If ever there was a time for Tyrone to add a bigger, more challenging opponent to the schedule, 2016 seemed to be it.
The Eagles had just won a District 6 2A title in 2014 and played in the semifinals in 2015, and outside of tough games against Central and Clearfield Tyrone wasn’t getting much out of its regular season schedule to prepare for the postseason.
Hollidaysburg looked like the perfect fit. The Golden Tigers were looking to transition away from a WPIAL schedule and needed local opponents. They hadn’t set the world on fire in their time playing 5A schools from the Greater Pittsburgh area, but they were a plus-.500 team that Tyrone could hang with.
Or so it seemed. The ink was barely dry on the contract to renew the series, which began in 1921, before the Eagles’ program was hit with a spate of injuries unlike anything before. Top contributors spent weeks on the shelf, losses began to mount, athletes stopped coming out for the team, and in the blink of an eye a team that should have counted Hollidaysburg as one if its competitive contemporaries was struggling to scratch together two wins in the Mountain League.
The decision to bring back the Golden Tigers was solid by the measure of 2015, but it has turned into yearly drubbings for the Eagles, who have held the Tigers below 34 just once in the five games the teams played since Tyrone added Hollidaysburg the mix in 2016.
But if ever there was a time when the Eagles felt they had a strong shot at upending their rivals from the County Seat, it’s this season. And they will have a chance to find out for sure Friday when 6-2 Tyrone faces Hollidaysburg at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
It will be Senior Night for Tyrone.
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