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Diary from football camp

We’re ready for the Backyard Brawl. We’re well conditioned and I know that we are going to give Bellwood a run for their money. We know that they are working hard but be sure that we are going to hang with them.
As I look back at camp, our major problem is lack of senior leadership. We only have six seniors and a bunch of juniors have had to be thrust into leadership roles.
We know going into the game that we have to hold on to the ball and not make mistakes. We’re as prepared if not more prepared than we were last year.
This camp has been tough for me. I suffered a sprained MCL early in camp and hopefully will be ready to play next week against Huntingdon.
It is tough to be a leader when you can’t be on the field with the rest of the team. I try my best to encourage everyone when they do things right or help fix things that are wrong. My teammates know that I am there for them even though I am injured.
I am not sure what role I will have when I get back to playing. The line is the foundation of our team. I hope to get some work in at tackle to give Ralph (Van Allman) and Ron (Miller) a break. I just hope to hit someone and make a contribution to the team.
Coach Franco reminded us the entire time in conditioning camp of the numbers 17-15…. last year’s score. All you heard him yell was 17-15, 17-15. It has been a motivator to push us even harder.
We have to execute the little things. Snaps from center, ball fakes and staying in lanes on special teams are some of the little things we need to execute. I know that we are up to the challenge.
It hurts not being to be able to play in the Tyrone-Bellwood game. I was hoping to be back for the game. If I had just got hurt a little sooner, I would be ready to play. It will be tough standing on the sidelines, but I know that I will be there for my teammates in the biggest game of the year.
Compiled by John Harlow

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Diary from Football Camp

It’s that time again, crunch time, make or break, all or nothing. That’s what it comes down to when the first game is this close. All in all it has been a better camp than last year because of the hard work and perseverence that every one on the team has put forth.
From the second string junior varsity team players to the first string varsity players we have all made our way through the tough part of the season. Three-A-days are a tradition where the “steel” is made through the process of fire. Coach Franco has really pushed us and that combined with the extreme heat and humidity — that every Tyrone player loves — the steel was formed. This has made the team as a whole a stronger unit physically and especially helped the team unite. This has made the leaders known and their presence shown it practice and our scrimmages.
There are only a few seniors this year and the junior class that I belong to really has stepped up. This year will be much different than last year, because I will have to step it up and become a much more active player than I was as a sophomore.
We’re at less than 48 hours until game time against Bellwood-Antis. We know that they are working hard up there and we have something to prove. It has been three years since we beat them and our season is Friday night. The Big 8 is its own season, but Friday night is a one game season with the community pride on the line.
The final full practice is over. All that is left is special teams and a walk through on Thursday. I really believe that we are more ready this year than we were last year.
We have some big shoes to fill. With Mert (Tyler Mertiff) gone, Brandon Maceno and Leonard Wilson have to step up and lead the offense. They are working hard and we have a good supporting cast around them to help make their transition to varsity quarterback better.
Coach Guthoff has us ready to hit on defense and we’re going to leave everything on the field.
Coach Franco keeps reminding us of the score last year. He keeps saying 17-15. It helps motivate us to be ready.
No mistakes, no penalties, no turnovers is the goal and to play every play like it is the last play of the state championship game. That is our plan Friday night. When we leave the field, we will know that we gave it everything we had.
Compiled by John Harlow

