The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

November 20, 2012

Bailey Bowl: Father vs. son for District 6-AA championship

JOHNSTOWN — Traditionally, high school football is a prominent topic at the Thanksgiving dinner table for the Bailey family.

Not this year.

The holiday gathering will be held at the home of Richland High coach Brandon Bailey. Brandon’s father, Don Bailey, with 333 career wins and nine District 6 titles in 39 seasons at Forest Hills, is one of the most successful football coaches in the area.

The sixth-seeded Rangers will face undefeated, top-seeded Richland in the District 6 Class AA championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at Mansion Park.

“Over the last couple years at Thanksgiving the discussion has been about football and the title game,” Brandon Bailey said. “Last year we were in it. The year before his team was in it. This year there probably will be less of a discussion of football at the dinner table and more of a discussion of thankfulness, which is the way it probably should be.”

Richland lost to Tyrone in last year’s 6-AA title game. In 2010, Forest Hills beat the Golden Eagles during a 13-2 season that ended in the state semifinals.

On those late-November afternoons, Thanksgiving dinner provided an opportunity for the family to enthusiastically speak in anticipation of a title game. Now that father and son’s teams will be playing in what some fans have dubbed “The Bailey Bowl,” the discussion will be toned down.

“When we sit down at Thanksgiving dinner, we’re probably not going to talk a whole lot about football,” Don Bailey said. “We’ll enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve played each other in the playoffs before but not with so much at stake.”

Forest Hills won playoff games over Richland in 2009 (32-7) and 2008 (28-0) – the year Brandon Bailey’s Rams ended Richland’s 20-season drought without a playoff appearance. The Rams are looking for their first district title.

“I’m so very proud of the job Brandon has done at Richland, not only as the football coach but as the principal at that high school,” Don Bailey said. “He came into a program that had been a doormat in the Laurel Highlands Conference and now he has them at the very top of the Laurel Highlands Conference, and they have been a contender the last six years.”

Richland (12-0) has rolled through its schedule in impressive fashion and is ranked fifth in the state by Pennsylvania Football News. The Rams have a diverse offense led by 1,698-yard rusher Tanner Solarczyk’s 25 touchdowns as well as a big-play passing game fronted by quarterbacks Matt Shaffer (1,679 passing yards) and Nico Pecora (519 yards), and receivers Kyle Flick (44 catches, 715 yards, 11 TDs) and Luke Shertzer (45 catches, 699 yards, six TDs).

“Their passing game is prolific more so than anyone else in the district,” Don Bailey said. “They can go to three, four or five different receivers with the skill set they have. Put the ball in the hands of Shaffer and Pecora, and both of those guys can run very well. Having a quarterback who can throw and can run puts a lot of pressure on the defense. They’re just an awful lot to defend.”

Forest Hills (9-3) has reeled off seven straight victories after opening with two wins in the first five LHAC games. The Rangers are an honorable mention pick in the PFN poll.

“They got out to a rocky start,” Brandon Bailey said. “When they were 2-3 you’d hear people saying, ‘The game must have passed coach Bailey by. They’re not going to be .500.’ Then they run off seven straight wins and they’re playing for another district title. I’m happy for him and his kids.

“We have a lot of respect for Forest Hills. I’m sure they have respect for us. We’re excited. It should be an electric atmosphere.”

Forest Hills beat Ligonier Valley 26-12 on Saturday night on the road.

The Rangers got another big outing from senior playmaker Jared Shope, who has 53 catches for 730 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Shope also has passed for 338 yards as a wildcat quarterback and made five interceptions and 67 tackles on defense.

“Jared Shope is an outstanding athlete,” Don Bailey said of the three-year starter. “He’s got outstanding athletic ability, better than average speed and he catches everything thrown at him. Doltyn Snedden is our tall, lanky receiver with great hands. He runs precise routes and catches everything. Shawn Dell is our threat running the ball.”

Sophomore quarterback Joe Donoughe (115 of 185, 1,626 yards, 10 touchdowns) continues to shine after coming back from a midseason injury. Senior Doltyn Snedden has 43 receptions for 687 yards and two touchdowns.

Dell (132 carries, 916 yards, eight touchdowns) churns out yardage on the ground when it counts most.

“We’ve got a combination of good young players and seasoned veterans as well as some senior linemen who haven’t played much in the past but got an opportunity to play this year and they’re making the best of the opportunity,” Don Bailey said. “It starts out with the quarterback making the plays and the guys like Doltyn Snedden and Shope making the plays.”

Richland also has a solid mix of seniors and an extremely talented junior class.

The Rams linemen have been dominant.

“That’s where you win football games, with the offensive and defensive lines,” Brandon Bailey said. “That’s a lot of the reason we’re undefeated at this point.

“We know when we play any Forest Hills team they’re going to be aggressive and come after you. They’re going to do what ever they can to disrupt what we do on offense. The last two weeks they’ve shut down two of the best offenses in all of District 6.”

Forest Hills beat Central 21-7 and Ligonier 26-12.

“We were 2-3 at one point,” Don Bailey said. “We had to win every game just to get into the playoffs. When Joe came back from his injury we were fortunate enough to win those games and finish 7-3 and get that playoff spot.”

Richland is coming off a one-sided 43-22 win over Tyrone in the semifinals, and a

28-0 shutout over Penn Cambria in the first round. Prior to that, the Rams won a much-anticipated Week 10 date at Class A power Bellwood (14-7).

Those games have led to a father-son matchup that certainly will create an unusual situation for Diane Bailey, wife and mother of the two coaches, Don and Brandon, respectively.

“It’s very difficult having our teams play against each other especially in a game that means so much,” Don Bailey said. “I want to win so much. So does he. Unfortunately we both can’t win.

“We’ll both go into this game and prepare our teams to the best of our ability. The better team or the team that makes the fewest mistakes probably will win. It will be a double-edged sword where one of our teams will move on with a district championship and one of our teams’ season will end.”

 

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide