasn't quite as good as previous week's but he still did well. On the year he's booted 10 punts for 431 yards with a long of 57. His kickoffs have been good as he averages around 45 yards and has a couple touchbacks. Landis is 13-of-15 on extra points but has yet to attempt a field goal. He could be called upon in a tight game to come through with 3 points.

Special teams can play a big part in this game, a missed extra point could be the difference between a win or a tie and overtime. The Trojans learned this lesson the hard way back in 2003 with the when Landis, then a freshmen, missed a PAT and the final score was 7-6. However, there was a lot more wrong with that game and a missed extra point was not the sole reason for the loss.

BC came up big by blocking a Domonkos PAT in overtime to beat the Crushers and they could do it again. The line will have to keep pressure from coming up the middle as there will be no gimme points in this game.

One last item of note, beyond all the statistics there is the revenge factor. The Huskies that played in last year's game remember how embarrassing it was to get totally blown out, on the road, on live television across the state on PCN a year ago. It was the same feeling the Trojan players no doubt had going in to that game a year ago, still bitter about that highly controversial 2003 match up. Coach Sponsky, his staff and all the returning players are going to want to settle the score.

I just hope that it is a good, clean game. Both sides need to respect one another and go out and play sound, solid football and leave the poor sportsmanship, personal fouls, etc off the field. Make no mistake about it, these two teams have no love lost for one another but that doesn't mean dirty tactics should be involved.

Regardless of who wins, the scoreboard should be the only one doing the talking. Personally, I'd love to see the Trojans get a victory on Penn Cambria's field this year and since they weren't able to get the job done against the Panthers, why not take it out on the Huskies.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

What local coaching legend spent a four-year stint as head coach of this week’s opponent Somerset from 1998-2001?

Next up for the Trojans are the Golden Eagles of Somerset, coached by first-year man Steve Costea. So far this year the Golden Eagles have been outscored 136-12. Truthfully, from what has been seen of this team they could be 0-9 this year.

This being said, Bob Arcurio will by no means take this or anything at all lightly the rest of the year, especially if the team wants to defend its district championship. The Somerset game is important for Johnstown this year just as it has been the past few years. Why? Because of the 100 points earned for beating the only AAA team on its schedule. The other five schools in the 6-AAA have a clear advantage by playing more AAA and even some AAAA teams while Johnstown and Somerset only have each other.

So next order of business is taking care of Somerset in the same, if not a more convincing fashion. One look at the statistics and it’s pretty easy to see why the Golden Eagles have the record they do at this point of the season. Statistics through three games show Vince Pollock as the leading rusher with 103 yards on 21 carries for a 4.91 average.

Josh Barron appears to be the Eagles lone multi-purpose threat as he has 67 yards on 7 carries for a 9.57 average. He also has 4 catches for 64 yards and 1 TD. That is a 16 yard per catch average. Pollock has caught three passes for 17 yards and Zach Deist has caught two passes for 46 yards.

Playing from behind most of the time, it’s no surprise that Somerset goes to the air more than the ground as QB Jordan Kaufman is 12-of-40 for 167 yards and 1 TD. He has been picked off three times this year. He also has 66 yards rushing, probably scrambling when protection breaks down.

If Johnstown’s front four can apply the pressure they did a week ago against Richland it could be another long night for the Eagles’ QB and another great night for the defense’s stat sheet on the sack column. Somerset will no doubt have to employ quick three-step drops in order to have proper time to pass.

Defensively for the Golden Eagles, John Heiple, Luke Miller, Barron and Deist lead the team in tackles but this is a team that has been outscored 136-12 so that probably isn’t much to brag on. The past two weeks McCort and Westy have put big numbers up on this defense. Those two teams have a lot of athletic kids on their clubs and J-town is no different. Although you may not see Brad Kanuch-type numbers as it will probably be more of a team effort but on the offensive side of the ball look for Reed to put some nice numbers up rushing and Xavier, Coleman and Hody to put some big numbers up through the air. I can see Myron Coleman scoring his first touchdown as a Trojan Friday night. Whether that will be on offense or special teams is yet to be determined.

