Bedford is coming off an impressive season-opening victory against Westmont Hilltop, a win highlighted by a goal-line stand followed by a fourth-quarter scoring surge.
Forest Hills had a tough opener, falling at Chestnut Ridge, in the first game of Justin Myers’ coaching tenure at his alma mater.
Still, each team’s coach saw a foundation to build upon after Week 1. Both coaches also felt there is room for improvement as they lead their squads into Friday’s 7 p.m. kickoff at Bedford.
“Stopping Westmont’s running game is a challenge. They run the ball very well. We were able to hold them under 160 yards,” Bedford coach Kevin Steele said of his team’s 22-8 victory. “We were physical. We tackled very well and didn’t give up big plays.
“Offensively we felt like we left some points out on the field with turnovers and penalties. Hopefully we’ll clean up some things on the offensive side.”
Bedford stopped the Hilltoppers on fourth down from 1-foot out late in the third quarter with the game tied at 8-all.
The Bisons added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, the second set up by a late interception.
Forest Hills fell 35-7 to quarterback Logan Pfister and the Lions in Week 1.
“Last week we played better than what we thought, meaning we made a lot of good plays on offense especially, but we had too many mistakes,” said Myers after watching video of the game. “We’re young on the offensive side of the ball and defensive side of the ball. Things are going to happen. This week we’ve focused on improving on the mistakes we made last week.”
The Rangers had a fumbled kickoff return that led to a Chestnut Ridge score.
Tailback Damon Crawley had a 54-yard touchdown run negated by a penalty in the second quarter. But Myers said the team will learn from the experience.
“This week at practice I was very proud of our kids,” Myers said. “They were very focused. They came with a workmanlike attitude.
“They want to get better. They were embarrassed last week. I was embarrassed last week. They came in this week wanting to get better and they are.”
Bedford and Forest Hills traditionally have played each other tough. Since the teams first met in 1983, the series record is 15-15-1.
“That’s a credit to coach Bailey,” Steele said of Don Bailey, who retired after 45 seasons and 375 wins at Forest Hills. “In my opinion, he’s a class act and he ran an outstanding program. We’re one of the few programs in the area that have been competitive with them over a long period of time.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to have success against them in the past. Hopefully we can play well and start a new streak and get on the right side of .500.”
Myers knows his team’s second straight road trip to Bedford County will present another challenge.
“It’s always tough playing down in Bedford,” the Rangers coach said. “It’s a long drive for us. Plus, the atmosphere for the home team is great. They’re well prepared.
“It’s an intimidating place to play. Bedford is always one of the teams to beat. There’s no change this year. Coach has them on the right track. They should be in the top in the Laurel Highlands this year.”
Bishop McCort Catholic (0-1) at Somerset (0-1)
Last meeting: Somerset 19, Bishop McCort Catholic 16.
Last week: Bishop McCort Catholic lost 28-14 to Richland; Somerset fell 26-0 to Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic.
About the Crimson Crushers: Senior quarterback Will Miller had a balanced night with a net 80 rushing yards (one TD) and 156 passing yards (one TD) against Richland. Jordan Page caught three passes for 157 yards, including a 65-yard TD.
About the Golden Eagles: Somerset looks for a boost on offense after gaining 25 yards on 32 rushes and passing for 19 yards yards in a shutout loss to Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic. Riley Zylstra had nine tackles and a sack.
Cambria Heights (1-0) at Richland (1-0)
Last meeting: Richland 35, Cambria Heights 6.
Last week: Cambria Heights defeated Penn Cambria 42-6; Richland beat Bishop McCort Catholic 28-14.
About the Highlanders: Cambria Heights ran on all but two plays against Penn Cambria, gaining 350 rushing yards. Tyler Trybus ran for 195 yards and three scores. Defensive end Bailey Horvath had a blocked punt leading to a score.
About the Rams: Richland sophomore quarterback Kellan Stahl completed 15 of 20 passes for 150 yards and a TD, while also rushing for two scores against Bishop McCort Catholic. Trevor Tustin returned a kickoff 77 yards to reestablish a two touchdown advantage after the Crushers had closed the gap.
Central Cambria (1-0) at Penn Cambria (0-1)
Last meeting: Penn Cambria 32, Central Cambria 3.
Last week: Central Cambria beat Greater Johnstown 54-7; Penn Cambria lost 42-6 to Cambria Heights.
About the Red Devils: Senior Dylan Long made 12 tackles and ran for a team-high 69 yards against Johnstown. Hobbs Dill had two TDs in the opener.
About the Panthers: Penn Cambria quarterback Garrett Harrold completed 17 of 27 passes for 200 yards at Cambria Heights. Jake Tsikalas had nine catches for 119 yards.
Chestnut Ridge (1-0) at Greater Johnstown (0-1)
Last meeting: Chestnut Ridge 22, Greater Johnstown 0.
Last week: Chestnut Ridge defeated Forest Hills 35-7; Greater Johnstown lost 54-7 to Central Cambria.
About the Lions: Chestnut Ridge quarterback Logan Pfister is a dual threat, completing 13 of 15 passes for 179 yards and rushing for 89 yards against Forest Hills. Trey Maxwell ran for three touchdowns.
About the Trojans: Quarterback Sammy Barber completed 8 of 16 passes for 144 yards against Central Cambria. Freshman Tavione Thomas had a 74-yard touchdown run.
Conemaugh Township (0-1) at Berlin Brothersvalley (1-0)
Last meeting: Conemaugh Township 42, Berlin Brothersvalley 21.
Last week: Conemaugh Township lost 52-6 to Windber; Berlin Brothersvalley beat host Shade 42-6.
