The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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Mike Mastovich

November 28, 2010

LHAC schedule preps teams for playoffs

ALTOONA — Throughout the postseason, Bishop McCort coach Ken Salem and his Bishop Carroll counterpart, Craig Sponsky credited the level of competition their teams faced on a weekly basis in the LHAC with preparing them for the district playoffs.

Bishop Carroll entered the District 6 Class A field as the fourth seed and McCort joined as the No. 7. The two programs, each with a distinguished history of District 6, were underdogs on paper only.

After running the LHAC gauntlet of teams such as eventual 5-6 Class AA winner Forest Hills, 6-AAA champion Greater Johnstown and solid opponents Central Cambria, Penn Cambria and Richland, teams such as McCort and Carroll are battle-tested for the playoffs.

The same might be said for the Double-A and Triple-A squads.

For the second consecutive season, the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference produced champions in all three district title games involving District 6 squads. No LHAC teams play in Quad-A.

Johnstown won the 6-AAA crown two weeks ago against Bellefonte, 49-8.

On Friday, Forest Hills shut out top-seeded Tyrone 14-0 in the District 5-6 Class AA title game at Mansion Park.

On Saturday, Bishop Carroll and Bishop McCort guaranteed a conference winner in that class.

“It's great competition against Double-A and a Triple-A team in Johnstown,” Bishop Carroll senior fullback-defensive end David Kephart said after the Huskies beat Bishop McCort 32-13 in the 6-A final. “Forest Hills is one great football team we had the privilege of playing this year. It gets you prepared for games like this. We played a Laurel Highlands opponent in the final. We expect it. Laurel Highlands gets you at the top of your game and prepares you for the season.”

In 2009, Johnstown (AAA), Forest Hills (AA) and Bishop McCort (A) all won district titles. Bedford, another LHAC team, won District 5-AA in 2009 before the two districts merged their playoffs again in that classification this year.

The Bisons entered the 2009 5-AA playoffs one game under .500 (4-6) but rolled to a district title and advanced deep into the playoffs to finish 7-7.

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