Berlin Brothersvalley sophomore Braden Fochtman is not an imposing figure when you see him standing on the sideline, but he certainly gets a team’s attention when he is on the field.
Listed as 5-foot-8, 162 pounds on the Mountaineers preseason roster, the wiry No. 3 is following in the footsteps of some pretty impressive Berlin rushers, including Drew Glotfelty, Ian Sayler and Eric D’Carrion.
The low-key Fochtman gave the Portage defense plenty of air to grab hold of on Friday, breaking away from numerous attempts to bring him down to rack up 352 yards on 29 carries with three touchdowns in Berlin’s 28-14 victory over the Mustangs.
Now, it will be interesting to see how opposing defenses deal with the slippery Fochtman as the season progresses.
In case anyone was wondering, the state individual rushing record was set by Alex Cooley of Eastern York last season with an eye-popping 500 yards against Hanover, according to the latest Pennsylvania Football News Resource Guide.
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Surprises thus far?: Most of the experts had figured that Richland was going to be successful this season, but a lot fewer were on the Meyersdale and Bedford bandwagons.
The Red Raiders - yes we know their nickname is not the Indians - got a big lift on Friday with what many termed an upset over Windber, and are now 2-0.
The biggest question about Meyersdale was whether a 1-9 team from last year could learn to win in 2013.
Seems as though the Red Raiders have figured it out, and already have the two wins that the newspaper listed them for in the preseason predictions.
But, the Raiders will have to continue to take it a game at a time and not let the early success go to their heads.
The Bisons are also off to a 2-0 start, including a big
Week 1 win over Bishop Guilfoyle and a road victory against Penn Cambria.
It doesn’t get any easier for Bedford this week as it heads to Richland, which is ranked in the top 10 in Class AA in the state, on Friday.
In addition to the Rams, Raiders and Bisons being 2-0, Ligonier Valley also started the season with a perfect record and faces its first big challenge Friday at Blairsville, which is also unbeaten.
Forest Hills and Somerset are each 2-0 in the Laurel Highlands while Homer-Center and Penns Manor are still unbeaten in the Heritage.