Elizabeth Forward eyes home playoff game, Thomas Jefferson
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne is fairly certain that his team is capable of doing something special this season.
He developed a slogan to remind the Warriors that they are very talented but still haven't done anything yet.
“This is how it goes,” LeDonne said. “We're the wolf that's climbing the hill. And we have to be hungrier than the wolf at the top of the hill.”
The wolf at the top of the hill, of course, is the wolf that has been preying on Elizabeth Forward football for generations. Thomas Jefferson has defeated EF 23 straight times, and the Warriors are frequently reminded of this.
LeDonne said his team doesn't lose sleep thinking about TJ and another powerful conference opponent – West Mifflin Area – but made it clear those teams are in the way, and that his team is capable of playing with them.
Last season, after all, EF nearly stunned TJ in a 21-19 defeat.
“It's not all about beating TJ,” LeDonne said. “Do we have to beat them to be the program that we want to be? No, I don't think so. It's just about working hard on and off the field. If we do that, we know the wins will take care of themselves.”
But still, TJ was bullying EF for five years before any of LeDonne's players were born.
“We know all about it,” LeDonne said. “Don't get me wrong. It's been 23 years. You better be motivated when you play against that team. And we will be.”
The Warriors reached the postseason in 2012, and LeDonne has set a very clear goal for this season. He wants his squad to host a playoff game at Warrior Stadium.
“Elizabeth Forward has never hosted a playoff game,” he said. “Never. And that's something we badly want to do. That would be a big deal for us.”
EF's quarterback is already a big deal.
JaQuan Davidson, a senior, exploded onto the scene last season and gave the Warriors instant credibility.
“So talented,” TJ coach Bill Cherpak said, shaking his head.
LeDonne doesn't hide the reality that his team wouldn't be the same without Davidson.
Although the veteran coach likes the rest of his team — “We really have some good players, some players who are getting better,” he said — he realizes his quarterback is the straw that stirs EF's drink.
“JaQuan came here and added new life for this team,” LeDonne said. “It kind of came together last year with him and some of the players we had back. I hope it comes together again.”
LeDonne said that Davidson is even better this season. In 2012, the quarterback rushed for more than 1,000 yards, threw for more than 500 and accounted for 20 touchdowns.
“And remember something,” LeDonne said. “He didn't have time to get ready for the season. We got him in late July, early August. This time around, he really knows the offense, has a better feel for what's going on.”
Davidson's breakout game took place last season against TJ, when his electrifying performance nearly led to a colossal upset.
In Week 2, Davidson and the Warriors get the rematch with the Jagaurs.
For EF to realize its goal of hosting a playoff game, it likely will have to beat TJ or West Mifflin.
“We are very well aware of that,” LeDonne said. “Honestly, I don't think we're at TJ's level yet. We try to emulate them in a lot of ways. And I just want to out-work everyone. Do that, and we'll be fine. And trust me, we'll be ready for that TJ game.”
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.
- Burgettstown out to end losing streak
- Class AAAA breakdown: Trio of contenders could challenge perennial powers Woodland Hills, Central Catholic
- Clairton offense shows new look
- Natural rivalries, top-tier talent highlight realigned Allegheny Conference
- Class AAA breakdown: With perennial contender Gateway joining Greater Allegheny, trend of championship Parkway teams could be challenged
- South Park has sights set on playoff payoff
- Class AA breakdown: Revamped Allegheny Conference among many changes
- Class A breakdown: WPIAL realignment shakes up conferences
- Hollidaysburg to rely on skill player in tough conference
- Led by top QB, South Fayette offense among WPIAL’s all-time best
- Century after 1st WPIAL title, Wilkinsburg tries to ‘reintroduce our history’