By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
TOWER CITY — In a turnaround from last season, there was no hanging of the heads on the Upper Dauphin sideline during Camp Hill’s 24-point third quarter last Friday night.
“Last year, we might have dropped our heads when we got behind, but this year, our kids tried to get one score back at a time and we didn’t get down nor give up from a team perspective,” Brent Bell, UDA head coach said.
The Trojans (0-1) were tied with Camp Hill at 14 all heading into halftime, but lost 45-29 in the season opener.
“They have a running back in Billy Williams and there were times when we had our best player on him and we couldn’t catch him,” he said. “Sometimes we were out of positions. There are a lot of people who will have a tough time stopping him.”
One positive that Bell liked was the way the team rebounded after getting scored on first.
“Our kids played hard and (quarterback) Mac Ney had a good game and Shannon Miller at flanker made some big plays,” he said.
Another positive that Bell is taking away from the loss is the different number of defensive fronts, blitzes and stunt packages Camp Hill used.
“It was good for our more inexperienced offense and looking at it on film, they understand they don’t have to panic, and just stick with our rules,” he said.
Friday night’s trip to the coal region opens the Tri-Valley League schedule for the Trojans who run a similar offense to Williams Valley.
“They play a 4-4 and sometimes a 5-0 on defense,” Bell said. “They have a solid run game as well.”
Cole Barnhardt and Trevor Whelski are the main running backs for Williams valley, and each rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year.
The Vikings (1-0) opened the season with a 46-12 win over Minersville.
“Last week’s game against Camp Hill was a good preview for what we will see on Friday from Barnhardt and Whelski,” Bell said. “It gave us an indication of some things that were not working for us and in some cases, it forced us to make some personnel changes.”
The biggest concern that Bell has going into Friday’s TVL opener is not so much the speed, but the aggressive style of football that Williams Valley plays.
“We can’t panic,” Bell said. “We know what Barnhardt is capable of and he’s a threat to be a game-breaker as well. We have some kids that can be game breakers for us too. I told the kids, our goals for this year still exist; we just have to stay focused and do the things we know how to do as a team.”
Williams Valley was 9-0 in the TVL last year and 12-1 overall, losing to Bristol in the state playoffs. They jumped out to a 33-0 lead over the Battlin’ Miners at halftime last week.
Williams Valley won the game last year against Upper Dauphin 41-7,