This week’s trivia question: Prior to JHS joining the LHAC in 2001, did the Trojans ever play Penn Cambria?
As you can tell from the above trivia question, this week’s opponent is Penn Cambria. The Panthers are currently
3-6 and going through what most would consider a disappointing season. That being said, I don’t think they are a team
that the Trojans can take lightly in the slightest. This is mainly for two reasons, the first being Ernie Fetzer is one of
the deans of local coaches. You can always count on his teams being ready to play. The other factor is, quite honestly, what
have they got to lose. It doesn’t seem like much, but the difference between a 3-7 season and a 4-6 season can mean
worlds when it comes to off season training and building momentum into the 2008 season. So, without further adieu, let’s
take a look at the 2007 Panthers.
(Note, these stats are only through week seven as they are the most current updated on MaxPreps)
Barking out the signals for PC is Zak Newton and like most quarterbacks in Ernie Fetzer’s teams, he is proficient
at both running and throwing the ball. He’s 25-of-54 for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been picked off three times.
On the ground, Newton has carried the ball 77 times for a team leading 470 yards and four touchdowns.
The most threatening weapon on the PC offense is Bobby Glenn. Glenn is one of the best, most underrated athletes in the
entire conference. His numbers show him as the leading receiver (20 catches, 173 yards, 2 touchdowns) and a co-leader rushing
(46 carries, 281 yards and 4 touchdowns). As we’ll see below, he’s also an integral part of the return game on
Another offensive weapon is Jon Mulhearn who also has 281 yards rushing but on a more workman like 87 carries. Mulhearn
has four touchdowns and is a player that can be called on in a pinch to get tough yards on short yardage situations.
Defensively, the Panthers show the signs of being a takeaway, turnover type of unit. Josh Latterner is the leading tackler
with 70, so he’s averaging 10 a game. John Nagle and Taylor Molnaird share the team lead in sacks with 7 and amazingly
enough, quarterback Newton is second with 6. Nathan Eckenrode and Michael Biglin each have four interceptions.
As we already referenced, Glenn is big on both return games for Coach Fetzer. He has 12 punt returns for 172 yards and
7 kickoff returns for 116 yards. Matt Glenn has handled most of the punting (15 for 461) and Don Wertz handles kickoffs (22
for 1150 and four touchbacks). PC has no stats registered for PAT or field goal attempts.
This is a game that the Trojans should win easily, should they stick to their game plan and remain disciplined. A few keys:
*****On offense, continue to involve the two running back system of Harris and Reed to keep the Panthers’ defense
off balance. This has become a viable alternative to a passing game that may not have gotten off the ground this year. Harris
and Reed can be used as an “inside-outside” combination and as long as they keep advancing the chains, no need
*****Defensively, key on the QB. A few years ago when the Panthers upset the Trojans in Cresson, they were torched by the
quarterback on runs. Shutting the quarterback down on runs will disrupt anything else the Panthers may wish to do on offense.
Also, always know where Glenn is on the field. Fetzer will most likely try to move him around, putting him in different positions
to create mismatches.
*****Special Teams: coverage teams must stay in their lanes, break down and minimize return yardage. Coach Janidlo’s
unit cannot spot the Panthers the short field and lose the field position game. This will be a tough task as Glenn is very
talented in the return game. If things aren’t tight early, Coach Marabito might wish to consider putting some starters
on the units to help win the field position battle.
In conclusion, with the Trojans’ playoff hopes in a slim to none flying pattern, the fact that this is Senior Night
and the last time a lot of guys will play on the turf at Trojan Stadium, expect a lot of emotion on the field, at least early.
Once those butterflies settle, look for the Trojans to separate themselves from the Panthers and win this game with ease.