The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Windber

September 21, 2012

Friday preview: Forest Hills concerned about Bishop Guilfoyle

JOHNSTOWN — Bishop Guilfoyle accomplished something not many believed possible during last week’s win against Cambria Heights. The Marauders significantly hampered the Highlanders’ high-powered run game.

Don’t be surprised if Bishop Guilfoyle’s blueprint for defensive success is copied by other members of the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference when going against Cambria Heights.

“We used a six-man defensive line and really put the pressure on our defensive backs,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler said. “We matched up our (defensive) backs man-to-man and had our defensive line fill the gaps. We forced them to throw.”

The Marauders limited the Cambria Heights backfield to 102 rushing yards during a 17-7 victory that raised their record to 2-1.

As effective as the defense proved, it will be scrapped this week at Forest Hills (2-1), which rebounded from a turnover-filled loss to Bishop McCort in Week 2 with an impressive 27-0 win over Bishop Carroll last week.

“Forest Hills is so balanced. They’re a football team that ran very well the first two weeks and threw well the last game,” Wheeler said. “We won’t be in a goal-line defense. We’ll have to try and stop the run with four or five guys up front.”

No matter what defense Bishop Guilfoyle uses against Forest Hills in this key LHAC game, the Rangers know it will be a formidable unit.

“They have good size and good speed and they go to the ball well,” Forest Hills coach Don Bailey said. “We knew before that game they were a good defense. We knew watching them scrimmage that they would give teams problems. They’ll probably give us problems.”

Bishop McCort forced Forest Hills into four turnovers in Week 2, but Bailey is more concerned with the Rangers’ run game. Bishop Carroll held Forest Hills to 81 yards rushing last week. Of course, with quarterback Joe Donoughe, who has thrown for an area-best 545 yards, and the receiving tandem of Jared Shope and Doltyn Snedden has proven difficult to stop.

“I feel we’re making progress each week, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Bailey said. “We’ve got to improve along the offensive line and we’ve got to run better. I’m pleased with the way we’ve thrown it, but we’ve got to run better.”

Both teams are one game behind a trio of unbeaten teams – Penn Cambria, Richland and Somerset – in the LHAC standings.

Tonight’s game may not make or break the playoff chances for Class AA Forest Hills or Class A Bishop Guilfoyle – a team Bailey predicts will be a conference power for several years – it could significantly hurt chances of winning a LHAC championship.

“Eight teams make the playoffs in double-S, and we want to be one of those eight teams,” Bailey said. “This game is very important because they’re are very few teams with undefeated records and chances are they’re won’t be many at the end of the season. You want to be one of the top seeds in the playoffs, not just get in.”

The Rangers won 49-14 in last season’s matchup.

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