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Hampton faces tough test on Friday

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Shawn Annarelli and Eric Schott
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

Hampton's four-game winning streak will be in jeopardy on Friday night when it hosts Franklin Regional, which boasts a six-game winning streak.

“The whole key to what we're doing is our preparation, our senior leadership and our attitude,” said Jacque DeMatteo, Hampton head coach. “We've got to treat every game the same.”

The Talbots will have to particularly prepare for the Panthers' running attack, which averages nearly 200 yards on the ground.

“They're bigger than us, but a lot of teams have been bigger than us, too,” DeMatteo said.

The Panthers have scored 32 points per game this season.

“They get up on you quick,” DeMatteo said. “They have skilled guys that can match up with our skilled guys that will create some interesting one-on-one situations. They're a veteran team that's well coached, so we'll have to bring our A-plus game to beat them.”

North Hills at Pine-Richland 7:30 p.m.

After its best offensive output of the season last week against Shaler, Pine-Richland hopes to ride that momentum into its matchup with North Hills. The Rams had two 100-yard running backs and rushed for more than 300 yards against Shaler. Altemus knows the running game will be important against the Indians.

“We will want that running game with us again,” Altemus said. “That's the key for us. North Hills gives you a lot of looks. We will have to work a lot on multiple fronts this week.”

Altemus is aware of what is at stake as the Rams enter their final two regular-season games — this week against North Hills and the season finale against winless Plum.

“If we can win out I think we'll be looking at a good seed in the playoffs,” he said. “Five or six victories, playing in this conference, should get recognized by the (WPIAL playoff) committee.”

Vincentian at Frazier 7:30 p.m.

The Royals are poised to finish the last two weeks of their season, which they will start against a talented Frazier team.

“Frazier just beat Bethlehem-Center, and Bethlehem-Center has been the best team in the league for the last five years,” said Tom Storino, Vincentian head coach. “Frazier is a great team, so we want to go in there and compete and get into halftime somewhat respectably.”

One of the team's goals is to leave Frazier with a roster healthy enough to play Bethlehem-Center in the last week of the season.

“Hopefully we get out of the game healthy, and hopefully we get a little bit better from this week to next week,” Storino said. “Our goal was to play football this year, and that's what we're doing.”

North Allegheny at Shaler 7:30 p.m.

When a No. 1-ranked, undefeated team plays a winless team, there is not much pregame hype unless you are the coach of the winless team with a chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets ever. The 0-7 Shaler Titans host 7-0 North Allegheny Friday.

“Its great chance for us on senior night to send our seniors out on great note,” Shaler coach Chris Siegle said. “(The seniors) are the building blocks for the turnaround of this program.”

Without looking at the weather, the forecast does not look good for Shaler. The Titans allow an average of 45 points, and North Allegheny has allowed fewer than 3 points per game to section teams this year.

The Titans also will be battling history as Shaler has only beaten NA once in the past 26 years.

“NA is a great program and what Coach Walker has achieved is what we are working to be,” Siegle said.

Shawn Annarelli and Eric Schott are freelance writers.

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