Cougars ‘rush’ to improvement in Week 1

Indeed, only one week has passed in the 2021 schedule, but North Star’s 324 rushing yards in a 30-7 victory at Moshannon Valley – an average of 7.2 yards a carry – certainly is a promising sign. The Cougars tallied 24 consecutive points in an impressive comeback victory on the road.

Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Connor Yoder led with 162 rushing yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.

Senior Tim Tretter added an even 100 yards on 12 runs, and freshman Ethan Smith carried twice for 39 yards.

The total: 45 carries for 324 yards. Not the best in the area, but significant progress for a team that went 2-7 in 2020.

“It’s Week 1. We have a lot of work to do as far as cleaning up stuff,” said Landis, whose Cougars face Somerset County rival Conemaugh Township at home on Friday. “It was a good opening week. We rushed the ball well. We still have some work to do in the passing game.”

Landis quickly added, “Both of those guys did a nice job,” referring to Tretter and Yoder each reaching or surpassing 100 yards rushing.

“The thing I was impressed about with both of them is the yardage after first contact was up,” Landis said. “They were able to shake the first guy after contact and gain some extra yardage.”

Of course, the big guys up front play a role in helping the backs find holes – and yardage.

“Our line coach, Bob Miller, grades out his guys every week, and last week the guy that stood out based off the grading was Ethan Eller,” Landis said of the 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore left guard. Eller is complemented by 6-4, 350-pound senior center Gabe Foy; 6-0, 180-pound left tackle Cody Hause; 6-1, 300-pound right guard Dylan Shroyer;

and 6-0, 195-pound right tackle Logan Reffner.

“Both the guards are sophomores. Both the tackles are juniors,” Landis said. “The only senior on the line is Foy in the middle. The big tight end, Ethan Yoder, is another factor. We use the big tight end to block the corner as much as the linemen.

“Ethan also had three touchdown receptions on Friday night,” Landis added of the senior end