Ford City searching for 1st win against conference newcomer East Allegheny
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The morning after Ford City's 27-6 loss to Shady Side Academy in Week 1, senior lineman Cody Atherton visited Lindy's Coffee Shop for his ritual day-after breakfast.
At the restaurant, two older Ford City residents who'd asked Atherton about the football team throughout the offseason dealt the senior left tackle a hard truth: They considered the Shady Side Academy performance about as poor as any they could recall from recent years.
“That's when it really sunk in,” Atherton said. “I've kind of used that as motivation ever since.”
Atherton and the other members of Ford City's offensive line performed far better in a heart-breaking, last-second loss to Freeport last week. They, along with the rest of the Sabers (0-2, 0-2), are on a mission to make even more progress Friday when they host Allegheny Conference newcomer East Allegheny (1-1, 1-1).
“This is going to be a big game for us, a turning point in the season,” Atherton said.
That Ford City faces the potential of a 0-3 start to the season is rare — at no point during the last decade did the Sabers lose their first two games. But coach John Bartolovic believes the back-to-back losses do not spell doom. He actually saw a silver lining in a schedule that opened with two of the conference's perennial powers.
“I think you start playing at a higher level sooner,” Bartolovic said. “You understand what that level, that speed is all about.
“I think we do have potential, and it showed on Friday night. If we keep making progress and don't have those mental mistakes, I think we'll be fine.”
Ford City's most noticeable improvements involved the run game. During the Sabers' Week 1 loss, they managed just 18 yards on 18 carries. Missed assignments and poor blocking angles crippled the team, Bartolovic said. And defensively, Ford City allowed two Shady Side Academy running backs to combine for 262 yards on 32 carries.
Last week, the Sabers gained 99 yards on the ground and scored both touchdowns on runs. And they held Freeport to 190 yards on 39 carries.
“Compared to Week 1, we really stepped it up last week,” senior guard Ken Bowers said. “Nobody made any stupid mistakes.”
Bartolovic emphasizes the need for another satisfactory performance up front this week, as East Allegheny has several players who will turn a small seam into a quick six.
East Allegheny opened the season with a 29-12 win over Summit Academy that included three touchdowns of 64 yards or more. And last week during a 34-13 loss to Kittanning, the Wildcats scored on plays of 46 and 70 yards.
No Wildcat appears more explosive than senior wide receiver Shawn Adair, who scored the touchdowns last week on a catch — that was the 46-yard play — and an interception return. Adair also threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Henshawe against Summit Academy.
“They have that big-play capability,” Bartolovic said. “I think they can be dangerous in open space.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303 ext. 1321.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn Hills takes advantage of turnovers, routs Upper St. Clair
- High school football notebook: Summer heat possible for season’s first week
- Valley edges emotional Burrell team on OT field goal
- Jeannette rips Riverview in Class A debut
- Late 98-yard pick 6 seals Norwin’s shutout win over Latrobe
- Mt. Pleasant edges McGuffey in high-scoring affair
- High school roundup: Greensburg Salem shocks Gateway in opener
- Murray runs wild in Steel Valley victory over Carlynton
- Gateway football preparing for a season of change
- Charleroi coach says ‘the sky is the limit’ for Cougars
- Sophomore RB Coxon leads Plum to lopsided win