One mention of note is the Somerset special teams, mainly the kickoff return game. Although it’s plausible to say that the numbers are padded as they have been down big in games and had the ball kicked off to them a lot, there are some good averages and that is something that both Ben Landis and the coverage teams could be wise to watch. Josh Walters has six kickoffs for 97 yards and Josey Jano has five for 86. If Landis can continue to kick deep and the coverage teams stay in their lanes the Trojans should be able to keep Eagles’ starting field position to around the 20 or even better.

Like I mentioned, this is a huge opportunity for the Trojans to gain some much needed points in the playoff table. They truly are the better team and so long the coaching staff and players are all on the same page, it really should be an easy victory come Friday.

Coach Arcurio and the staff did everything right in the week leading up to a Richland team that really couldn’t be taken as lightly as they probably have in the past. If offense, defense and special teams are all focused and amped it should be a long time for Somerset.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #7

True or false: since the Trojans have joined the LHAC in 2001, they have not beaten the Bishop McCort Crushers in any games that have been played at Point Stadium?

As everyone knows, Trojan Stadium will be rocking this Friday night as homecoming night will be upon us and the city rivalry game between two schools that are a stone’s throw away from each other will go down. Obviously there is no love lost between these two schools. Sure the coaches will say the right things and give off the sense of there being a mutual respect between the two but make no mistake about it, this is a game circled on the calendar by all parties involved and is a must win.

When the Crushers have the ball you’ll see something that has been the norm since Frank Krevetski was at McCort: many different backs getting involved in the offense. Through the first five games this year, McCort has gotten three backs involved heavily. Brad Barbin has been the workhorse of the group, carrying the ball 71 times for 385 yards. Frank Rizzo has 28 carries for 222 yards and Scott Lewis has 215 yards on 20 carries. Seven different Crushers have scored rushing touchdowns this year, Barbin having the most with 5, Rizzo has 3 and Josh Kubinsky and Mike Sheridan have 2 each.

Sheridan is the quarterback and has gotten done both through the air and on the ground so far this year. He looked sharp last year as a junior and has done well this year. He is 29-for-49 with 296 yards and 5 touchdowns. While he doesn’t necessarily pile up the big yardage, he is consistent in the short passing game. His favorite target far and away this year has been Matt Spangler who has hauled in 21 passes for 208 yards and four touchdowns.

Although this could spell trouble for a secondary that has shown some weaknesses this year, one positive note for JHS is Sheridan’s propensity to throw the pick as he had 6 INTs through the first five games this season. Antwuan Reed has been the opportunistic leader of the Trojan defense this year, picking off two passes, taking one to the house and also had a pick six called back by a penalty last week.

On defense, the Crushers are led by Zach Terchanik who has 26 total tackles and 3 sacks. The Trojans’ offensive line will have to continue to give Brandon Hody good protection because not only can the Crushers pressure the QB (6 sacks) but they also are opportunistic picking off 4 opponents’ passes as well as recovering an astounding 7 forced fumbles.

Offensive execution for the Trojans’ will need to be flawless and the mix of run and pass will be needed to keep this strong unit off balance. The Trojans ran the ball successfully against Bishop Carroll as Reed got another 100 yard game. He will need to continue to contribute those types of numbers to keep opposing defenses honest and to help the Trojans set up the pass. Xavier Thomas is far and away the leader of the WR corp with 24 catches for 402 yards and 6 TDs but look for Jason Andrews, Demetrius Young and Myron Coleman to all be involved in the passing game come Friday night.

When you talk Crushers’ Special Teams the conversation has to start with placekicker Marc Domonkos. He’s handling both the punting and kicking duties, like JHS’ Ben Landis and although he’s having a less than stellar start in the field goal department (1-for-3, 28 yards) he’s continued to be the weapon we’ve grown accustomed to him being for McCort as he’s 18-of-19 in PATs and has 10 touchbacks on kickoffs. That is such a weapon because as you know, a kickoff in the end zone cannot be brought out for a return, it is an automatic touchback. What a great way to neutralize a team with such talent on kickoff returns than to not let them even attempt the runback.

