One team was slow to get out of the gate. Another was all over the place — figuratively and literally.
Now, the Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola football teams will look to further dial-in their squads when they renew their rivalry tonight at Memorial Field in Philipsburg.
The two rivals have traded wins in the series dating back to the 2008 season. Last fall, P-O won 32-7.
“Our kids look forward to any rivalry game within the county,” Bald Eagle Area coach Jack Tobias said. “P-O and Bellefonte, those are special games to the kids and you get a little bit more focus and going into the game there’s a little bit higher enthusiasm.”
In addition to establishing early-season bragging rights, the game will also provide both teams an early opportunity to remedy mistakes that bogged them down on opening night.
Tobias’ Eagles (1-0) made slight in-game adjustments last week and were able to steadily pull away from a pesky Bellefonte squad and post a 42-17 win. The Eagles led 14-9 at halftime and didn’t register their initial first down until the game was nearly 15 minutes old.
Eventually, BEA found a groove on the ground, finishing with 326 yards on 49 carries, split between seven ballcarriers.
“We really only played two quarters of football last week,” Tobias said. “First quarter, a quarter and a half, or quarter and three-quarters, we were off. We were making mistakes and not executing. Our big thing was, we need to start fast and finish fast.”
The Mounties (0-1) were left scratching their heads after a Week 1 disaster. Opening at Memorial Field, they committed six turnovers — three on fumbled return attempts — to a talented Line Mountain team that left them red-faced in a 56-0 pounding.
In the end, Line Mountain out gained P-O 407-89 in total yardage.
“We just can’t give people the football six or eight times in our own territory,” Vroman said. “You can’t do anything then. That’s been the concentration of this week, trying to get some consistency and continuity in all facets of the game.”
The Mounties have dedicated more time during practice this week to ball-security drills and returns, Vroman said. It’ll help that P-O will welcome back three normal starters along the defensive line.
Personnel changes on nearly every unit undermined the Mounties’ ability to communicate to a degree as inexperienced players plugged-in for starters who were out of the lineup.
“Last week, we had basically six players playing in positions that they normally wouldn’t play in,” Vroman said. “We had to do that because you have four or five starters out and you have to kind of move some things around. That hurts the continuity.”
Tobias said he wouldn’t read too much into the Mounties’ debacle in Week 1. Instead, he’s had his team ready to face a P-O team of normal caliber. The Mounties have won seven of the last nine meetings with BEA.
A quicker start than what the Eagles managed in Week 1 would help, as would sniffing out the Mounties’ knack for misdirection plays often.
Unfortunately for BEA, there aren’t many offensive highlights to scout from P-O’s first game.
“They had six turnovers. That’s not a typical Philipsburg team,” Tobias said. “They’re usually very disciplined and do a very nice job offensively and defensively. We expect that to be the team that we normally face.”
Travis Johnson can be reached at 231-4629. Follow him on Twitter @traviswjohnson_