District VI 3A Playoff Preview
Written by: Chad States on Friday, November 3rd, 2017
The regular season has concluded and the weather is finally starting to turn cold. That can mean only one thing, playoff football!! This weekend kicks off the District 6 AAA playoffs as teams compete for the coveted title that will conclude in Altoona at legendary Mansion Park. This year’s field features some real fire power from top to bottom. One thing about the playoffs, you never know what is going to happen.
Top seed Huntingdon has been rock solid in all three phases of the game and have big play capability all over the roster. Forest Hills has been dominating opponents from start to finish in route to the 2nd seed. Defending champ Central has looked the part of a champion with a run first offense and a swarming defense. Juniata checks in the 4th spot with a big play capable offense and a shutdown defense. The 5th seed is Bald Eagle Area who is youthful but can be very physical. Tyrone checks in at the 6th seed and has the tradition to make some noise. Now, let’s take a look at each team.
The top seed in this year’s field, the Bearcats enter the playoffs with a 9-1 regular season record (5-0 Home, 4-1 Away) in search of their first district crown since 2005. Huntingdon was Co-Champions of the Mountain League with a 6-1 record and their only loss coming on the road to Central 14-10 in Week 9. The Bearcat offense is potent and balanced averaging 363 yards per game (214.4 rushing and 148.7 passing) along with 44.6 points per game. Not to be out done, the defense is giving up a paltry 12.9 points per game while totaling 31 sacks, 15 INT’s and 8 fumble recoveries. Head Coach Mike Hudy has been preaching a one brick at a time attitude. The ‘Cats have been laying the foundation towards returning to glory and a shot at the D6 AAA title that they have been coveting all season long.
Passing—JR QB Andrew Hudy 1253 yards, 15 TDs 4 INTs
Rushing—SR RB Ian Border 1255 yards, 23 TDs
Receiving—SR Jonathan Price 39 recpts 675 yards, 10 TDs
Tackles—JR Ryan Querry 100 tackles, 11 TFL’s
Sacks—SR Ben Briggs & SO Isiah Reed 5 sacks
Interceptions—SR Alex Mykut & Price 4 INTs
Longtime Head Coach Don Bailey has the Rangers back in the hunt for a D6 crown this year as they have racked up a 9-1 record and 2nd place in the Laurel Highlands Conference. Forest Hills only loss has come to 3-time State Champ Bishop Guilfoyle 24-21 in Altoona. The Ranger attack is averaging 382.4 yards per game (159.0 rushing and 186.1) passing while putting up 31.5 points per game. The defense has been equally impressive giving up 10.5 points per game and causing 25 turnovers on the year. Forest Hills has a long tradition of being a powerhouse in the playoffs, and they could very well be a force to be reckoned with in the next three weeks.
Passing—JR Adam Cecere 1734 yards, 14 TDs, 9 INTs
Rushing—SR Eric Elgin 509 yards, 11 TDs
Receiving—SR Jon Long 41 recpts, 830 yards, 7 TDs
Tackles—SR Eric Elgin 108 Tackles, 10 TFLs
Sacks—SR Shane Sikora 4-1/2 Sacks
Interceptions—JR Forest Wilfhope 4 INT’s
CENTRAL SCARLET DRAGONS
The defending D6AAA champs having been looking the part the 2nd half of the season. Head Coach Dave Baker’s team enters this year’s playoffs with a 7-3 record and are Co-Champs of the Mountain League. They are the only team to defeat top-seeded Huntingdon this year and their losses have come to powerhouse’s Hollidaysburg, Chestnut Ridge, and Bellefonte. The Scarlet Dragons are averaging 382.4 yards per game (274.8 rushing and 107.6 passing) and averaging 31.3 points per game. Defensively, the Scarlet Dragons are getting it done allowing 17.4 points per game with 31.5 sacks and 17 INT’s. Do not sleep on this team, as the players and coaching staff know how to win and have their sights set on their 3rd straight title.
