Two-A-Days: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference
6 Sports Two-A-Days rolls on through the LHAC.
First on the list are the Cambria Heights Highlanders who finished the 2017 season 8-4, 7-3 in district play. The Highlanders return 13 seniors to the roster, 12 of those include starters. Coach Jarrod Lewis and his staff are emphasizing leadership roles for 2018.
The Bedford Bison faced plenty of adversity last year, finishing with a 3-7 record. An inexperienced roster led to a forgettable season, but this year could change things. With a healthy quarterback ready to go and plenty of lineman returning, more wins could be on the horizon.
The Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers are fresh off of an outstanding 2017 stint. They tallied 10 wins, which included two postseason games. This season they will look to replace two 2,000-yard backs and seven starters.
Westmont Hilltop welcomes back a variety of talent this fall. Last season the Hilltoppers made a postseason push late in the year upsetting Bellwood-Antis. But now all eyes are on the 2018 season where Westmont returns a core part of their front line.
The Greater Johnstown Trojans fronted an 8-4 record last season under head coach Tonny Penna Jr. The program saluted twenty-three seniors last fall, and will need to replace a magnitude of talent. With a few returners down in the trenches it will be vital for the line to anchor down the squad.
Another team in the LHAC that fell under the five hundred mark, are the Central Cambria Red Devils. They completed 2017 with only 2 wins under first-year head coach Shane McGregor. The roster will look awfully familiar come this fall as a number of returners make their way back.
The Richland Rams lacked varsity experience last fall, but come Fridays that will not be the case. Quarterback Joe Hauser will lead the Ram offense as they aim for a playoff birth.
Coach Don Bailey and his Forest Hills Rangers are no strangers to winning. Last year they finished with an 11-2 record, but fell short in the quarterfinals. They return a four year starting quarterback Adam Cecere, who will carry most of the weight this season.
Head Coach Max Shoemaker and the Chestnut Ridge Lions rode a wave all the way to the D5-8 Subregional Championship game in 2017. In 2018 they will be tested with replacing a few key cogs from that squad, as well as making the difficult switch to the LHAC, but Shoemaker believes all the meaningful games his kids have played will make for a smooth transition.
The Somerset Golden Eagles enter 2018 fresh off a season that saw them finish 3-7 and miss the playoffs in 2018. Head Coach Bob Landis enters year number 8 guiding the program, and believes the emphasis on team speed could push the Eagles back to the top of the conference.
2018 will be uncharted territory for the Bishop Guilfoyle Marauders. At least as far as the past three seasons go. The program saw its storied 59 game winning streak come to an end in the district title game against Homer Center in 2017, but head coach Justin Wheeler is actually excited for the opportunity it gives his team. Bishop Guilfoyle returns just three starters on each side of the football, which means the next crop of talent will get the chance to develop and fill the shoes of some of the standouts that graduated this past year.
John Franco enters his second full season as head coach at Penn Cambria. His track record speaks for itself, he's won wherever hes been including a state title while at Tyrone. This season has a different feel for the Panthers as they come off a win less season in 2017. Franco can see the culture starting to change, and the kids are getting a feel for the style of coaching he employs, as well as the style of play necessary for the team to have success.