Blairsville looks to make history in District 6 football playoffs
Blairsville is on the verge of making football history.
Standing in its way in the District 6 Class A semifinals is a talented Portage team.
The teams, neither of which has won a district title, meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Blairsville’s Memorial Stadium.
The winner advances to the championship Nov. 21 at Mansion Park in Altoona against the winner of Friday’s game between No. 1 Bishop Guilfoyle (11-0) and No. 4 Bellwood-Antis (10-1).
Blairsville never has reached the finals, and coach Rick Artley said he looks forward to playing Portage, which beat Blairsville, 49-14, in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs.
“They still have some talented players from that squad,” Artley said. “But I feel we match up better this year. They were a difficult matchup last year with tight end Joe Randazzo and wide receiver C.W. Miller.”
No. 2 Blairsville (11-0) is led by running back Deion Robinson, quarterback Scott Thompson and flanker Cameron Livingston. The Bobcats average 38.2 points and allow 8.2. The Mustangs average 41.2 and allow 15.2.
Robinson has rushed for 1,522 yards and scored 27 touchdowns despite missing the opener. Thompson, who has rushed for 452 yards and eight touchdowns, has thrown for 717 yards. Livingston has 21 catches for 343 yards. He also has six interceptions.
“We’ve changed our offensive philosophy this year, and it’s made us a better team,” Artley said. “The offensive line returned, and we’ve focused on running the ball more. We can still throw the ball, but we’re not relying on Scott to throw the ball. He’s done a great job running the offense.”
No. 3 Portage (10-1) lost to Berlin-Brothersvalley in the WestPAC championship game. It bounced back to defeat Homer Center, 21-13, in the opening round of the playoffs. Blairsville defeated Moshannon Valley, 35-14.
The Mustangs are led by running back Caleb Kephart, who has rushed for 2,088 yards and 31 touchdowns, and Luke Dividock, who has rushed for 1,035 yards and 11 scores.
Quarterback Michael Bryja directs the wing-T offense. He has thrown for 761 yards and six touchdowns.
“When they throw, it’s usually on first and second down,” Artley said. “They’re comfortable running the ball on third-and-14. Hopefully the extra day of practice pays off.”