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Homer Center reaches District 6 final

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By George Guido
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 10:51 p.m.

The Homer Center defense was at the top of its game Saturday night.

The Wildcats forced six Bishop Carroll turnovers, didn't allow a Huskies first down in the first half and limited Carroll quarterback Brady Shuty to 8 net passing yards in a 28-7 District 6 Class A semifinal at Homer City Memorial Field.

Homer Center (11-1) will shoot for its first District 6 title since 1994 against Bishop Guilfoyle at 7 p.m. Saturday at Altoona's Mansion Park.

Bishop Carroll, the district champion three years ago, finished 7-5.

“I can't give enough credit to all of guys,” said Wildcats coach Greg Page. “We got up early, we were fortunate with a couple of breaks and took their best punch and were able to hold them off.”

“Turnovers are part of the game, and we weren't ready to play,” said Carroll coach Greg Snyder.

Junior running back Ean Lee led the Wildcats with 98 net rushing yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Homer Center.

The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and drove 64 yards in 12 plays to take an early lead on Lee's six-yard scoring run.

After three Bishop Carroll offensive plays and a punt, the Wildcats drove 85 yards in five plays, with Lee hauling in a 64-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Berezansky on the opening play of the second period.

That meant the Huskies had possession two minutes and 22 seconds in the first period.

Lucas Monko's fumble recovery at the Bishop Carroll 7 with 7:52 left in the half led to a Lee 5-yard scoring run two plays later to give Homer Center a 21-0 advantage.

The Huskies finally got the initial first down of the night with 9:02 left in the third period on a 58-yard run by Dan Lesny to the Homer Center 1.

Tyler Janosik scored on the next play to cut the Wildcats advantage to 21-7.

Bishop Carroll pooched the ensuing kickoff into the arms of Janosik as the Huskies had thoughts of last week when they fell behind 19-0 before coming back to defeat defending district champion Bellwood-Antis.

“I thought, ‘Oh boy, they did this last week,' and I was worried about them coming back again,” Page said.

The Huskies drove to the Homer Center 30 but lost the ball on downs when Shawn Steffee sacked Brody Shuty for a 5-yard loss.

“They're a very athletic team, very physical, and our kids were able to match up tonight,” Page said.

“Homer Center wasn't going to let us come back. They played their butts off and coach Page did a great job,” Snyder said.

Steffee recovered a Bishop Carroll fumble early in the fourth period, and the Wildcats put the game out of reach five-play drive, capped by Berezansky's 6-yard scoring run, skirting the left side of his line.

“We talked about this all summer long, getting to play on the carpet at Mansion Park,” Lee said. “We spend a lot of time lifting and conditioning, and we came out ready to play this season.”

Lee now has 1,255 rushing yards on the season.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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