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November 21, 2009Nearly a year ago today, the Erie McDowell Trojans faced the State College Little Lions in the PIAA District 6/8/9/10 Subregional Finals.
McDowell dominated most of the contest, outgaining State College 279-92 in total yardage.
Despite the statistical discrepancy, however, a hat trick of touchdowns from its offense, defense, and special teams propelled Little Lions to a 22-10 victory.
McDowell (8-2) will have its chance at redemption today in DuBois when it faces State College (9-2) again for the subregional title.
For the Trojans and head coach Mark Soboleski, this afternoon's showdown against State College is not about settling a score. It's simply about winning.
"Revenge is word the press uses. It's about trying to accomplish the things we set out to do before the season started and that's what our kids are focused on," said Soboleski.
Despite his "eyes on the prize" mentality, Soboleski does not want his team to forget about last year's defeat.
"That was obviously a tough loss for us last year and the lot of these kids had to deal with that disappointment. I hope it is motivation for them. They have a chance to redeem themselves."
Soboleski believes that McDowell's difficult regular season schedule, which featured games versus Gateway and McKeesport - two of the state's preeminent teams - will give them a decided advantage against State College.
State College coach Al Wolski disagrees.
"The competition we face in the Mid-Penn is as tough as any in the state," said Wolski. "We've played some excellent opponents too. We'll be ready."
The team that emerges victorious from today's match will likely be the team that defends the run the best.
McDowell's offense is spearheaded by double-threat quarterback Zach Greenawalt. The senior rushed for a team-leading 792 yards and 11 touchdowns and passed for 380 yards and seven scores.
Greenawalt is not the Trojans' only ground threat. The team's offense features six players that rushed for more than 600 yards this season, including sophomore sensation Greg Garmon who averaged a staggering 13.8 yards per carry during his first full season on the varsity squad.
Wolski understands that to stop the run his defensive line must play its best.
"Our big people up front have to come off the ball quickly. Stopping their ground game is key. We scrimmaged them before the season and we did a pretty good job of it."
As for State College's offense, McDowell has one name on its mind: Alex Kenney.
The future Penn State Nittany Lion accumulated over 1,000 yards of total offense and scored 22 of his offense's 45 touchdowns.
"We got to play as group against him. They run him all over the place and do a lot of good things with him," said Soboleski. "If you slip up against him - he's gone. It's over."