Running back tandem of Hough, Livingston to bring thunder for Beaver Falls offense

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Friday, August 28, 2020 | 11:18 PM


When it comes to describing a running back tandem, most football coaches normally stick with the age-old phrase of “Thunder and Lighting.”

One back normally has the power and strength to run between the tackles and ram defenders over, while, in a change of pace, the other has the speed and agility to break a play to the outside and make defenders miss.

Beaver Falls coach Nick Nardone likes to say he has “Thunder and Thunder” in his backfield, otherwise known as the running back tandem of Syracuse recruit Josh Hough and Shileak Livingston.

“They are everything you want when you are an I team or a full house team and a hit-you-in-the-mouth team,” Nardone said. “That’s what we are going to do. Good luck trying to tackle those two for four quarters because it’s going to be one and then it’s going to be the other.”

Last year, Hough (6-3, 240) and Livingston (5-11, 230) ran for a combined 2,380 yards and 35 touchdowns. After leading the team to a record of 8-2 in the regular season and a WPIAL Class 3A playoff appearance, the pair is ready to take another step this season.

“Josh and I are going to be really dangerous this year,” Livingston said. “With our power and our speed, a lot of people can’t really tackle us, so they have to keep that in mind.”

Behind Hough and Livingston, the Tigers were on the verge of making a playoff run last season but suffered a difficult first-round loss to Derry, 28-27, in overtime. Before that loss, the Tigers had been on a roll, winning their final five regular season games while scoring 34-plus points in each contest.

That loss was a tough one for the Tigers, but with a good portion of that team coming back, their expectations have reached a new level this season.

“I thought we underachieved last year for sure,” Nardone said. “But, with how many guys from that team that came back, and we have a great core from last year’s team, I don’t see any reason why we can’t compete for a championship this year.”

Beaver Falls won’t be playing against typical competition this season though, as they’ll be dropping down a classification after PIAA realignment. Beaver Falls will join the Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference with Ellwood City, Freedom, Laurel, Mohawk, Neshannock, New Brighton and Riverside.

They enter the season with a chance to capture a WPIAL title given their success in Class 3A. Since winning WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2016, the Tigers have been building toward another run.

The core group of Tigers has been with the team since they were freshman and endured a 1-8 season. Since then, the team has been improving, getting stronger and smarter, and the growth that Nardone has seen has been exponential.

“The expectations this year are extremely high, and that is all because of how these kids have developed over the past few years,” Nardone said. “To be just thrown in the fire as freshman and watch them grow over the years is impressive. Not just physically grow, but their understanding of the game, different situations, and when you see them understand the mental part of a game, it makes for a tremendous football player.”

As the Tigers enter this season, they are hoping to capitalize on their talents and play the only type of football they know.

“We want to play both sides, we want to score points, and we want to shut teams out,” Livingston said. “We just want to go out and play smash-mouth football.”

Schedule

Coach: Nick Nardone

2019 record: 8-3, 5-2 in Class 3A Tri-County West

All-time record: 666-414-52

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Riverside*, 7

9.18, Laurel*, 7

9.25, at Ellwood City*, 7

10.2, New Brighton*, 7

10.9, at Mohawk*, 7

10.16, at Freedom*, 7:30

10.23, Neshannock*, 7

*Class 2A Midwestern Athletic Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Jaren Brickner

32-58, 479 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing: Josh Hough

135-1,273 yards, 18 TDs

Receiving: Albert Harper

11-188 yards, 3 TDs

Fast facts

• No. 4 Derry defeated No. 5 Beaver Falls in overtime in the playoffs last season on an extra point after Beaver Falls missed a point-after attempt in overtime.

• Beaver Falls starting quarterback Jaren Brickner is the younger brother of former Beaver Falls quarterback Daylyn Brickner. The younger Brickner started the second half of the season last year and threw for 479 yards and four touchdowns.

• Shileak Livingston and Josh Hough were the only teammates to both rush for more than 1,000 yards last season.

• Last season’s playoff appearance was Beaver Falls’ second since winning WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2016.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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