Johnstown and Bishop Guilfoyle football fans got their first look at their respective squads Saturday morning at Trojan
Stadium and what they saw should not really surprise them at this stage of the game with just one week of preseason practice
under their belts. Neither team’s passing game was especially crisp and of course there were missed assignments and
fumbled snaps but all in all, you really can’t expect high school football teams to be playing at a high level at this
point of the season.
Surely both head coaches will take a look at the tape from this and use it as a learning tool and obviously both teams
still have a lot of work to do, but neither should panic after one scrimmage. That all being out of the way, let’s take
look at the action.
It was normal procedures as far as scrimmage rules go. Each team took three, ten-play series on offense starting on their
own 20-yard line. This was followed by each squad doing a five-play goal-line series starting at the other squads’ 10.
Each team then got one final ten-play series starting from their own 20.
BG went on offense first and they came out with a passing play which was open but overthrown by their quarterback. Another
pass, two plays later, was nearly intercepted by Johnstown’s #33. The run appeared to be better suited to the Marauders
this series as they got a ten-yard gain on a FB trap (a play they used well throughout the morning) on the second play of
the drive and then a lead run from a wingback that gained 13 yards. However, the big gain for BG in the series was a screen
pass that went for 31 yards on the sixth play of the series. The problem for the Marauders in this series was they shot themselves
in the foot. Twice they lined up in shotgun formation and twice poor snaps sailed over the head of their QB for big losses.
The drive stalled on the tenth play as a draw only advanced the ball to the JHS 39.
JHS’ starters then went out on offense for their first series with senior Shawn Lehman under the center at QB. Things
didn’t go much better for the Trojans on their first try with the ball as they failed to even advance the ball into
BG territory. Lehman was 1-2 on the drive and also fumbled on a rollout. Antwuan Reed had just 2 carries and gained only about
8 yards. This drive stalled out at the Trojans’ own 39-yard line.
A backup unit on defense appeared to take the field for the Trojans in the second series. Although the Trojans kept BG
out of the end zone again, the Marauders did ultimately advance to the JHS 16-yard line on their final play of the series.
The trap plays appear to be the bread and butter of the BG offensive unit at this point of time. The Marauders got seven and
six-yard gains on that play in this series. The other positive plays of the BG offense were two QB runs, including one of
the first series that netted a gain of 19 yards and the final play of the series, a completed pass of 19 yards. The BG QB
was 1-of-3 on the series and was again plagued by another bad snap in the shotgun.
It was more of the same for the Trojans on offense the second time around as Jordan Jefferson led a backup unit. The first
real positive play of the day for the JHS offense was made on this series as Jefferson completed a pass for 18 yards to the
Trojans’ 39. Jefferson was 1-of-3 on the drive and fumbled twice. The FB was featured on three runs on the drive, but
only netted about 7 yards. It was the first time the Trojans got past midfield on the day, but barely, as the drive stalled
at the BG 49.
For the third ten-play series, most of the starters appeared on defense and they kept BG from passing the 50. The biggest
play for the Marauders on the series was another trap that saw the FB gain ten yards on the next to the last play of the drive.
There were a couple of nice plays on defense during this drive as Reed put a big hit on the BG tailback on a toss sweep and
#27 made an interception. BG was not able to complete a pass on this drive it was by far the best defensive series for the
Trojans on the day.
For the JHS offense’s third series, sophomore Jon Siciliano played QB. It was a tough varsity debut as he threw an
interception, an incompletion and was sacked. The only pass he was able to complete was then fumbled by the wide receiver
he hit. The drive only netted five yards in the first nine plays and then lost more yardage as the sack occurred on the final
Next up was the goal-line drill that was played at the opponents ten-yard line. BG scored twice in the first three plays.
The first score was a touchdown pass in the corner that was thrown over Reed. The second score was quite ugly, but football
points aren’t necessarily scored on style. It was an option play to the left that started out slow as it seemed the
QB held the ball fake in the FB’s gut forever. From there, the QB went down the line to the left, started stumbling
and basically just threw the ball over his shoulder and it bounced on the ground….right into the hands of the wingback
who beat the corner and safety to the end zone for the score. On their other two plays of the series, they ran the ball and
were stopped short of the goal line. To cap off the BG short yardage package, their coach asked to let their extra point unit
attempt a conversion. The snap, hold and kick were all good.
The Trojans also scored twice on their goal line drill, both on passes. A toss right and a run between the tackles on plays
one and three respectively were stopped. A fade pass was attempted on play two but was incomplete. However, plays four and
five saw the Trojans score, first on a pass to Reed and then on a pass to #59. JHS did not attempt an extra point.
On the final go-round for the backups, JHS gave up the biggest play of the morning on a 69-yard run for a score on play
three of the series. After that, things settled down and BG never got past their own 32. All but two plays on the series were
on the ground and yet again the Marauders were hampered by a poor snap over the QB’s head in shotgun.
The final series for Johnstown on offense was the final series of the scrimmage and it was the first time that the Trojans
got into the end zone outside of the short yardage drill. JHS split time at QB in this series as Siciliano played snaps 1-5
and Jefferson played 6-10. The unit used all ten plays to grind out the score but a big portion of the yardage they gained
was on play three as Siciliano hit #27 on a pass that covered 42 yards and advanced the ball to the BG 36. On the next play
Siciliano hit #31 for a 9 yard gain. On play six, Jefferson got back under center and on his first play he handed the ball
off to #18 who had a nice run down to the five. A pass to #18 on gained one yard and then Jefferson tried to call his own
number but just couldn’t turn the corner and get the ball over the pylon (even though there was no pylon!). After a
fumble in the end zone on play nine, #18 ultimately scored on a run from one-yard out.
So after one week of practice and their first encounter with squads of a different jersey color, both teams have some positive
takeaways and both have a lot of work to do but it’s still very early in the season. I’ve seen teams that look
great in scrimmages have terrible regular seasons and vice-versa so you really can’t read too much into one scrimmage.
We at Trojan Nation are just happy to have football back!
Doug Keklak can be reached at