Huntingdon (0-1) at Bellefonte (0-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Coaches: B — Shanon Manning, first season; H — Mike Hudy
Last meeting: Bellefonte 29; Huntingdon 14, last season
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Key players: B — Mark Armstrong, QB; H — Devon Claar, RB
The skinny: Huntingdon was one of two Bellefonte victories last year when the Red Raiders beat the Bearcats on the road in week two.
Kahsim Buey and Brian White combined to rush for 292 yards in that game, but Buey has transferred and White graduated. Bellefonte (0-1) and first-year coach Shanon Manning must find others to rely on in against Huntingdon (0-1).
“It’s real big at this point,” Manning said. “Part of the process when you’re taking over a new program is you’re getting to know your personnel.“
With so much youth on the roster, especially at skill positions, Manning said sometimes the best way to evaluate the talent you have is to see it in game situations.
“Except for Doylan Deitrich and Nick Leiter, they’re all sophomores,” Manning said.
The Red Raiders were crushed in week one by a veteran Bald Eagle Area squad 49-7. They managed just 105 yards of total offense and gained eight first downs. BEA held Deitrich and Leiter, both seniors, in check.Sophomore Austin Jackson was the leader on the ground with 26 yards on three carries.
They will face a Huntingdon squad smarting from a 26-20 loss in week one to Mount Union.
Like the Raiders, the Bearcats also run from the wing-T formation. Senior backs Devon Claar and Rhett Stetchock combined for 289 yards last weekend. Claar rushed 14 times for 179 yards and a score, while Stetchock put in 13 carries for 110 yards.
“When you watch tape it doesn’t take long to figure out they are extremely fast,” Manning said. “And they are veterans at the skill positions.”
That speed carries over to the defensive side as well.
Claar, a safety, also added 10 tackles (six unassisted) in week one. Linebacker Logan Gallagher led the team with 12.
The Bearcats also had four sacks in the game, two of which came from senior defensive end Josh Neyman.
Bellefonte will need to find some offensive rhythm to sustain drives and keep its defense from logging too many time-consuming drives.
The Red Raiders got just four completions and 53 yards in the passing game last week.
“I think the kids are working hard,” Manning said. “I didn’t think they quit playing on Friday night. I didn’t feel they got down on each other. They have the big picture in mind and they understand it was one game out of 10 — and a game we get to play again at the end of the season.”