Of 13 punts, Domonkos has pinned 2 inside the 20 and has a long of 52. Barbin and Pat Lebda handle the return game for the Crushers. Barbin has 2 KRs and 3 PRs for 30 and 49 yards respectively. Lebda has been the leader with 6 PRs for 91 yards and 4 KRs for 69 yards.

For JHS Landis hasn’t attempted a FG yet this year but has only missed one attempt on PATs in 14 tries. He also has 2 touchbacks of his own on kickoffs and is averaging nearly 44 yards each time off the tee. Punting has been where Ben has shone this year, he has 17 punts for 566 yards and an average of 33.29. That average has been hurt the past two weeks as the protection has forced him to rush a few kicks.

This is truly a game where the field position and big play capabilities of these two teams could really be the vital difference in this game. Special Teams will be that all important third of the game. Adonis Jackson has returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns this year. Look for him to be limited on kick return chances. Also look for Ken Salem to have Domonkos kick out of bounds and not give him or Reed any chance at big return yardage this Friday.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

 

 

 

 

Trivia Question: True or false, last year was the first time the Trojans beat this week's opponent Bishop Carroll since they joined the LHAC?

This week the Trojans will play again at Penn Cambria but this time they will take on Bishop Carroll. Previously the Trojans played the Huskies at Central Cambria for road games but BC is splitting time between Ebensburg and Cresson for home games this season.

Bishop Carroll's offense is one of the more explosive in all of the LHAC. They are running strictly out of shotgun this season but have still been able to get Paul Forcellini the big time numbers from the running back spot. Brock Lauer is at the controls from his quarterback spot. Through the first four games Forcellini had 1000 all-purpose yards, 626 rushing, 48 receiving, 271 on returns and 55 from interceptions on defense. He is without a doubt the best pure running back in the conference. I know, I know, Brad Kanuch is faster but Forcellini is the entire package.

When the Huskies throw the ball Lauer has been impressive. Through the first four BC games he was 30-for-49 with 385 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs. His favorite target has been Adam Crookshank (7 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD). Forcellini and Nick McMahon have also caught TD passes.

The Husky defense has given up points this year but they also have done well in the turnover/takeaway department. They have 7 INTs including 4 from Forcellini who is also the team's leading tackler. BC also has 3 fumble recoveries. So, although Richland showed that you can be somewhat successful passing the ball against them, you have to be careful and execute high percentage plays or they will make you pay. I could see bootleg and play action being a big part of the JHS game plan come Friday night but the run will have to be set up in order for that to work. The veer, belly series could also make a comeback as Coach Arcurio may want to use some of his speed burners on the corner rather than try and challenge BC up the middle where they appear to be strongest.

BC has sacked the quarterback nine times this year and are lead in that department by, guess who?, Paul Forcellini with 4. With a quick defense like BC's I could see JHS going to the quicker passes that take less time to develop. The deep ball can only be successful if, like we mentioned earlier, a running game is established. Coach seems to be getting fullback Andre Morrison involved more with running the ball as of late and there could be a nice inside/outside rhythm established between him and Antwuan Reed.

On the Special Teams note, BC has used three different kickers on PATs and is 7-of-11 on the season. Mike Hegemann is 4-of-6, Pat Hegemann is 3-of-3 and Noah Creany is 0-for-2. No field goals have been made. Brock Lauer handles the punting duties. Out of 15 punts, his long is 34. He has 508 yards and 2 of his punts have been downed inside the 20. The fake is always a threat when your quarterback doubles as the punter so the Trojan punt return team will have to be aware.

