Marion Center at Northern Cambria
Northern Cambria (2-4) looks to rebound after a 53-6 loss to undefeated Berlin last week. The Colts have rushed for 1,486 yards and 15 touchdowns, with three runners carrying the bulk of the load. Nolan Paronish (487 rushing yards, three touchdowns), Joe Frontino (400, four) and Dartagnan Suchar (360, seven) have combined for 14 touchdown runs.
Marion Center (1-5) has lost four straight since a Week 2 victory at Saltsburg. Opponents have outscored the Stingers by a combined 158-71.
Marion Center fell 28-16 to Purchase Line last week, but scored the team’s second-highest point total of the season.
United at Purchase Line
Winless United (0-6) has been outscored 225-30 this season.
Last week, Homer-Center blanked the Lions 37-0.
Purchase Line won its second game of the season last week at Marion Center (28-16). The Dragons’ other victory was against Blacklick Valley (42-14) in Week 3.
Bishop McCort at Greater Johnstown
Bishop McCort (1-5) is coming off its first win of the season while Johnstown has dropped three straight and four of its past five.
Both programs look to take a positive step.
“As a team we’re still striving to get better in all phases of the game,” Johnstown coach Tony Penna Jr. said. “At times we look really good. At times we don’t. The effort’s been there. We’re focusing on execution and getting sharper. We feel we haven’t played our best game yet. It’s pretty simple football stuff we need to do but it just has to be executed on Friday nights.”
Each team has relied on young, but talented quarterbacks.
Johnstown sophomore Jeremy Updyke ranks fourth in the area with 864 passing yards (56 of 108).
McCort sophomore Blake Wade threw for 385 yards, but was slowed by an injury. Last week freshman Levi Cook stepped in as the Crushers beat Westmont 55-20. Cook has completed 7 of 18 passes for 149 yards and a pair of TDs. Crushers coach Kevin Sheridan said both quarterbacks are expected to see time this week.
The Crushers coach is wary of Johnstown’s big-play capability.
“Offensively they’re consistent in throwing the football,” Sheridan said. “They complete passes. They have a low number of interceptions compared to touchdowns. The consistency of their passing game is something to contend with. They have strong backs. They’ve improved on special teams. The defense is fast. It’s a big-play team.
“It’s going to be all the more important for us to be very sharp on our attention to detail. If you make mistakes on the defensive side or offensive side, their ability to make big plays could sway the momentum quickly.”
Likewise, Penna is concerned by McCort’s playmakers such as senior Nemo Trexler.
“McCort has athletes all over the place. Their running game is really strong, right at you, downhill,” Penna said. “I was impressed with how they ran against Westmont. They’ve got guys who can throw and run. You have to watch Nemo all over the place. They played a tough early season schedule and you can’t be deceived by that (overall record). They’re a tough quality ballclub and we’re going to have our hands full.”
Johnstown will begin its Final Drive fundraiser to benefit the Family Kitchen food pantry. A portion of ticket prices will go toward the charity.