Nov. 4—The Allegheny football team travels to Cleveland today for a 2 p.m. matchup against Case Western Reserve. It will serve as the team's final game of the 2023 season.
The postseason isn't possible for the Gators, so what are they playing for? Well, quite a lot, according to head coach Braden Layer.
"I think you're always trying to find motivation and reason for what do we have left to play for and I think there is still a ton. You look at last year's season on our senior day. Case Western came to our place and beat us by 50 points," Layer said. "They were up 40 points at halftime. We know it's a formidable opponent and certainly our guys want one more crack at taking on a top dog in our conference and showing we have what it takes to compete."
The Gators (3-6) have a chance to punch up against the Spartans (6-2), a team currently tied for third in the conference standings.
Case Western is a team with an elite defense. The Spartans have three shutouts this season, against Waynesburg, Saint Vincent and Thiel. They also allowed just one touchdown to Geneva and Westminster.
The team's two losses are to Grove City College, a 27-24 overtime loss and 38-33 at Washington & Jefferson.
"It's going to be very difficult. Before that W&J game they were either second or third in the entire country in total defense surrendering less than a touchdown a game," Layer said. "I don't necessarily think we have to change a ton as far as our game plan, we still have to try and make them play our game. Try and play some ugly football, slow the game down, maximize possessions.
"When we do have the chance to put points on the board we can't come up empty handed. In the red zone, miss a field goal, anything like that. Points will be at a premium."
Offensively, Case is led by dual threat senior quarterback Alex Fromberg. Fromberg has 1,720 passing yards and 16 touchdowns through the air with six rushing touchdowns and 356 yards.
Fromberg's favorite target is Noah Coyne with 748 yards and eight touchdowns on 34 catches.
For the Gators, Jack Johnson has 13 passing touchdowns and 2,154 yards. Declan O'Brien is up to 1,097 receiving yards, 83 catches and eight touchdowns.
Today's game is not only Allegheny's final game this season, but first-year and first-time head coach Layer's as well. He's aiming to go out on a high note.
"I think its lets leave it all out there in regard to effort and to competitive spirit. Through nine weeks we are a vastly more competitive football program. We are giving everybody our best shot and forcing them to get into a four-quarter dogfight," Layer said. "We don't want one game at the end of the season, just because we're coming of the heels of a big win, to have any form of a letdown. We want 10 weeks of competitive football."
Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.