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Homer-Center prepares for Steel High in PIAA quarterfinals

| Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, 11:51 p.m.
Randy Thomas | For The Dispatch
Members of the Homer-Center football team pose triumphantly with their District 6 championship trophy after defeating Bishop Guilfoyle last Saturday at Altoona's Mansion Park Field.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Homer-Center QB Aaron Berezansky watches as Ean Lee carries the ball during the Wildcats' win at the District 6 Championship Nov. 23 at Mansion Park in Altoona.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Homer-Center's Aaron Berezansky looks down field during the Wildcats' win at the District 6 Championship Nov. 23 at Mansion Park in Altoona.

Homer-Center football coach Greg Page was busy earlier this week multitasking.

As the school's athletic director, he spent Monday reserving hotel rooms and bus transportation.

When you make the state playoffs in Pennsylvania, there is a chance you'll be traveling.

Saturday, Homer-Center will head to Hershey, not to enjoy the Christmas Candylane at the amusement park, but to battle District 3 champion Steelton-Highspire (11-1) in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round game at Hersheypark Stadium. Kickoff is at noon.

“Believe me, I'd rather be watching film,” Page said. “But it hasn't been too bad; I've had help from other administrators.”

Page's main job is getting his team refocused after it rallied in the final 3:40 of the District 6 title game to shock Bishop Guilfoyle, 22-12, to claim the program's first district title.

Up next is a talented Steel High club that has allowed only 76 points.

Steel High's only loss was a double-forfeit with Susquenita when a fight interrupted the game. District 3 officials declared the game a loss for both teams.

But Page said he's glad to be coaching this late in the season.

“We knew we had a chance to be good,” Page said. “This is a special group, one of a kind.

“At first I said I'd be happy with a run at the District 6 title. Now that we won, no way am I satisfied. I want more. It's a rollercoaster ride in the playoffs, up after winning a title and now getting refocused for the state playoffs.”

Page doesn't have to look far for advice about preparing for the state playoffs. He just has to ask his dad, Jerry, who coached at Laurel Valley. Jerry Page's Laurel Valley team played Duquesne in the 1993 playoffs.

“He said take your normal approach,” Page said. “It's a chance to advance and do what you do.”

Homer-Center (12-1) bounced back from a regular season-ending loss at Portage to roll through the District 6 tournament. Page said the loss helped refocus the team.

Steel High will present a different challenge. The school located near Harrisburg has good athletes, nice size and an aggressive line.

Running back Shaheim Moody-Williams has rushed for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns. Quarterback James Warren has rushed for 675 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 37 of 89 passes for 735 yards and nine touchdowns.

“We haven't seen their style this season,” Page said. “We'll have to tackle well and be disciplined.

“Steel High is noted for their toughness. I doubt we'll be intimidated by their history; we just have to keep our poise.”

Page will rely on his two 1,000-yard running backs to lead the offense. Junior Ean Lee has rushed for 1,352 yards and senior Mike Newhouse 1,051. Quarterback Aaron Berezansky can air it out, completing 49 of 83 passes for 723 yards.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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