Shane Thomas is in his fourth season coaching at Huntingdon, but 2022 is one of the few “normal” seasons he’s had since taking over for Mike Hudy in 2019.

His first season was an acclamation year, and the ‘Cats weren’t bad – 5-6 with a trip to the postseason. 2020 brought the dreaded COVID season, when games were played in partial capacity and seasons were shortened. In 2021, though things were returning to normal, Huntingdon still lost a game due to contract tracing, along with an entire junior varsity season.

That has made 2022 a breath of fresh air, although his team is still feeling the effects of COVID damage. Relying mostly on underclassmen, the Bearcats are dressing players who haven’t experienced game action in more than a year and who have never played varsity football.

Thomas has been coaching for 11 years, with stints at Southern Huntingdon and Juniata Valley before arriving in Huntingdon. This year, he cemented his relationship with his players and the community by taking a job in the district as a high school math teacher.

We spoke to Thomas in the days leading up to Huntingdon’s game against Tyrone Friday at War Vets Field in Huntingdon, and the coach talked about his young team, taking on a job at the school where he coaches, and his aspirations at Huntingdon.

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