Trip to Indiana not kind to Mars
Planets have had trouble with foe on Indians’ turf
Butler Eagle
Written by:
September 12, 2012

ADAMS TWP — Scott Heinauer is hoping his Mars football team avoids a pitfall it has encountered twice since moving to Class AAA in 2008.

That was the year the Planets were welcomed into the Greater Allegheny Conference. In their two home meetings against Indiana (2009-10), the Planets were able to beat the Indians at the Mars Athletic Complex. But in the two seasons the Planets traveled east they were met with defeat, including last year’s 30-15 setback.

Indiana will host the Planets at 7 p.m. Friday.

“The drive up there is a job in itself,” said Heinauer. “We’ve struggled playing at their place.”

The fact that it’s a home game for Indiana may be the only factor working in the Indians’ favor. After making the WPIAL playoffs three of the last four years, Indiana lost a bevy of talent to graduation, including star quarterback Logan Weaver (20 touchdown passes in 2011) and wide receiver Tyrayl Veney (945 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns).

The Indians have struggled out of the gate this year, losing their opener to Hampton 45-21 and 35-0 to Franklin Regional last week. In the two games, Indiana was outscored 49-7 in the first half.

“They run the veer option and you don’t see many high school teams running that type of offense,” Heinauer said. “But they lost a lot of skill players from last year. We need to capitalize on their mistakes.”

Trying to find playmakers on offense may be the least of Indiana’s problems. Its defense will be facing a Planets’ offense operating in midseason form.

Sophomore fullback Josh Schultheis gained 147 yards and scored four times in last week’s 56-0 drubbing of Derry. Through two games, he has rushed for 311 yards and six touchdowns.

“He’s a very powerful runner and he hits the hole well,” said Heinauer of Schultheis. “He’s done a great job, but a lot of the credit goes to the kids up front. We have a veteran offensive line and that’s a big factor.”

Mars’ starting line includes center Jack Mettus, left guard Austin Bitzer, left tackle Joe Grice, right guard Cole Horan, right tackle Connor Biggs and tight end Billy Shrock.

“We rotate in John King at guard and Joel Glomb at tackle,” said Heinauer. “We’ve always rotated kids in to get them experience and to keep our guys fresh. That’s important.”

Senior wingback Alex Smith has made plays downfield for the Planets early in the season. In Week 1, he totaled three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown and followed it up last week with three more catches for 79 yards.

Junior kicker Matthew White has booted a couple of kickoffs into the end zone this season, following suit after special teams stalwarts of the past Ryan Gralish and Christopher Karns.

“He’s a big part of our football team and is getting better and better as we go along,” said Heinauer.