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Diary from football camp

As Friday night is drawing closer, things are getting a lot more intense. You get a sense that everybody’s getting geared up. Goof off time is done. Everyone’s focused on the game. Everyone’s doing every drill perfect everytime.
I don’t see a whole lot of differenece in responsibility now that I am a starter. Last year on the look team, I took that responsibility seriously. If we didn’t do our part on the look team, the starters wouldn’t be as well prepared for Friday night as they could have been.
Now as a starter, I see some of the sophomores learning the value of the look team. I always looked at being on the look team as an important responsibility.We’ve been pushing this year’s look team to give their best effort so we can be prepared for Friday night. I still have a lot of responsibility this year, but the major difference is that I will be running on to the field on Friday night, not just on Monday night.
There is a lot of pressure on us as Tyrone football players. There is not just pressure of living up to the pressure to the tradition that has been set since coach Franco has been here, but we know that our community and our school has high expectations for our class. They have been hanging on us since we played junior high football.
The pressure of playing isn’t what I worry about. I worry about the ‘Big Head Syndrome’ that could come over our class. Things aren’t just going to fall into place. Everybody has to do their part. That comes from putting the time in the weight room, doing all our drills at 100 percent to live up to the expectations placed on our class.
I am excited, but nervous for my first varsity start on Friday night. I played on every special team last year, but you can bet that the butterflies are going to be there on Friday night. I am getting excited to be strapping on a helmet and wearing the Orange and Black on Friday night against our arch rival.
There is a leadership role that our underclassmen have to perform this year. Our seniors are leaders, but there are only six of them. We are right there with our seniors being leaders of the squad. There is a lot of responsibility on us, but we are up to the task and we’ll be ready to play on Friday night.
Compiled by John Harlow

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Diary from football camp

Today (Wednesday) was a pretty good day of practice. It was the first day with just one practice and we were sharp and crisp in practice. We still have a pretty big week ahead of us, so it was important to have a good practice.
Leonard Wilson and I have both been working hard at quarterback throughout camp. Coach Franco says we are both pretty equal in the way we have played throughout camp. He keeps telling us that both of us have to be ready because both of us will be playing quarterback this season.
It is pretty hard playing quarterback for Tyrone. Brandon Hoover won a state championship and two district titles and Mert (Tyler Mertiff) broke every passing record in Tyrone history.
We’ve got a pretty good running game that is going to help take the pressure off of Leonard and I at quarterback. With Brice (Mertiff), Ben (Gummo) and Brinton (Mingle) all capable of making big plays at running back, it will help take some of the pressure off of the quarterbacks.
Having Tommy Crowl at receiver also helps make things easier for a quarterback. He makes plays. If we throw a ball in the general vicinity, he is going to come down with it. He helps turn bad passes into big plays with his ability to go get the ball.
Another thing that will help is having such a big line that is very experienced. Justin (Clark), Terry (Tate) and Ralph (Van Allman) all started last year and Jake (Houck) and Ron (Emigh) have played well throughout camp. In our scrimmage on Saturday against Penn Cambria and Bishop Carroll, neither Leonard or I were touched when we dropped back to pass the ball. Their pass blocking was great and we should have plenty of time to pass when coach Franco wants to throw the ball.
I am still making adjustments on defense making the switch from linebacker to defensive back. Last year, I filled in for Dan Grazier when he got hurt in the Bellefonte game. The move to defensive back is to help make sure I stay healthy to play quarterback. I love playing linebacker, but this is a team game and I will do what it takes to help make the team better.
Friday against Chestnut Ridge, we are hoping to look sharp. This scrimmage is as close to game conditions as there is. The clock runs, there are referees and we move the chains. Chestnut Ridge is supposed to be pretty good this year. We hope we play well and come out of the scrimmage healthy to get ready for the backyard brawl on August 29.
Compiled by John Harlow

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Diary from Football Camp

We had a good day of practice today coming off of our scrimmage on Saturday with Penn Cambria and Bishop Carroll. They both are solid football teams and gave us a good idea of the kind of competition we will face in the season.
I feel that our offensive line pass blocked well and our quarterbacks and receivers worked well together in the passing game, but we still need to work to improve our run blocking. That comes with more and more repetitions.
This year, the junior class needs to lead as much as the seniors. Many of us have experience from playing last year. That experience will help us get better as juniors because we know the calls and blocking schemes and don’t have to think about it like last year.
Defensively, our ends Justin Clark and Max Soellner put good pressure on the quarterbacks and we attacked forward, but there is still plenty of work we need to do. Coaches (John) Meredith and (John) Gressler are working with the linemen with different moves and rushes that will get us into the backfield and bust up some plays before they get going.
Football is much different than wrestling and track. The other two sports I compete in are individual competition. If I get beat on the mat, there is nobody I can look at for help. In football, I have the support and help of 10 other guys. There could be plays that I miss a block, but someone is there to cover my back. There may be plays on defense that I take two players out to open up the linebacker to make the tackle. It is a much different game than anything else I have ever played and something that I enjoy very much.
Today at lunch is buddy day. We have to tell coach Franco who our buddies are, their parents, where they live, any brothers or sisters and one interesting tidbit. The buddy system helps us get closer as a team and buddy day at lunch is always a good time.
Today is the last day of three-a-day practices and I am looking forward to getting the season underway.
We put a lot of hard work in conditioning and three-a-days and I am looking forward to see how it pays off during the regular season.
Look for me on television, I am the office linebacker in Reebok commercials.
Compiled by John Harlow