Last week, Ben Landis was rushed so his punting wasn't quite as good as previous week's but he still did well. On the year he's booted 10 punts for 431 yards with a long of 57. His kickoffs have been good as he averages around 45 yards and has a couple touchbacks. Landis is 13-of-15 on extra points but has yet to attempt a field goal. He could be called upon in a tight game to come through with 3 points.

Special teams can play a big part in this game, a missed extra point could be the difference between a win or a tie and overtime. The Trojans learned this lesson the hard way back in 2003 with the when Landis, then a freshmen, missed a PAT and the final score was 7-6. However, there was a lot more wrong with that game and a missed extra point was not the sole reason for the loss.

BC came up big by blocking a Domonkos PAT in overtime to beat the Crushers and they could do it again. The line will have to keep pressure from coming up the middle as there will be no gimme points in this game.

One last item of note, beyond all the statistics there is the revenge factor. The Huskies that played in last year's game remember how embarrassing it was to get totally blown out, on the road, on live television across the state on PCN a year ago. It was the same feeling the Trojan players no doubt had going in to that game a year ago, still bitter about that highly controversial 2003 match up. Coach Sponsky, his staff and all the returning players are going to want to settle the score.

I just hope that it is a good, clean game. Both sides need to respect one another and go out and play sound, solid football and leave the poor sportsmanship, personal fouls, etc off the field. Make no mistake about it, these two teams have no love lost for one another but that doesn't mean dirty tactics should be involved.

Regardless of who wins, the scoreboard should be the only one doing the talking. Personally, I'd love to see the Trojans get a victory on Penn Cambria's field this year and since they weren't able to get the job done against the Panthers, why not take it out on the Huskies.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #8

This week’s trivia question involves this week’s opponent. Central Cambria was JHS’ first opponent upon entering the LHAC in 2001, what was the result of that contest?

To reiterate what has been said about this game against Central Cambria being a must win would be an understatement so let’s get down to business and break down the Red Devils.

On paper this is not a very good football team. At week eight they stand with a 2-5 record and their wins have come against sub par competition in Cambria Heights and Somerset, two teams with a combined 0-14 record. Against common competition, they lost to McCort and Penn Cambria like the Trojans but they are coming off a loss to Central, who was JHS’ first win of the season back in week one.

Offensively for the Red Devils, Cory Kendera has taken the bulk of the snaps. He is 27-of-56 for 313 yards. He has only 1 TD and has been picked off 2 times. Justin Davidson is just about his only target according to the numbers. Davidson has 21 receptions for 247 yards and 1 TD. It appears that the Red Devils like to keep the ball on the ground as Steve Makin has 812 yards on 120 carries and 8 TDs. Michael Damin has also carried the ball 60 times for 411 yards and 3 scores. Kendera has two rushing touchdowns from under center. His 13 yards on 13 carries suggest a lot of QB sneaks.

One would think the Trojans’ defense could shut this attack down. One that only could muster a touchdown against Central. Although Westy’s bevy of RBs put up some big numbers you must remember they were on big plays. JHS has shown the ability to shut down the traditional run game at times this year. Although Paul Forcellini was hampered with injuries, but the Trojans shut him down two years in a row. A heavy blitz package on passing downs could shut down this offense and if JHS takes the approach like they did with Richland they should be in good shape.

Defensively for CC, Makin and Damin lead the way with 66 and 52 tackles respectively. Mitch Blackwell has 7 sacks this year so the Trojan offensive line will have to execute pass protection with precision to give Hody the proper amount of time. The breakdowns at the end of the McCort game when Hody only had time to one pass off and was sacked the other three downs was not acceptable.

The ball hawk on the Red Devil defense has been Devin Gittings has 2 picks for 80 yards in returns. As a unit they have 6 INTs and 5 fumble recoveries. If the Trojans can establish the run early in this game, I could see them not having to throw as much. Controlling the clock will be key to the Trojans’ game plan this week.

In Special Teams, the Red Devils appear to have a solid kicking game. Dan Brown is 19-for-20 in PATs and 4-for-4 in field goals with a long of 32 on the season. In the return game Corey Faish and Makin have the bulk of the kick return yardage (217 and 175). The team only has four punt returns on the year. What’s that tell you?

