Altoona looks to build on last season's foundation
By Andrew John
Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
A new culture continues to take form in Altoona as John Franco returns for his second season in his second stint with the Mountain Lions.
The veteran coach led Altoona to a 4-6 record last season, including a 4-4 mark in the Quad East, which was good enough for a three-way tie for fourth with Hempfield and Kiski Area.
“It was a tough transition last year, no doubt. We needed to change a lot in the football program,” Franco said. “The total change of the culture of the team was tough for everyone, including both the players and coaches. Last season's performance was expected, but now we are built on a good foundation. We need to take that and improve on last season's performance for this year.”
Franco might have the numbers to compete on weekly basis but could be lacking some of the school's top athletes who participate in other sports.
He hopes to add to the team's skill level by going back to the basics, focusing on fundamentals and improving practice habits.
“I expect us to be better at how to perform to the expectations that I set. I expect us to practice better and to learn how to play in the system better,” Franco said.
“I expect us to better understand how to meet and understand the requirements of the program. We had poor practice habits last year. Everything stems from there.”
The Mountain Lions will look to replace their leading passer, rusher, and receiver, who all graduated. Altoona will miss quarterback Brennan Luciano, running back Avery Howsare and wide receiver Jake Diviney.
Franco will turn to more of a junior-laden lineup, including quarterback Eli Mencer, but also will lean on a core of seniors this season. Altoona will look for leadership from linemen Nate Schienberg and Nate Farlow as well as fullback-linebacker Kevin Givens. Many other roster spots remain up for grabs.
The Mountain Lions could see a spike in interest from local athletes if they stayed closer to home and played rivals from the District 6 days.
“We need to get back to playing our rivals in Central Pennsylvania. The WPIAL is a great conference, and it's a lot fun to face the top competition,” Franco said. “Unfortunately, nobody likes it in Altoona. I think we need get out of it and play our rivals that Altoona is used to playing. However, we are bound to the WPIAL for the next couple of years so we need to get used to it.”
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.
- North Catholic players, coach recognized on all-state team
- High school notebook: PIAA classifications alter WPIAL landscape