This Saturday at Mansion Park in Altoona, the Tyrone Golden Eagles will make their first trip to the District 6 Championship game since 2014 when the Golden Eagles defeated Mount Union for their 10th district title in school history.
Their opponent, the Central Scarlet Dragons features a dynamic offense and quick defense. Central bested Westmont Hilltop last week in their semi-final playoffs game, 25-7.
Last week the Golden Eagles eliminated a talented Penn Cambria Panthers team with a gutsy 20-14 win.
A District Championship game against Central is a fitting end to what has been a spirited annual rivalry. The Dragons will leave the Mountain League after this season, so meetings between the two teams will be limited to the playoffs.
“I am really happy that our team has the opportunity to experience playing in a district championship game,” said Tyrone Head Coach John Franco, “It is an excellent event, and the only thing better than that is to win a district championship. We’re all excited, and I’m excited to be back in the finals, but now we have to play like we belong there.”
Like Tyrone, Central also finished the COVID-shortened regular season undefeated.
The Scarlet Dragons are led by great play from sophomore quarterback Jeff Hoenstine.
Hoenstine has 1785 yards passing on 112 completions out of 173 attempts, with 23 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions through seven games.
Hoenstine also has 53 rushes for 313 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, proving to be quite the dual-threat.
“If we can contain Hoenstine and not let him get anywhere on the scramble, that will give us time for our secondary to make plays in coverage,” said senior linebacker Dean Grassi.
Central has yet to experience a secondary like Tyrone’s, which is full of playmakers, or a consistent, unrelenting pass rush.
The Tyrone defense key to winning the game is getting Hoenstine under constant pressure and immediately shutting down the running/scrambling options.
Also, the Golden Eagle secondary must lock up and hold the skilled Scarlet Dragon receivers to no/limited receptions and yards.
On the offensive end, the Golden Eagles have to establish a powerful running game that will open up the playbook for a solid passing game. Tyrone has its own dual threat at quarterback and should find success against a fast-paced defense.
If Tyrone can put a full game together out of the offense, defense, and at the least stabilize the special teams, they should be able to claim their 11th district title.
Expect a game with crucial defensive stops and explosive plays.
Kickoff is at 7pm at Mansion Park this Saturday, Nov. 1. The Eagle Eye will steam the game on its YouTube channel.