The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Greater Johnstown

September 7, 2012

Friday night preview: It's rivalry week for Bishop McCort, Forest Hills

JOHNSTOWN — As Forest Hills football coach Don Bailey put it, the rivalry between his Rangers and Bishop McCort has “been good since the early 1980s.”

Sure, the proximity between the two schools helps and no doubt some get caught up in the whole public vs. private debate, but the main reason for the intensity is simple.

“Generally, (Bishop McCort) is always good and we’re pretty good most of the time too,” Bailey said.

Both teams produced good results in Week 1.

Forest Hills opened its Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference schedule with a thorough 44-0 victory at home against Westmont. The new-look Rangers, who returned only three starters on each side of the football from last year, showcased an exceptionally balanced offense, led by running back Shawn Dell, who rushed for 169 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Dell received ample room to run behind an offensive line with five new starters.

“They were strong up front on both sides of the football,” said Bishop McCort coach Kevin Sheridan. “They made no mistakes and controlled the football. They have the ability to capitalize on mistakes year after year.

“This is two good programs matched up against one another. Forest Hills has been a measuring stick for programs around the area for years. They play football the way it’s meant to be played.”

Bishop McCort played a strong brand of football during the second half of its opener against Bishop Carroll at DeGol Field on the St. Francis campus. Zaine Tomkowski threw three touchdown passes to Jordan Spangler in a 38-18 victory.

“We made a series of mistakes and there’s opportunity for growth,” Sheridan said. “As the game wore on, our level of execution was better.”

Like most games, this one figures to be won along the line of scrimmage, and that’s where these two teams differ, at least in terms of experience.

Forest Hills fields an inexperienced offensive line, while several of Bishop McCort’s top returning players like Gap Barbin and Charlie Kleman are linemen.

“Our line did outstanding (against Westmont) especially for all the inexperience, and I think we’re going to be a big-play team,” Bailey said. “Our linemen have to hold their own. Bishop McCort is very big and very athletic. We’ll see how they do.”

The Crushers lost 27-7 last year in Sidman.

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