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Altoona snaps 4-game losing streak

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By Jim Lane
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 12:50 a.m.

ALTOONA — The Altoona Mountain Lions snapped a four-game losing streak with a 17-14 win over Hempfield in a WPIAL Class AAAA game Friday night at Mansion Park.

Altoona scored all of its points in the first half and held off Hempfield's second-half charge to post its second win in six games.

Hempfield fell to 3-3.

“I'm real proud of our effort,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. “We had eight starters out with injuries and made some mistakes, but we never gave up.”

James Metzgar's 22-yard field goal gave Altoona 3-0 lead late in the first quarter, but Hempfield took a 7-3 advantage on a 3-yard run by Tyler Straka early in the second.

Jake Diviney's 30-yard interception return set up a 2-yard score by Mante Barnes that put the Lions back on top, 10-7.

One minute later, a bad snap on a punt attempt resulted in a 23-yard loss and gave Altoona possession at the Spartans' 4.

Avery Howsare scored on the next play to make it 17-7 at the half.

Hempfield dominated the time of possession in the second half but didn't score until 3:53 remained in the game.

Ty George and Billy Thomas hooked up on a 9-yard TD to cap an 86-yard drive.

The Spartans had one last gasp, getting the ball at their own 12 with 1:01 left, but they ran out of time against the fired-up Altoona defense.

“I'm really happy to finally see some smiling faces around here,” Altoona coach John Franco said.

“It was really good to win a tough game like this.”

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