The Shadyside Tigers are 4-0, ranked third in the Division VII Associated Press poll and haven't lost a regular season game since Oct. 7 of 2011.
Having said all that, Tigers' head coach Mark Holenka is most pleased that his team is continuing to get better as the season reaches its midway point Friday night when the Tigers celebrate Homecoming with a visit from Toronto. Kickoff is slated for 7.
"The fact that we're getting better is big," Holenka said. "We're not where we need to be offensively and defensively we've got a lot of areas where we still need to improve."
SHADYSIDE’S Logan Price tries to break free from a Shenandoah defender during last week’s game. The Tigers host Toronto this week.
The Tigers haven't breezed to their undefeated standing, having to hold off Meadowbrook, Monroe Central and Bellaire before blowing out Shenandoah in their home opener last week.
Therefore, the Tigers won't get caught looking past a Red Knights' squad that's 2-2 and has been blown out in both of its losses by Wellsville and last week to Steubenville Catholic Central, 42-3.
"They're scary because of the Glenn Brothers (Blaze and Chezz) and the great team speed that they have," Holenka said. "We'll have to adapt to that speed because it could become a problem for us."
The Tigers aren't the fastest team around, but they're offensive approach utilizes their size and physicality quite well.
"I think Shadyside is just as good as Steubenville Central, but they're a different type of team," said Toronto head coach Eric Meek. "Shadyside is huge and much more methodical. They're extremely disciplined, really solid and well coached. We'll have to be able to match the physical play."
Shadyside's ground game could receive a lift this week as senior running back Chris Littell could be back in the lineup this week. He suffered a broken hand against Bellaire in week 3 and missed last week's contest.
"We're going to take a look at him and see how he adapts to playing with a cast on," Holenka said. "There are certainly some different elements to experience and see how he does before we decide. This will be the toughest week for him."
Shadyside quarterback Austin Dorris has ran for 408 yards and six touchdowns, while junior back Eric Howell has added 417 yards and eight touchdowns.
Dorris has also passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
"We're going to have to improve this week if we're going to have a chance," Meek said. "We'll need to hold onto the ball better, tackle better and block better. If we do all of those things, that's all I can ask for and we'll see how things go from there."
The Tigers' ground success is made possible because of a big, powerful and talented offensive line. Comprising the Orange's front wall are Cory Banco, Zach Meadows, Jacob Spencer, Hunter Hammond and Colton Campbell,
Toronto's offense is led by the aforementioned Glenns. Blaze Glenn is the quarterback. He's thrown for 446 yards and five touchdowns thus far.
Chez Glenn is the Red Knights' top rusher with 217 yards and five scores.
"Toronto isn't real big, but if their skill guys get to the perimeter, they can do a lot of damage," Holenka said. "They kind of resemble Bellaire in their formations and what they do, but they're not as proficient as Bellaire throwing the ball."
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