Mars rushing attack is out of this world
Homecoming nominees stand on the field before the home game at West Mifflin against Elizabeth Forward.
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It has been 16 years since life on Mars was this good, and the Planets have been fueled by an old-fashioned style of offense.
Mars is 6-0 for the first time since 1996. With three games left in the regular season, the Planets are aligned to go undefeated and untied for the first time in school history. And this is the 100th year of Mars football.
Since a season-opening victory against Franklin Regional, which was ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class AAA at the time, Mars has not played a team with a winning record. Still, you'd have to say the Planets have been impressive, winning their past five games by at least 34 points.
"I would think this team has gone above expectations at this point in time," said Mars coach Scott Heinauer. "But we still have a ways to go."
While Mars' offense is averaging 44.2 points per game (fourth best in the WPIAL), what makes the Planets extremely unusual is the old-fashioned style of offense. Mars runs the wing-T.
"We run a lot of formations and the offense has evolved, but the basic form of the offense and most of the stuff we run is wing-T," Heinauer said.
Heinauer has been using the wing-T for years.
"One of the reasons we do it is because we don't have these real big tackles and linemen who can drive block, or the kind of linemen like Franklin Regional where they zone read you all day," Heinauer said. "We feel we can rely on fakes and our angle blocking. Plus, we think our running backs are quick enough to get through the hole."
Sophomore Josh Schultheis has rushed for 954 yards, but fellow running back Alex Smith also is having a solid season. The defense has been excellent, as well.
"The offense can present a problem because people don't see it all that much and it's not easy for your scout team to simulate in practice," Heinauer said. "But one of the things we can't let happen is become complacent. Sometimes the kids think they know a little more than they do, and we can't let them become complacent."
Imani Christian has been impressive in its first year of WPIAL football. Imani Christian, in the East Hills section of Pittsburgh, is 5-1 and tied for second place in the Black Hills Conference of Class A.
But don't look for Imani Christian in the WPIAL playoffs. The Saints are on a two-year probation period and are ineligible to participate in the playoffs. The top four teams in Class A conferences make the playoffs, but if Imani Christian finishes in the top four spots, the fifth-place team in the Black Hills will qualify.
When will Aliquippa and South Fayette be challenged? They are the top two ranked teams in Class AA and they have turned just about every game into a blowout by halftime. Their starters don't see much playing time in the second half because the games are so lopsided.
Aliquippa has outscored opponents, 311-10, and the Quips are averaging 37.3 points in the first half. South Fayette has outscored opponents, 304-24, and the Lions are averaging 36.8 points in the first half.
Two freshmen had big games Friday night.
Bethel Park ninth-grade quarterback Levi Metheny completed 8 of 12 passes for 176 yards against Penn Hills. Metheny is the son of Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny.
Also Friday night, Kiski Area freshman Lincoln Clayton rushed for 187 yards on 18 carries against Norwin.
Homecoming turned tragic for Huntsville High School in South Carolina.
Richard Rouse, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive lineman, was in on a tackle in the second quarter of the team's game against Crestwood.
He had to be helped off the field, but he collapsed on the sideline and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The cause of death is pending an autopsy.
The teams played the final 3:39 of the first half, but did not resume the game after halftime.
First Published October 8, 2012 12:00 am