My thoughts are that this should be an easy victory, however, the players and staff have no time to think like that. They must prepare for this game and this opponent as they did with Richland. It will only be the blowout it should be if that similar effort is in effect. If a performance like they played the first half of the Somerset game it could be closer than it should be.

The past two weeks have been losses but they have not been because of lack of focus. With the playoffs on the line, expect a complete, four quarter effort and a “W” come Friday night around 9:30.

For the seniors on this year’s squad, it will be their last regular season home game at Trojan Stadium. Guys like Xavier Thomas who played a lot at quarterback that first season at Trojan Stadium, have helped build this new house. I can’t see a loss in their cards. I can’t see them going out like that.

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #9

Trivia time: what happened the last time Bedford and Johnstown faced each other?

Although both Bedford and Johnstown have clinched playoff spots and both are in different sections, so a sectional title isn’t up for grabs, don’t think for one second that Bob Arcruio and Wes Swaim aren’t taking this game seriously. For JHS, a win could mean the difference between a 3 or a 4 seed, for the Bisons it could be the difference in whether they host their first round game or play it on the road.

Even though they are non-section opponents there is a little to go on as far as common opponents. Both teams lost to Westmont in games played at Price Field. Both teams also lost to McCort at home. Both teams have beaten Central Cambria, Central and Somerset. The only difference in the two teams in common opponents is Penn Cambria, JHS lost to them while Bedford was able to beat the Panthers.

On the offensive side of the ball for the Bisons they have another well diversified attack this year, just with some new faces. Kyler Ford, who made some clutches kicks a year ago and still handles those duties, has taken over the quarterback duties from the graduated Troy Harris. Ford is 46-of-72 for 784 yards through seven games. He has thrown 6 touchdowns and has been picked off 8 times. Ford has also carried the ball 71 times for 388 yards and 2 scores, good enough for third best rusher on the squad.

Coach Swaim distributes the ball pretty evenly on the ground. John Marshall has 43 carries for 412 yards and 5 scores. Jesse Feaster has 388 yards on 38 carries and 2 scores. Cory Miller has scored 3 rushing touchdowns and gained 267 yards on 53 carries.

Through the air Marshall has 17 receptions for 336 yards and 3 scores while Derrick Harris has caught 12 balls for 260 yards and 2 touches. Feaster has also contributed well in the passing game with 14 catches for 169 yards.

With a balanced attack like this, JHS’ defense will have to get great penetration from the front four to disrupt either the run or the pass. A disciplined effort could disrupt many of the things Bedford likes to do. One thing to beware of could be the option. Bedford has showed this look in the past and they have the skill players to run the attack. When the QB has the most carries on the ground, you’re either looking at a team with option ability, or a team in short yardage situations a lot and finds itself sneaking.

Dave Hyatt looks like the leader on the Bedford defense. He has 97 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery through seven games. Trevin Kensinger has 77 tackles while Marshall and Harris have both picked off a couple of passes. If Brandon Hody is to have success through the air, the offensive line will have to account for Monroe Hickey as he has 10 sacks on the season.

If the Trojans can put together a solid, team effort like they did a week ago, they should have a fantastic shot at beating the Bisons. This Bedford team looked less than impressive in a loss to Westmont, yet beat a very good Forest Hills team. They are tough team to figure out but one thing is for sure, a night without bad penalties and near perfect execution will be needed.

The Special Teams coverage units will need to pay attention to Harris and Marshall on the punt returns (155 and 96 yards respectively) and Marshall and Feaster (161,105) on kickoffs. If Ben Landis keeps his great punting performance up and gives the coverage unit the hang time to get down to field there should be no worries. Directional kicking will continue on kickoffs hopefully this will help out that unit who, at times has given up too much yardage.

