The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

October 3, 2013

MIKE MASTOVICH | Berlin's Fochtman rushing into lead

JOHNSTOWN — Braden Fochtman always seems to be in a rush on the football field.

How else do you explain his area-best 1,042 rushing yards through five weeks of the scholastic season?

But the Berlin Brothersvalley sophomore back actually has been a much more patient runner this season, and that’s made a significant difference to the undefeated Mountaineers’ success.

“Instead of trying to outrun everybody, he’s letting his blocks take effect,” Berlin coach Doug Paul said. “Braden has such great acceleration, he hits the hole with speed. Until this point in his career he was able to get by with natural speed.

“He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s got great vision and balance. He’s got all the intangibles to go with being a great running back.”

Fochtman has carried 91 times and averages 11.5 yards per run.

In case you’re thinking he’s done so against the lower-tier teams in the WestPAC, think again.

Fochtman rushed for 309 yards on 32 carries against a very solid North Star squad, and he gained 352 yards on 29 attempts against Portage, the coaches’ preseason pick to win the conference.

“He only played the first half against Conemaugh Township because he was cramping up. The next week against Portage was his coming out party,” Paul said. “Big-time players show up for big-time games. He’s doing it against teams that traditionally have very good defenses.”

Paul believes Fochtman has the potential to evolve even more as a runner.

“The nice thing with Braden is he has a very good offseason work ethic as far as hitting the weight room,” the coach said. “The one downfall you hear from college coaches is 5-foot-8, 160 pounds. But the thing is, he’s a very good defensive player for us. He can play multiple positions on offense. He’s as close to the complete package at running back since I’ve been at Berlin and I’ve seen quite a few.”

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