Penn Hills football team plans PIAA championship practice at Penn State

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | 12:24 AM


Penn Hills won’t bus directly to Hershey for the state championship but instead will stop and practice at Penn State, where senior Terry “Tank” Smith’s uncle coaches.

The running back’s namesake is Nittany Lions’ assistant head coach Terry Smith. So in preparation for Friday night’s PIAA final, Penn Hills will leave Thursday and work out on Penn State’s outdoor practice facilities.

“At the end of the day, it’s about memories and experiences,” Penn Hills coach Jon LeDonne said. “We want to make this a good experience for the kids. We don’t want them riding up and back in the bus on the same day, spending the majority of the day on the bus.”

Penn Hills plays Manheim Central in the PIAA Class 5A championship at 7 p.m., Friday, in Hershey.

Typically, state finalists that travel a day early will reserve a high school field near Hershey for practice.

Along with Smith’s uncle Terry, LeDonne said Penn Hills also checked with Penn State athletic administrators to make sure the campus visit wouldn’t cause any recruiting violations.

“We talked to the director of football operations there and the compliance office,” LeDonne said, “to make sure everything is OK per NCAA rules.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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