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Sports

Playing up and down

If you look at some of the things Johnstown has done in the past and even what they have done this year, you can see the Trojans are a team to be reckoned with. When, at the beginning of the year everyone found out that Tyrone was going to be playing Johnstown in the 10th week of the season, you held your breath.
That same thought probably continued when after Week 6 when Johnstown not only was 6-0, but had handed Penn Cambria, a legitimate Double-A playoff class team, their only loss.
Tyrone was having very little trouble running through their schedule as if through wet paper with nary a speedbump, but the thought was always foremost in the back of our mind-Johnstown was a very good Triple-A school!
After the Trojans played some pretty good Double-A schools in their next three games, losing 30-0 to Bishop McCort, getting by a strong Bedford team 20-14 and falling last week to Forest Hills 20-14, perhaps we can now gleam a more realistic picture of Johnstown.
Yes, beyond a doubt they are a good football team, as fast as Tyrone will face in team speed. But they are a team that has played down in size classification in all but one game. A 47-19 scrambling of Somerset, is the only Triple-A team on Johnstown’s schedule.
Johnstown, you can explain, is a member of the Laurel Highlands Conference, which consists of nine Double-A teams, Single-A Bishop Carroll and two Triple-A squads-Somerset and Johnstown. But what price does Johnstown pay for competing in a league like that and then moving up to play their own size schools in district playoffs. When is a secure schedule enough to make up for rarely going anywhere in districts, which is as Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes so often quotes “is what everything is geared up for in high school football.”
In recent years, Bishop Carroll has been the equal or better of just about everybody in the district, from Single-to Triple-A and have proved it in competition. Bishop McCort and Forest Hills have also had some big runs with success in the past few years, and Penn Cambria has been coming on hard. If you doubt that, take a look at the 30-17 lead Penn Cambria took against Tyrone last year in the playoffs, before the Eagles finally woke up in the second half. However, Carroll didn’t even qualify for districts in 2006, and if not for the fact there are just seven Triple-A schools in District 6, where would Johnstown be?
But what happens when the only teams on the schedule with more than five wins are the ones you lose to or just barely pull out a win by a single score? Is there anything gained by beating up on smaller opponents?
By contrast, Double-A Tyrone plays Bellwood-Antis and Bishop Guilfoyle, a pair of Single-A schools that historically play better and give the Eagles fits, even when they are defeated. Add three Double-A schools and including Johnstown, five Triple-A schools. Tyrone has always played up, at the same time that Johnstown has been playing down. That has certainly benefited the Orange and Black when it comes time for districts.
To sum up the point, we are making, Tyrone defeated Johnstown on Friday at Gray Veterans Memorial Field 35-7. Tyrone was the obvious better team, combining a stunning defense with a big-league passing attack, which because of weather they lacked last week at Penns Valley.
The question is, how much better would Johnstown have been, with their speed and quick-attack offense, had they played up to their own size schools for the majority of the season, instead of down, and how much off would Tyrone be had they played a lesser schedule that featured more Single-A than Double or Triple-A sized schools?