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High school football practice opens officially for Golden Eagles, Blue Devils

Once again, after what seemed like an off-season that lasted forever, the local high school football season is here. No, we are not into the Backyard Brawl quite yet, that we will have to wait 18 more days for. It is the beginning of Fall preseason football practice. Passing league and group weight lifting and clinics have yielded to three-a-days. Coaches and players reported this morning at Tyrone and Bellwood, and the 2008 editions of the Golden Eagles and Blue Devils are getting ready for the Brawl and the ‘08 season.
Full practice began early for about 90 young athletes, who will tighten up their chinstraps and take part in the daily three-a-days during this first official week of practice.
Tyrone is pictured above on the left, with Bellwood-Antis on the right.
Tyrone head coach John Franco (145-29 at Tyrone, 185-76-3 overall) and assistants Steve Guthoff, John Gressler, Chuck Banas, Darin Elvey, Tony Yaniello, Ryan Hildebrand, Jason Wilson, Tom Palfey, and newcomers Jeff Lechner and volunteer Todd Templeton, welcomed 45 players, including approximately five of six starters on both offense and defense, after establishing a new Tyrone school record 32-game regular-season win streak, with the Golden Eagles third straight 9-0 regular season in 2007.
Eagle junior high coaches include head junior high coach Dan Plummer, with assistants Steve Johnson, Nate Verilla and Marvin Murray.
The Eagles will practice from 8-10:30 a.m., from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, and then from 3:30 to 6:15 p.m. during the first week of practice, leading up to a tri-scrimmage against Bishop Carroll and Bishop Guilfoyle at St. Francis University, in Loretta, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16. During the second week, practice will be from 3:30 to about 7:15 p.m., with a Friday, Aug. 22 scrimmage under the lights at Fishertown, against Chestnut Ridge, at 7 p.m. During Week Two, the mornings will be spent lifting weights and viewing films and meeting with the various position coaches.
Bellwood-Antis head coach John Hayes (217-81-2) and assistants Bill Crowell, Nick Lovrich, Scott Boyer, Chris Walker and newcomer Rick Schreier, moving up from the junior high, welcomed 45 players, including 16 returning lettermen. Practices will begin at 8:45-11:15 a.m., from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., and from 4:45-7:15 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then switch to two practices daily on Thursday and Friday, from 8:45-11:15 a.m. and from 1-3 in the afternoons. B-A will scrimmage Central at 10 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Bellwood Memorial Stadium, to complete the opening week of practice. During the second week of Fall practice, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be the same as Week One. Thursday will be 3:30-5 p.m. and the Blue Devils will scrimmage Clearfield at the Clearfield Bison Sports Complex, on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.
The Blue Devil junior high, with two undefeated seasons and only two losses, in the past three seasons have Charlie Burch as the head coach with assistants Art Partner, Chuck Erickson, Brandon Hescox, Travis Martin and newcomer Rick Kensinger.
The Blue Devils with four starters back on the offensive line, have played in the last four consecutive District finals with District 6-A titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007.