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Struggling Carlynton football team works toward improvement

| Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, 3:15 a.m.

It has been an uphill battle for the Carlynton football team through a 0-4 start to the season.

While the results don't show it, there have been bright spots for the Cougars in each game. The focus of the staff is to find a way to get the young players to be able to do those things for all four quarters.

“We are trying to build off some of the things we have done,” coach Scott Yoder said. “We are trying to get our consistency to be better. We want to sustain those good things for an entire game.”

In their first game against Avonworth, the Cougars started eight sophomores on defense and seven on offense. And two of the first substitutions off the bench were freshmen.

“Being a smaller school, we won't have 40 or 50 kids on the team,” Yoder said. “Being young, our guys are getting used to the physicality and length of the varsity game.”

While the team is young, several of the upperclassmen have stepped into leadership roles. Hunter Crown has taken a majority of the snaps under center. Crown has recorded 162 passing yards with a score and three interceptions.

“Hunter is like a coach,” Yoder said. “He could coach on our team right now because of his knowledge. He is a great young man and a smart kid. He is one of the toughest kids I have been around.”

Junior Maclaine Greiner is expected to take some snaps over the final games of the season. While having the ability to play quarterback, the staff knew Greiner could benefit the team in other areas. He moved into a tight end role to help a young offensive line. He is the team's leading receiver with seven receptions for 61 yards.

On the ground, sophomore Dallas Paolino has gained 81 yards on 48 carries. Fellow sophomores Will Richardson (14 carries for 49 yards) and Kaydin Mulkerrin (10 carries for 28 yards) also have contributed to the ground game.

“We knew going in Dallas was going to get the bulk of the carries,” Yoder said. “We have been trying to take some of the load off of him and throw the ball a decent amount.”

The line has struggled at times because of inexperience. Senior Armonti Pendleton returned, but the rest of the players in the trenches were first-year starters. A pair of juniors — Andrew DeFaria and Patrick Kietz-Carlson — have stepped up and continued to improve.

While the team has been outscored 187-6, Yoder said the defense has played better than some would expect. Against Avonworth, the Cougars trailed by only a touchdown after the first quarter. They were scoreless with East Allegheny after one quarter.

“We put the defense in bad positions some times,” Yoder said. “But we have had more pressure on quarterbacks lately. We have some pretty sound, athletic kids, and that can make up for lack of technique.”

Carlynton's focus at this point is getting better each week. With the young roster continuing to adjust to the varsity level, the Cougars will continue their prowl for that elusive first win,

“We want to be competitive,” Yoder said. “We need to turn a good drive into a good quarter. That can lead to a good half and then a good game.

“I like to think the future is bright. But we have a lot of work to do.”

Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.

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