The 2016 Mountain Lion football team started this season with a victory over Allderdice Aug. 26th. The Mt. Lions won by a large margin of 43-0, the first time in quite a few years the Lions won a game by that large of a margin.
In week two the team lost to Norwin 22-44, and then lost again to Butler 12-21 making the record 2-2 after a win against Peters Township.
The team plays Mount Lebanon during week five. Following the away game, the the Mt. Lions return to Altoona to play Canon McMillan. In week seven the team goes to Hempfield, which it beat last year, 35-32.
The major change this year is the hiring of Coach Nick Felus. Who is the man behind the team?
Coach Felus is from Lilly, PA, which is only 25 minutes away from Altoona, where he attended Penn Cambria High School. Before coming to Altoona he worked at Coatesville High School for seven years as both an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
Felus said the Altoona coaching job was what would bring him back to the area.
“I always said there was one job that would bring me back to the area and that was the Altoona job,” Felus said.
Felus also mentioned that history, tradition and pride of the Altoona program as well as the community saying those qualities “attracted me to this job.”
“This is a great school district, the support of the administration and community has been excellent,” Felus said.
Felus loves being at Mansion Park.
“You know the crowd, we had a great crowd on Friday night so we had a lot of great students, the student section was energetic, so that’s what I would say is the most exciting part, just the atmosphere, just the entire atmosphere,” Felus said.
Felus does a verbal walkthrough of the teams practice and preparations.
“We have a strict practice schedule. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we follow the same script. Thursdays are our pregame walkthrough,” Felus said. “Our kids have done a great job preparing each day.”
The team also goes over offensive and defensive scouting reports each week for its opponents, as well as watching films to prepare. Coach Felus also said each week they look at their best player.
“We want to make sure we stop their best player,” Felus said.
Felus also said that the team is not worried about its record. He said as long as the team is getting better it feels successful.
Coach Felus isn’t just working on improving the high school team. Felus also thinks that the youth football teams all tie into the success of future high school teams.
“Like I said before, we’re just trying to build a program. From the AFL to the seventh and eighth graders to the freshman team, we want to build a program starting at a younger age,” Felus said.
Felus has also been working with Coach Mike Adams to improve the team’s strength and conditioning program.
Felus also encourages all his players to do community service in order to give back to the community that supports them.