Making the Grade: Altoona vs. CD East

22 September 2018


Altoona 21 web

By Andy Shay: 

This was not football beauty by any stretch of the imagination Friday night between visiting Altoona and host CD East at Landis Field. To be honest, it was kind of ugly with eight turnovers and 16 penalties combined.

It was, though, a thrilling game that came down to the wire, and either team could have won. It took a field goal as time expired by the Mountain Lions to force overtime.

And then Shawn Brown came up with the play of the season for the Panthers by blocking an extra point in overtime that handed CD East a 17-16 victory.

Time to hand out some grades.


Quarterback: All three quarterbacks in the game were fooled a little by the wind, and throwing against the wind took just enough zip off the ball on deeper throws that it made interceptions easy to snare. Senior Connor McCarthy has a decent arm in the short and medium passes, but doesn’t have a deep arm. His two interceptions were a combination of the wind and a great play by CD East. He’s a smart runner in the RPO sets and knows when to keep the ball. He accounted for more than 200 yards of offense, ran for one score and threw for another. Grade: B-

Running Back: Yards were tough to come by for Mitchell Lawhead in tight spaces. He averaged only 3 yards per carry and unless there was a huge hole he struggled to get going. Part of the credit goes to CD East’s run defense. Grade: C

Wide Receivers: That one-handed grab by Connor Adams on his 36-yard touchdown catch was a thing of beauty. At 6-foot-2, he’s a big target and makes himself available by working hard to get open. He finished with five catches for 101 yards. I wish the Mountain Lions had called Jonah Brandt’s number more. Grade: B

Offensive Line: It was a mixed bag for this group. The pass blocking was pretty darn good, but they struggled to get to the second level in the run game and the CD East run support from the secondary ate them alive. I thought C Jacob Hunter had a very good night. Grade: C

Defensive Line: Other than one drive in the second half, this group had a pretty good night. Adam Port is only a junior at 6-3, 245 pounds. He’s going to be a really good one. They also knocked down a few passes and that was key. Grade A-

Linebackers: The middle linebacker combination of Mike Foicarelli and John Jones had a good night. The outside guys just could not contend with the speed of CD East at times. Grade: B

Secondary: The Mountain Lions clearly played some guys in positions just for this game and the speed CD East has. Robby Ferrell and sophomore Kyle Murray did a fantastic job of tackling in open space all night. You are going to give up some yards and big plays to speed. But nothing that broke their back. Grade: A-

Special Teams: Those low rugby-like punts that take extra steps scare me. A couple of them looked like they were going to be kicked into the backs of the linemen. Kick coverage was very good. That blocked PAT in overtime was the difference in the game. Grade: C


Quarterback: Normal starter Jerimiah Green missed a lot of this week out sick, so Shawn Brown had to start. That played a huge role in the offense sputtering at times. Both played. Brown ran for 101 yards on nine carries. He’s not a passer. Green has a much better arm, but that interception at the goal line killed a key drive. Grade: C-

Running Back: The Panthers use about three or four guys on a consistent basis and run those jet sweeps as well. So, lots of guys get touches. Junior Bryce Baker is the best of the bunch and might need more carries to get this offense to stabilize. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry and was effective in between the tackles, too. Grade: C+

Wide Receivers: With the quarterback situation, it was a tough night for the wideouts. Stephon Brown had two catches for 72 yards. I did see a couple drops. I will say it again: they do get open! Grade: C

Offensive Line: Too many holding penalties and false starts for this group in Week 5. But on the positive side they did seal the edge and chip just enough guys to make some room to rush for nearly 300 yards. Pass blocking was exceptional all game. Grade: C+

Defensive Line: Daniel Amponsah had himself a very, very good game. He was strong against the run and created the most pressure in the passing game. DE Tymear Evans was good as well. Grade: A-

Linebackers: Senior James Banks is the best inside linebacker I have seen this season. He had a monster first half with seven tackles and a couple TFL’s. He was everywhere and prevented a lot of big plays. He was the best player on the field for the Panthers. Grade: A

Secondary: On that final drive in regulation, they made some huge plays to force overtime. Run support was pretty good all night and only one receiver gave them fits. I saw a couple missed tackles in the open field, though. Those HUGE plays late saved them. Grade: B+

Special Teams: There was a scenario where a dropped snap late in the first half on bad play calling by the coaching staff nearly cost CD East dearly in a 3-0 game. But punter Hossam Aly recovered and used his speed to pick up 22 yards after dropping the snap. Well done! They blocked a PAT to win the game. Mic drop! Grade: A