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The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

Lining Up for Success

Tyrone’s improved offensive and defensive lines are paving the way for success.
Braden+Ewing
Ashlynn McKinney
Braden Ewing

When asked to identify the key to his team’s current five-game win streak, Tyrone head coach John Franco did not hesitate to answer.

“The key to success in any football team is the offensive line, and next comes the defensive line,” Franco said. “It’s not a coincidence that we have a five-game winning streak and both of our lines are playing so well.”

The key to success in any football team is the offensive line, and next comes the defensive line. It’s not a coincidence that we have a five-game winning streak and both of our lines are playing so well

— Head Coach John Franco

Franco knew he had a tremendous anchor in senior Braden Ewing, the only returning member from last year’s offensive line, and a three-year starter and captain.

However, with the other four positions on this year’s offensive line all being first-year starters, there were more questions than answers.

“Even though we had Ewing returning, who is without a doubt the finest lineman on either side of the ball in all of District 6, with four new starters, the line was a big concern for us,” said Franco.

The players and coaches knew that the line would take some time to come together as a unit.

After a rough start, in which Tyrone lost three of its first four games, seniors Jake Rice and Richard Rawlings, junior Cian Hockenberry, and sophomore John Stanton have been getting better every week, opening up big holes for Brady Ronan and Seth Hoover, and allowing Ashton Walk time in the pocket to get the ball to playmakers like Andrew Weaver and Drayvn Crowell.

One key to the success of the offensive line has been the return of junior Cian Hockenberry, who missed the first four games of the season due to injury.

Hockenberry returned to the field for the Bishop Guilfoyle game, which was a big upset win for the Golden Eagles, and a turning point for the season.

In the first four games, before the current starting group began to gel, the Eagles only rushed for 414 yards with more than half of that total, 242 yards, coming against 0-9 Greater Johnstown.

But since the Backyard Brawl in week five, the O-line has paved the way for five straight games with at least 100 rushing yards rushing, for a total of 770 yards.

“The improvement from the beginning of the season to now has been monumental. The mentality of each guy has completely changed. In the beginning, we were less aggressive, but now everyone has the attack mentality and goes out there and blocks until the whistle every play. The chemistry up front has also greatly improved. We all have full trust in the guy next to us, and full trust in the guys backing us up,” said Ewing.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive line has also improved, bullying opposing lines during the team’s current five-game win streak.

The improvement from the beginning of the season to now has been monumental. The mentality of each guy has completely changed. In the beginning, we were less aggressive, but now everyone has the attack mentality and goes out there and blocks until the whistle every play.

— Braden Ewing

Defensive starters Andrew Weaver, Braden Ewing, Richard Rawlings, and John Stanton, along with Ian Gibbons who rotates in a lot at defensive end, have shut down opposing team’s run games and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

During the win streak, the D-line has held teams to a total of 687 yards rushing.

Penns Valley did put up 207 yards rushing against the Golden Eagles, but most of those yards came in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand against Tyrone’s JV squad.

In the last four games, Tyrone has limited their opponents to an average of less than 120 yards on the ground. Again, those totals would have been even lower because many of those yards were given up in the final quarter of blowout wins.

The line has also combined for 27 tackles for losses and 4 sacks putting opponents’ offenses in many third and long situations helping the Eagles’ defense to get off the field.

This week will be a big test for the Tyrone lineman against 6-4 Forest Hills. The Rangers are on a four-game win streak of their own.

Offensively, the Rangers average over 30 points per game, with sophomore Xander Richardson leading the team with 14 touchdowns.

The Rangers average over 330 yards in total offense per game, with most of the damage being done on the ground, with a 6 yards-per-carry average and 170 yards rushing per game.

Defensively, the Rangers have held six of their opponents to less than 14 points, with one shutout. Their only defensive stumbles were in losses against Penn Cambria, Chestnut Ridge, and Richland in consecutive weeks.

If Tyrone’s defensive line can keep the Rangers under 20 points and the offensive line can open up holes like they have been doing recently, the Golden Eagles could realistically make a return to the District 6 Championship game this season.

And while the skill players scoring the touchdowns will likely get most of the credit, Coach Franco knows that much of that credit belongs to his improved lineman.

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About the Contributors
Austin Lucas, Staff Writer
Austin Lucas is a junior at Tyrone High School. This is his second year in Eagle Eye. In his freetime, he likes to play sports, hang out with friends and family, and listen to music. Some of his favorite artists are Drake and Zach Bryan. Austin plays football, where he plays linebacker and tight end, and he also runs track. This year, he will continue TSPN with his ol’ buddy Logan Rumberger, which placed 3rd at the Keystone Media Awards last year. He also hopes to write some sports stories throughout the year.
Ashlynn McKinney, Photo Editor
Hello, this is Ashlynn! She is a senior and this is her third and final year in Eagle Eye. She is very involved in her school community; she is an officer in YAN, a member of the Student Council, Golden Revolution, Prom Committee, NHS, Mock Trial, Quiz League, and Speech Team, and she is also on the tennis and swim teams. Often Ashlynn can be found with her camera, usually taking pictures at some sporting event. Ashlynn hopes to continue improving her photography skills and cover news stories that are important to the community. After high school, she plans to attend a four-year university with a major in biology in hopes of one day becoming a doctor.

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