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Tuesday January 19 2021
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US Steel Game of the Week: McGuffey at Charleroi

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The Charleroi Cougars are looking for their first win under new head coach Donnie Millitzer, who comes to the Cougars with high expectations for a team that finished 2-7 in 2013.

Millitzer, who coached a Gateway team that finished 8-3 and earned a spot in the WPIAL quarterfinals last season, is hoping for a similar record with his new team.

The Cougars and their new coach will try not to impress the faithful as they welcome the McGuffey Highlanders to Cougars Stadium for the home opener in Week 2.

Coach Millitzer has a veteran group with seven returning starters to run his spread offense, including starting quarterback Matt Carr, who passed for 248 yards and completed 13 of 24 attempts in Charleroi’s tough 25-24 week one loss against the Southmoreland Scotties.

Receivers Blake Carmello, Trey Douyon and tight end John Arnold, along with running back Brock Shannon, should give Carr plenty of chances to open up the field in the home opener against McGuffey.

Shannon scored twice in the opening game loss at Southmoreland with a 6-yard TD run and returned an 83-yard kickoff return.

Along with running a new, fast-paced offense, the Cougars biggest challenge will be fixing a defense that allowed an average of 41 points per game last season, including allowing two 60-point games and a 74-7 beating at Mount Pleasant.

The defense made strides against Southmoreland but the Cougars simply could not stop the Scotties running game, allowing backs Jake Pisula and Mataeo Garner to run for 90 yards on 17 carries and 115 yards on 12 carries respectively.

This week the Cougars will be tasked with slowing down McGuffey’s James Duchi, one of the top running backs in the conference last season. Duchi rushed for 1,514 yards on 214 attempts and scored 13 touchdowns in 2013, good enough for 12th best in all of WPIAL football. He ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts in McGuffey’s Week 1 loss to conference power Mount Pleasant.

McGuffey enters their first season in the Interstate Conference after two successive seasons in the Century Conference.

The Highlanders also have a veteran group led by Duchi and returning starter Nate Whipkey at quarterback. Whipkey threw for 197 yards and a touchdown along with rushing for 97 yards and two touchdowns against Mount Pleasant.Cougars Stadium in Charleroi

Duchi, Whipkey and the Highlanders are looking to build off last years’ late-season performance, which saw them win only one game in August and September, but finish strong in October with four wins in their last five games.

With expectations high for the Cougars, Friday’s home opener could be pivotal matchup as a new era dawns on Charleroi football.

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