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Football: Holenka Seeks Complete Game From Tigers

September 6, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

TORONTO - Two chapters are in the book, and they both have been good reads for Shadyside.

Still, for coach Mark Holenka, it's not enough of a sample to tell if he's got the type of guys that can turn a 2-0 start into a best-seller.

''I want to say yes,'' he said, ''but it's still early. It's like when a parent comes in and asks how they're kids are doing in the classroom. After three or four weeks, you can't really tell if they're working to their ability or pulling on the wool over your eyes. The jury is still out.

''We've got to make sure we're capable of playing the better teams in the valley and the better teams in our schedule. That's yet to be seen.''

The Tigers have started fast and scored early and often, but they've had lulls in the second halves and penalties and turnovers have been at least a nagging issue.

''We just have to put a whole game together,'' Holenka said. ''We need to make sure we're playing with the same intensity in the second half. When you grab a big lead sometimes that happens; I understand that. We just want to make sure we can turn the switch on when need be.''

This week, they'll hit the road to take on a young, but quick, Toronto team that came up just short last week against Bridgeport and is off to an 0-2 start.

Toronto coach Eric Meek knows what his guys are getting Friday night.

''They're outstanding team and an outstanding program,'' Meek said of Shadyside. ''We're very young. We're just hoping we can take it one play at a time and try to get some little victories and do the very best we can against an outstanding team.''

Holenka saw enough of Toronto's game against Bridgeport - the 163 yards by Chez Glen, and the 2-point conversion the Bulldogs converted to win it. He saw the Red Knights lose the turnover battle by a hefty margin and stay in the game right until the bitter end.

He says this is anything but a gimme.

''They're not a bad football team,'' Holenka said of the Red Knights. ''They're quick, they got some good athletes. They're just not a very big football team as far as size, but their speed concerns from me. Even if you have the play contained, have that ability to cut back and hurt you at any time.

''They have had to overcome a lot of adversity, but they had 300 yards rushing against Bridgeport. They're very capable.''

The Red Knights, who regularly play eight or nine freshmen or sophomores on each side of the ball, have shown Meek something he likes.

They may be smaller, but they're unafraid.

''My young kids aren't cowards, and that is promising,'' he said. ''We have speed. When you have speed, there's always hope. We've missed a lot of tackles because we are young and small, but we aren't afraid. The kids are going after people who are a lot bigger than them.''

Meek found this out during the preseason when they took on a much bigger Buckeye Trail squad.

''Even though they drug us, our kids didn't run away,'' Meek said. ''We feel we'll turn the corner, just a matter of when that's going to be. We feel that our future is bright but we want to win for our five seniors this year. And we want to do it as soon as possible.''

 
 
 

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