Football: MIddle Park improves against Faith Christian |

Football: MIddle Park improves against Faith Christian

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

The best thing that can be said about the pummeling that Middle Park High’s battle-scarred football team suffered at the hands of Faith Christian last Friday night is that it wasn’t as bad as last year.

In the 2006 game, the Panthers were trounced 72-0 by the Eagles who are the state’s No. 1 team. In Friday’s game, Middle Park fell 49-0, despite Faith Christian’s attempt to run up the scoreboard once again.

“We held them to less than 50 points, which is the best we’ve done against them since 2003,” said coach Marc Loberg.

Middle Park’s team, which is in a rebuilding year after graduating several seniors last spring, has suffered an inordinate number of injuries this season. In Friday’s game, the team took the field with eight underclassmen, including four sophomores, as starters.

Also absent was starting quarterback Mike Schmidt, who was recovering from a concussion he sustained in the Erie game the previous weekend.

“Jordan Reynolds stepped in as our quarterback and had some successes running and throwing against the best team in the state. He’s a real competitor,” Loberg said.

As Friday’s game got under way, Faith Christian quickly charged into the lead, racking up three TDs and three points-after-touchdowns. Middle Park’s offense was unable to generate a sustained drive to score against the Eagles’ tough defense.

The Panther defense slowed the Eagles’ onslaught to a couple of touchdowns in both the second and third quarters. In the fourth quarter, Middle Park’s defense became rock solid, preventing any further additions to Faith Christian’s already substantial score.

The stats for the two team’s offenses tell the story. Faith Christian had 245 yards rushing and 140 yards passing for a total of 385 yards of offense.

In comparison, Middle Park’s offense netted a total of 124 yards. The Panther rushing game is usually the big ground gainer for the team, but it earned only 59 yards rushing against the Eagles. Middle Park’s passing game had a bit more success, with Reynolds completing seven of his 14 passing attempts for 65 yards.

Some of the other player stats for Middle Park are good, such as Chad Sprague making the most receptions of any team’s receiver playing against Faith Christian this year. He also tied for the most catches in the league with 17 so far this season.

Also as a result of Friday’s game, the Panthers’ Alex Morrow moved into third place in the league for tackles and is currently second in quarterback sacks.

Coach Loberg commended several of his players, including offensive linemen Rod Garrett, Chad Sprague, Mitch Strang, Aaron Trainor and Sam Damon, saying they “opened holes to almost triple our run output over last year’s game and allowed time for Reynolds to throw.”

He also commended Zane Bickler for “a solid game as a defensive end,” and Justin Cisneros for some “excellent open field tackles.”

Despite the loss, Loberg said he is hopeful for the team’s future success.

“We have a young team this year that makes mistakes, but is learning,” he said. “Our game against Faith Christian built some confidence in our players that will help them compete even better next year when we play them again.”

Middle Park’s football team will host the Tigers of Holy Family today. The opening kickoff on the Panthers’ field is at 7 p.m.

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