Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1990 · Page 19
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 19

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Monday, September 17, 1990
Page:
Page 19
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ipoiio-Rtdge Blacklick Valley Harsville Derry Homer-Center Indiana Laurel Valley Purchase Line Saitsbura igonier Valley Marion Center Northern Cambria Perms Manor Punxsutawney United Wes; Shamokin Contrasting offensive styles set to collide ByBILLBALINT Gazette Sports Writer Tills is one season when Glenn Richards thinks coaching high school football is easier than picking games. "You can't go by comparing scores in this conference this year," said Richards, whose Saltsburg Trojans are off to a3-0 start. "It's all about the matchups and how one team matches with another. The guy that wins (The Indiana Gazette's) Out on A Limb this year will really deserve some credit." There is an interesting matchup in Saltsburg tonight, with the Trojans meeting Marion Center in this week's key Heritage Conference game. Neither team is allowing many points, while the respective offensive production is nearly identical. However, the Stingers run the daylights out of the ball, and the Trojans own the conference's leading passing offense. "Marion Center has a phenomenal running game," said Richards. "Dave Malicky does a great job getting them strong. I really respect him. Nobody runs the Wing-T better." Richards' squad is matching up just fine through three weeks, winning close games with United .and Homer-Center along the way. Saltsburg allowed 16 points in the 18-16 victory over the Wildcats last week but has permitted just 23 points for the year. - "These kids started winning at the end of last year," said Richards, whose 3-6 team won two of its last three games to finish the season. "It's a surprise in a way that we've come out 3-0. The conditioning has made a difference. We are playing better later in the game than we used to. Going to (preseason camp at California University) also made a difference because we developed a real camaraderie there. "We play Marion Center, Blairsville and Northern Cambria three straight, so we'll really see what we have." The Stingers are coming off a 20-6 loss to Blairsville and need a win to remain in the thick of the Heritage Conference race. Besides the defeat, Malicky's club must deal with the losses of veteran two-way starter Ben Eisenhart and junior quarterback Justin Barkey due to knee injuries suffered Saturday. Marion Center will turn to junior quarterback Aaron Mills, who is playing his first year of varsity football. Mills will be seeking to improve a passing game that has accumulated just 48 yards. "He doesn't have a lot of experience, but Aaron is a good athlete who is eager to see what he can do," said Malicky. "You have to bounce back from losses and injuries, and our teams have done that in the past." Blairsville slowed the Wing-T ground game last week, but it remains one of the conference's top rushing attacks. Junior Thee Rapach is second in the conference with 436 rushing yards, and Jeff Pennington is sixth with 249 yards. Pennington also Game of the Week Marion Center (2-1) at Saltsburg (3-0) Kickoff: Thursday. 7 p.m. Matchup: Marion Center, coming off its first loss, will try to deal Saltsburg its first defeat in a Heritage Conference game matching one of the league's top rushing games against its top passing attack. Last week: Marion Center lost to Blairsville 20-6. Saltsburg 'defeated Homer- Center 18-16. Last year: Marion Center won 34-14. Key stats: Marion Center's two-pronged rushing game features Thee Rapach with 436 yards and two touchdowns on 93 carries and Jeff Pennington with 249 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries. The Stingers rank second in the conference in rushing yards at 233.3 per game and last in passing at 16.0. Quarterback Justin Barkey, who has thrown only 10 passes, will not play due to a knee injury. Marion Center allows 222 total yards per game. Saltsburg leads the conference in passing offense at 168.7 yards per game. Quarterback Marty Steele has completed 30 of 58 passes for 477 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Mike Dunlap is the conference's leading receiver with 211 yards and two touchdowns on 12 receptions. Ryan Nagg has 187 yards on nine receptions. Jamal Moore has rushed for 110 yards on 25 carries. Saltsburg allows 200.3 yards per game. Next week: Both teams pfay Friday. Marion Center visits Northern Cambria, and Saltsburg travels to Blairsville. leads the'team with four touchdowns. Saltsburg will look to counter through the air even if the weather is poor. Quarterback Marty Steele had some success throwing in difficult field conditions at United in the opener. Steele easily leads the conference in pass completions (30), attempts (58), yards {477} and touchdown passes (4). Steele's emergence has been a major story in the conference after he was removed from the starting lineup midway through the 2002 season. "Marty puts a lot of pressure on himself, but he is a strong competitor," said Richards, whose rushing offense is just ninth in the conference, averaging only 89.7 yards per game. "I think benching him after the fifth game last year brought out his competitive spirit, and he really responded." Saltsburg receiver Mike Dunlap tops the conference with 12 receptions for 211 yards. Ryan Nagg is third with nine receptions, and his 20.8-yards-per-catch average leads the conference. "Steele is throwing very well, and Duniap Saltsburg's Mike Dunlap leads the Heritage Conference in receptions and receiving yards. (Gazette photo by Jamie Isenberg) is an excellent receiver," said Malicky. "It says a lot about a team when they can win close games, and Saltsburg has done it twice. We took a step back last week while Saltsburg has looked extremely good. "We are walking into a hornets' nest down there, and we had better be ready." Turnovers and the kicking game could be significant factors. Marion Center has committed just three turnovers this season, but the Trojans defense has forced 10. Stingers punter Joe Posa is second in the conference with a healthy 38.5-yard average. The Saltsburg community has long rallied around winning teams, and Richards hopes it will support the Trojans in simila"r fashion. The 1991 squad that advanced to the state playoffs was blessed with an outstanding following. "It's been terrible football here in terms of wins and losses for so long," said Richards, whose team is fourth in the District 5-6 Class A rankings. "You can understand if people haven't followed us as much. But I think the kids are looking for the community to get involved now."

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