Passing—SR Preston Karstetter 537 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing—SR Trystan Detwiler 1205 yards, 15 TDs
Receiving—SR Austin Garner 9 recpts, 268 yards, 3 TDs
Tackles—SR Jared Smith 83 Tackles, 18 TFLs
Sacks—SR Austin Garner 6 sacks
Interceptions—SR Trystan Detwiler 4 INTs
This year’s 4th seed is no stranger to the post-season having lost in the last two D
6 championship games to Central. This year, Head Coach Gary Klingensmith’s Indians come in a bit under the radar in the 4th spot, but that does not mean that this team cannot make a run. Juniata finished in 3rd place in the Tri-Valley Conference and sports a 7-3 record (4-1 Home, 3-2 Away). The offense’s strength is in the running game, but they have a very capable passing attack as well. The Indians are averaging 290.7 yards per game (191.1 rushing and 99.6 passing) and scoring 28.9 points per game. Juniata takes pride in its defense and with a 11.6 points per game average along with 35 sacks and 13 INTs it is easy to see why. Juniata will once again look to return to Mansion Park for another shot at the title that has eluded them the last two seasons.
Passing—JR Jeremiah Parson 911 yards, 11 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing—JR Bryson Clark 399 yards, 8TDs
Receiving—SR Ben Lauver 18 recpts, 331 yards, 6 TDs
Tackles—JR Bryson Clark 80 Tackles
Sacks—SR Ben Lauver 10 Sacks
Interceptions—SR Bryce Leonard 6 INTs
BALD EAGLE AREA EAGLES
If there is a team in this year’s field that may be a bit of surprise, it is BEA. The Eagles finished the season with a 4-6 record (1-4 Home, 3-2 Away) which was good enough for 4th place in the Mountain League and 5th place in the D6AAA rankings. Head Coach Jesse Nagle has a youthful squad with a strong sophomore class that has to reduce the mistakes that have plagued them all year long. The Eagles offense is very balanced averaging 275 yards per game (124.7 rushing and 150.9 passing) but only scoring 19.2 points per game as getting into the end zone has been problem. The defense has tallied 28 sacks 20 takeaways, but has given up 26.4 points per game. If BEA can clean-up the penalties and the turnovers (24) that have haunted them, they have a shot to advance.
Passing—SO Jaden Jones 937 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs
Rushing—SO Gage McClenahan 457 yards, 6 TDs
Receiving—SO Mathew Reese 27 recpts, 401 yards, 4TDs
Tackles—JR Kael Gardner 118 Tackles, 17 TFLs
Sacks—SR Rilee Bechdel 6 Sacks
Interceptions—SO Gage McClenahan 4 INTs
Tyrone enters the D6AAA playoffs in unfamiliar territory. The Golden Eagles are used to being at the top of the heap when it comes to post-season seedings however, they find themselves this year in the 6th spot having just made the cut. Head Coach Jason Wilson’s team had higher expectations at the beginning of the season, but 3-7 overall record (3-2 Home, 0-5 Away) were all they could muster for the hometown faithful. Tyrone checks in with an offense that is averaging 259.4 yards per game (119.2 rushing and 140.2 passing) but struggling scoring with an 18.2 points per game average. Defensively, Tyrone has been opportunistic. The Golden Eagles are giving up 28.7 points per game while tallying 19 sacks and 22 takeaways. If Tyrone is going to advance, they are going to have to learn to win away from Gray Memorial as they have not been able to do so all year long.
Passing—SR Parker Mitchell 712 yards, 3 TDs, 6 INTs
Rushing—SR Brandon Loose 889 yards, 13 TDs
Receiving—SR Parker Mitchell 20 recpts, 218 yards, 2 TDs
Tackles—JR Denver Light 107 Tackles, 11.5 TFLs
Sacks—JR Aric Reader 6 Sacks
Interceptions—JR Denver Light 3 INTs
Rushing Offense Central 2748 yards
Passing Offense Forest Hills 1861 yards
Total Offense Central 3824 yards
Points Scored Huntingdon 446
Points Against Forest Hills 105
Touchdowns Huntingdon 62
Sacks Juniata 35
Interceptions Central 17
Turnover Ratio Huntingdon +12
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball