HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Homer-Center's banquet doesn't signal end of Wildcats' season
It’s mid-November, time for athletic departments to celebrate fall seasons and prepare for winter ones.
That’s no exception for Homer-Center, which is holding its football banquet this evening.
Not until after the Wildcats get out of practice, though.
Homer-Center’s season, of course, is still in progress. The Wildcats are in the unique position of having an in-season celebration due to their rousing success extending the schedule well into the fall.
“First time since I’ve been here,” seventh-year Homer-Center coach Greg Page said. “It’s one of those things they book a while in advance. We’re going to go and have a good time (tonight), get a good meal and be around a lot of people that have supported us and been our closest supporters: parents, family members, boosters. It’s going to be a celebration.”
Homer-Center (11-1) is preparing for its first District 6 Class A championship game since 1994, when it faces Bishop Guilfoyle (10-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Altoona’s Mansion Park.
“Usually your banquet’s something at the end of the season where you reflect and look back,” senior running back Mike Newhouse said. “This banquet’s going to be special. We’re going to be talking about the season. We’re still in it. It’s going to mean a lot. It’s crazy.”
“Usually you celebrate the end of the season,” junior quarterback Aaron Berezansky said, “which is nice, but we’re going to just go have a good time and look forward to the game on Saturday.”
Homer-Center doesn’t give postseason team awards, but it does honor all of its seniors at the banquet. The difference this time is the Wildcats will have a chance to honor them with at least one more high school game in their careers.
“We honor them and recognize everybody,” Page said. “We just kind of enjoy ourselves and have a good time.”
“Usually we go there, the season’s over, you’re saying goodbye to your seniors,” junior running back Ean Lee said. “The seniors are taking their presents and stuff, but now we’re just going to talk about the game on Saturday, before the banquet we’ll get prepared for Saturday again, just like we’re going to do all week.”
Homer-Center, the second seed in the district, defeated Bishop Carroll, 28-7, at home last Saturday in the semifinals. The night before, fifth-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle routed top-seeded Portage, 42-10, to secure its spot in the title game, held annually at the field that happens to be the Marauders’ home.
Bishop Guilfoyle has won 10 straight games after opening the season with losses to Bedford and Richland. The Marauders are in their first district championship game since 1991, when they lost to Saltsburg in the Class A final. They beat United to win the Class AA title in 1987.
Homer-Center has two District 6 Class A titles, having beaten Bellwood-Antis in 1994 and Bucktail in 1985.