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Highlands 2014 Football Preview

Written by Justin Criado on .

Highlands won't soon forget its playoff loss to Thomas Jefferson in last year's WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals, but as the Golden Rams make the switch to Class AA's Allegheny Conference, coach Sam Albert feels the road to Heinz Field will only get tougher.

"I was a head coach at Freeport, I know the types of athletes in the conference," said Albert, who coached the Yellowjackets for five seasons until assuming his current role at Highlands in 2004.

"It's going to be a very, very strong and competitive conference. We know that we're going to have our hands full."

Quarterback Blake Leri and running back Elijah Jackson, who led the team with 1,287 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns last season, return to a team that must replace 21 seniors who graduated after finishing 7-4 (6-2) in the tough Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference.

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Wrestling: Highlands' program survives

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ken Wunderley reports that Highlands is doing its best to keep its wrestling program alive. Read his story below.

In years to come, Grant Walters may become known as the coach who saved Highlands High School wrestling.

But Walters, a 2006 graduate of Burrell High School, will not take the credit.

"Nolan Wise deserves the credit," said Walters, referring to one of six current seniors who made up last year's squad.

The past few years have been a struggle for the Highlands varsity program.

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Football: Highlands advances to quarterfinals

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

After losing its last two regular season games, the Highlands football team bounced back last week with a big first-round victory over New Castle.

The Golden Rams (7-3) finished behind Frankin Regional and Mars in the Greater Allegheny Conference after dropping its last two games against non-conference Ringgold and Knoch, respectively. Highlands, however, earned the No. 7 seed in the Class AAA bracket and took down No. 10 New Castle, 24-19. New Castle was predicted by many as a possible dark horse team in the Class AAA bracket.

Quarterback Blake Leri completed 4 of 7 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns - connecting with both Jeremy Jackson and Jordan Lineburg for scores - against the Red Hurricane. Star running back Elijah Jackson chipped in with 107 rushing yards. Defensively, the Golden Rams held New Castle to just 2 yards rushing.

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Football: Star running back leading the way for Highlands

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ken Wunderley profiles Highlands running back Elijah Jackson. Read his story below.

Highlands football coach Sam Albert couldn't remember the last time the Golden Rams had a running back reach the 1,000-yard plateau ... until two weeks ago.

"I've been here 10 years and we had never had a 1,000-yard running back," Albert said. "We did have a quarterback, Jeff Sinclair, rush for 1,000 and throw for 1,000, but not a running back."

Elijah Jackson, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior tailback, reached the feat in the Golden Rams' Greater Allegheny Conference victory against Greensburg Salem on Oct. 11.

"Elijah gained 137 yards on 14 carries in the first half," said Albert, referring to the Golden Rams 59-7 domination of the Golden Lions. "We took him out with three minutes left in the half and sat him the rest of the game.