Ford is 0-for-5 on FG attempts and 17-for-22 on PATs. He also handles the punting duties but has only been called upon to punt eight times this year. Landis has yet to attempt a FG but don’t think the coaching staff doesn’t have confidence in him, it’s just that the chance hasn’t come up in a game yet. This could be a close game that could come down to made or missed PAT or FG. Landis has been much more consistent on PATs than Ford.

Tuesday Trojan Trivia #10

We'll keep the trivia question related to our opponent this week, Bellefonte. Last year, the Trojans beat the Red Raiders in the 6-AAA championship game at Mansion Park, prior to that had these two teams ever met IN PLAYOFF ACTION?

First of all, make NO mistake about it, the Bellefonte Red Raiders have not forgotten how their 2004 season ended. It is one thing to lose in a district championship game but to get totally dominated the way they did against Johnstown last year at Mansion Park is a hard pill to swallow. Any player that was on that team a year ago still has that taste in their mouth. Coach Tom Gravish and his staff have that taste in their mouth. This team was been thinking about the chance for a rematch with Johnstown, probably since football camp opened.

I have followed this Red Raider team from afar while writing for my SW PA Football Blog on PennLive and QB Chris Snare and RB Josh Gentzel have been the story this year. When these two young men have had big games, Bellefonte won easily. This team relies on the run a bit more than the pass. Gentzel has 1,169 yards on 157 carries and 16 TDs through the first nine games of the season. Snare has rushed the ball 97 times for 637 yards and has scored 6 times on the ground. When the Red Raiders have opted to go through the air, Snare is a very efficient 40-of-67 for 601 yards (59.7%). Has both 7 TDs and 7 INTs and his favorite target appears to be Nate Carson who has caught 20 balls for 386 yards and 5 TDs. Zach Robbins has chipped with 10 catches, 14 yards and Snare's other two TD tosses.

So, aside from a higher than normal INT/TD ratio, it seems that when Coach Gravish opts to put the ball in the air the attack is pretty accurate. They may not throw a lot but they throw enough.

Here is a look at Bellefonte's schedule and results this year:

Punxsutawney Win 37-0

Philipsburg Osceola Win 13-6

Huntingdon Win 21-13

Clearfield Win 40-34

Indian Valley Win 41-12

Tyrone Loss 6-41

Lewistown Win 28-0

Penns Valley Win 49-21

Bald Eagle Area Win 34-12

Although they boast an 8-1 record, it could be argued that they aren't a very impressive 8-1. The loss to Tyrone, absolutely no shame in that. That Golden Eagles team would have its way with ANY LHAC team this year. That being said the record of the eight teams they beat is a combined 24-48. Only Huntingdon (7-2) Clearfield and Lewistown (both 5-4) have winning records. The Red Raiders have outscored their opponents 269-139.

I do not bring these numbers and opinions up to knock Bellefonte. Their team has been great all year long. I only bring it up to show that while they are 8-1 and Johnstown is a lowly 4-5, this may be a more evenly matched game than some might think. While the Trojans have been pretty inconsistent this year, I think I would like the current squad's chances against the likes of Punxsy, Philipsburg Osceola, Indian Valley, Penns Valley and Bald Eagle Area this year. On the flip side, take Bishop McCort, Bishop Carroll and Bedford, well, I would like their chances against Bellefonte this year.

This all being said, this has to be the time for JHS to get things together if they want to make a serious bid at defending their 6-AAA title. The team is 4-5 and quite honestly, they don't have a quality win. None of the four teams they beat qualified for the playoffs or even finished close to .500 ball. Do I think Bellefonte could look past JHS? Probably not, especially after what I mentioned in the second paragraph of this article. However, there is the chance of them getting overconfident and possibly thinking they will have an easy time with JHS. Aside from some of Tyrone's big guns, no one Bellefonte faced has the team speed and athletic ability of Johnstown.

But athletic ability and speed alone don't get it done, as we've seen with this year's JHS squad.

I think this will be a close game. Who do I think will win...????

Come on, you know you have to come back Friday for Tale of the Tape to get that info!!!

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.

 

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