Despite conference change, WPIAL feeling like home for Hollidaysburg
As Hollidaysburg enters its third WPIAL season, coach John Barton thinks the Golden Tigers are becoming more comfortable with their surroundings.
Even if they're not right around the corner.
“We've been traveling for a long time now,” Barton said. “Heading west, like we do, isn't much different than when we were playing down east.”
After years of bouncing around, Hollidaysburg, located just south of Altoona, seems to have found a suitable football home in the WPIAL. The Golden Tigers recently had been members of the District 6-based Mountain Athletic Football Conference and the District 3-based Mid-Penn Conference.
They'll see a few changes again this year within the WPIAL, which has realigned its conferences for this season. Hollidaysburg switches to the Greater Allegheny Conference from the Keystone Conference, joining Derry, Franklin Regional and Greensburg Salem in the move.
“We're thankful to play in the WPIAL and be a part of a class league,” Barton said. “The conference change will present challenges, but they present challenges for all the teams that realigned. We look forward to another year and our new section.”
Hollidaysburg will attempt to improve on a 3-5 record, 3-4 in the Keystone Conference, with a more experienced squad this year.
“We had a completely new defense, and it showed,” Barton said. “Our youth showed, and it hurt us. That was one of our problems, one of our issues.
“I think we're going to be better this year.”
Matt Barton — a 6-foot-1, 280-pound senior and the coach's son — and Pat Ollinger are “two seniors who are very important to us on the offensive and defensive lines,” Coach Barton said.
He added that senior quarterback/defensive back Brian Urban “has made a lot of progress from last year to this year. I'm anticipating him having a good year.”