Delone Catholic will have at least one advantage Friday when the football team hosts two-time defending Tennessee state champion Union City: The Squires should come into that game better rested.
The Golden Tornadoes boarded two school buses at 2 a.m. Tuesday and arrived after 6 p.m. that night, kicking off a busy educational trip.
"It was a long bus ride, more than 14 hours," Union City senior defensive back/slot receiver D'carrious Stephens said. "My legs were cramping, but it's been pretty good so far. I'm still trying to get my legs under me, trying to focus more on football."
The Golden Tornadoes, who are staying in Gettysburg and practiced Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Gettysburg High School, visited the Gettysburg Museum of History and the Gettysburg battlefield on Wednesday. They plan to spend Thursday in Washington, D.C., followed by a Friday morning visit to the Gettysburg National Cemetery and Eisenhower National Historic Site.
"It's a great experience," Union City senior linebacker/offensive lineman Jamison Blackwell said. "It's once-in-a-lifetime. Some of these guys won't make it out of Union City or Tennessee, so getting to go all the way to Pennsylvania for a high school football game is something different."
The team will depart for home on Saturday morning.
While the packed road trip is exciting, it hasn't given the Golden Tornadoes much time to rest. Coaches and players have been spending late hours in the team hotel watching film on Delone Catholic.
"Trying to get in everything we've been trying to get in educationally has been hectic," Union City coach Darren Bowling said. "I worry about the kids just being tired from all that."
As far as Friday's game goes, Bowling and his senior leaders all said Delone Catholic is "a good team" that can run the ball well. Stephens also said Delone Catholic quarterback Brian Shermeyer is one of the better quarterbacks his team will face this season. But they don't find the Squires' style of play much different than what they face in the Volunteer State.
"Football is football, it all comes down to blocking and tackling in the long run," Bowling said. "You can have different schemes and different offenses, different defenses, but the bottom line is, can you block and tackle? They (Delone) do good at that."
For the Squires, it won't be too difficult to know what to expect from Union City's offense. The Golden Tornadoes, who are 4-0 this season and have a 31-game winning streak going, run a triple-option offense and only run "two or three plays," Bowling said. They threw the ball only seven times on the way to a 14-0 record last year and have thrown the ball only twice this year: one throw that was intercepted and nearly returned for a touchdown, and one halfback pass.
"We're basic with what we do, but we try to do it well," Bowling said.