About the Indians: Quarterback Jackson Byer completed 13 of 28 passes for 114 yards and Conemaugh Township’s lone touchdown against Windber. Brady Kist had the 28-yard TD catch.
About the Mountaineers: Berlin Brothersvalley’s Will Spochart rushed for 106 yards and passed for 94 against Shade. Abe Countryman passed for 99 yards as the Mountaineers used two quarterbacks.
Blacklick Valley (0-1) at Meyersdale (1-0)
Last meeting: Meyersdale 30, Blacklick Valley 26.
Last week: Blacklick Valley lost 48-0 to Portage; Meyersdale beat Ferndale 49-13.
About the Vikings: Blacklick Valley looks to bounce back after the Vikings had five turnovers and netted 45 total yards in a shutout loss to Portage.
About the Red Raiders: Backup quarterback Briar Sheets stepped in due to an injury to starter Mahlon Reese and threw for 144 yards and two scores while completing 9 of 11 passes against Ferndale. Devin Kretchman rushed for 106 yards and four touchdowns.
North Star (1-0) at Portage (1-0)
Last meeting: Portage 62, North Star 0.
Last week: North Star shut out Conemaugh Valley 21-0; Visiting Portage blanked Blacklick Valley 48-0.
About the Cougars: Ty Maluchnik gained 207 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns against Conemaugh Valley. The Cougars snapped an 11-game losing streak and will look for first win over Portage since 2000.
About the Mustangs: Portage has won 16 straight games against North Star, a streak that began in 2001. The Mustangs gained 354 rushing yards against Blacklick Valley with Gabe Forst running for 94.
Ferndale (0-1) at Windber (1-0)
Last meeting: Windber 21, Ferndale 13.
Last week: Ferndale lost 49-13 to Meyersdale; Windber beat host Conemaugh Township 52-6.
About the Yellow Jackets: Chance Kelly completed 8 of 14 passes for 112 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tajahi Thomas, against Meyersdale.
About the Ramblers: Windber collected 450 total yards on offense, including 391 on the ground against Conemaugh Township.
The Ramblers defense allowed 181 net yards and forced two turnovers.
Ligonier Valley (1-0) at Penns Manor (1-0)
Last meeting: Ligonier Valley 48, Penns Manor 8.
Last week: Ligonier Valley blanked Homer-Center 67-0; Penns Manor edged host Blairsville 16-14.
About the Rams: Ligonier Valley had 555 yards of offense and scored 10 touchdowns against Homer-Center while keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard. The Rams have won 29 straight Heritage Conference contests.
About the Comets: Penns Manor’s Max Hill took over the quarterback duties in the third quarter and went on to throw the game-winner to Dimitri Lieb with 17 seconds remaining at Blairsville. The Bobcats had taken the lead with only 1:06 left.
Northern Cambria (1-0) at Saltsburg (0-1)
Last meeting: Northern Cambria 50, Saltsburg 13.
Last week: Northern Cambria beat United 43-0; Saltsburg lost 41-34 at Marion Center.
About the Colts: Owen Prasko scored touchdowns on his first two carries and finished with 131 rushing yards and three TDs against United. The Colts rushed for 343 yards, as Adam Kopera added 115 yards.
About the Trojans: Saltsburg trailed by two scores at halftime but bounced back to take the lead against Marion Center before the Stingers scored late to win by seven points. Trojans quarterback Josh Gibbons passed for 157 yards and rushed for 140.
Blairsville (0-1) at United (0-1)
Last meeting: United 57, Blairsville 28.
Last week: Blairsville lost 16-14 to Penns Manor; United fell 43-0 at Northern Cambria.
About the Bobcats: Blairsville took a 14-8 lead over Penns Manor with 1:06 left but the Comets scored in the closing seconds to hand the Bobcats a season-opening setback. Devon Witmer returned a punt for a score, and Sincere McFarlin had 87 rushing yards for the Bobcats.
About the Lions: Back Hunter Cameron had 29 yards last week and is 35 yards from becoming United’s all-time leading rusher. The Lions have won three of the past four meetings in the series.
Bishop Carroll Catholic (1-0) at Fairfield (0-1)
Last meeting: Teams have not played.
Last week: Bishop Carroll Catholic beat Carrick 41-0; Fairfield lost 77-0 at Penns Valley.
About the Huskies: Bishop Carroll will try to open the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2010, when the Huskies finished 11-3.
Hunter Dumm passed for 178 yards and rushed for 101 in Week 1.
About the Knights: Not much went right for Fairfield in the opener at Penns Valley, another Mountain Conference team. The Knights gave up 506 yards of offense and 11 touchdowns last week.
Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic (1-0) at Westmont Hilltop (0-1), 1 p.m.
Last meeting: Westmont Hilltop 30, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic 0.
Last week: Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic shut out Somerset 26-0; Westmont Hilltop lost 22-8 at Bedford.
About the Marauders: Keegan Myrick rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown in the opening weekend win over Somerset.
The Marauders defense limited the Eagles to 38 yards of offense.
About the Hilltoppers: Westmont Hilltop’s one-sided shutout was a statement victory last season and ended a six-game losing streak to the Marauders.
The Hilltoppers hope to bounce back after a 14-point loss at Bedford.
Shade (0-1) at Conemaugh Valley (0-1), 1 p.m.
Last meeting: Shade 50, Conemaugh Valley 8.
Last week: Shade fell 42-6 to Berlin Brothersvalley; Conemaugh Valley lost 21-0 at North Star.
About the Panthers: Vince Fyock had 99 rushing yards against Berlin Brothersvalley last week.
Braden Adams threw 26 yards to Kaden Koleszarik for the Panthers’ lone score.
About the Blue Jays: Conemaugh Valley hopes to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series.
The Blue Jays most recent win over Shade was 14-13 in 2011.