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Diary from Football Camp

Today’s practice was tougher than the rest mostly because it was much warmer than the rest of the week. It is good for us because the first game it is always hot.
Practice this week has been tough. We have to practice as hard as we can because in the games it is even tougher.
Coach Franco has us doing the buddy system like we did last year. My buddy last year Tyler Mertiff along with Brian McManigal and Blake Cowfer have graduated, and they are missed. They made sure we worked hard, but also made things fun. This year my buddy is Josh Crabtree and we are getting to know each other.
I have been looking forward to camp all summer long. It is a chance to hit somebody.
Saturday when we scrimage Bishop Carroll and Penn Cambria, it will give us a chance to hit someone other than out teammates and bust some heads and break some bones.
Playing football at Tyrone is something that I have enjoyed. It has been a great three years when I graduate I know that I still would want to be on the field playing.
Maybe someday after I graduate, I will get a chance to coach. I have been lucky to learn from a lot of great coaches at Tyrone and someday I hope to share what I learned with somebody else.
Lunch is the best time at football camp. You get to hang with your buddies and get a break from the hard work. Brandon Maceno always makes you laugh at lunch.
We’re working hard to get ready for Bellwood. They are always tough, but we are coming together as a team and we’ll be ready to play the night of the backyard brawl.

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Diary from Football Camp

Wednesday was a tough but productive day of practice. We’re starting to come together in all phases, offense, defense and special teams.
On Monday and Tuesday, a lot of us were thinking of where we were supposed to be in certain formations or defensive alignments, but on Wednesday, it is starting to become natural.
Coach Franco has put the buddy system back in for this year. As it did last year, I feel that it is starting to bring us closer together as a team.
It was much different in Wednesday’s practice than it was Monday and Tuesday. The wet weather practices didn’t bother us that much, considering we played the last five games last season in the rain. We were pretty used to it. Getting a glimpse of the sun and heat on Wednesday was something we needed. It is tough to get a crisp practice in the rain and wet field.
Saturday should be a tough day. We scrimmage Penn Cambria and Bishop Carroll. Both teams are tough and should be a good measuring stick to how we will perform as a team. It will also be nice to hit someone other than your teammate.
As a receiver, camp has been an adjustment. Catching passes from Tyler (Mertiff) the past two years and now adjusting to Brandon (Maceno) and Leonard (Wilson) is coming along everyday. By the time the season gets rolling, we should be in good shape in the passing game. You have to be more precise in your routes to make sure that our timing is right.
We’re looking forward to a good season. We have a big, tough offensive line, good skill people and we are coming together as a team.
Saturday, we finally get to hit somebody else and that will be a good idea of what will happen on August 29.
Compiled by John Harlow.

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Diary From Football Camp

The second day of camp was another step towards us coming together as a team.
We are in a situation where there are positions that are not guaranteed, meaning that everyone has to step it up and bust their butts to earn a position. So far everyone has kept a positive attitude throughout all they have had to endure during camp. We have even requested to do extra up downs after conditioning on some occasions.
Having been a sophomore once I know how hard the transition is from junior high practice to varsity practice. This group of sophomores have pushed themselves hard and made it through .We have been able to keep a positive attitude mainly because we know that once the season comes, we get to make everyone else pay for the pain that we have gone through. This especially applies to a few select teams whose names I don’t need to mention, they know who they are.
Since I was injured last year and had to miss the Bellwood game, I have two years worth of bottled up aggression to let out in one night. That being said, the entire team, not just me, is biting at the bit to hit some people on August 29th.
Compiled by John Harlow