Preview: Jersey Shore at Selinsgrove
When:?Friday, 7 p.m.
Winner plays: Somerset (10-1) or Clearfield (11-0)
Last meeting: Selinsgrove defeated Jersey Shore, 14-6 in Week 8
Jersey Shore ppg-21.2; ppa-23.1; ypg-294.2; ypa-286.2
Last playoff appearance-2008: beat East Juniata 54-25 in semifinals; lost to Selinsgrove 35-7 in championship
Jersey Shore facts: The Bulldogs are District 4’s most improved team, coming back strong after going 0-10 last year and 3-37 the previous four. Jersey Shore is peaking at the perfect time, winning its last three games. The Bulldogs avenged a Week 7 loss to Shikellamy in last week’s semifinals, beating the top-seed 24-14 last week. Jersey Shore overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit and dominated the second half on both sides. It was the third time, the Bulldogs overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win. Senior running back Utoa Agae-Naipo topped 100 yards for a fifth straight week, running for 128 yards and a touchdown behind a surging offensive line. Agae-Naipo is the first Jersey Shore running back to surpass 1,000 yards since 1999. Jersey Shore has not lost since senior Jordan Tawney returned to the offensive lineup. Tawney broke a finger in Week 2 and returned defensively three weeks later. He has made a big impact since his offensive return, scoring in his last two games while running for 118 yards and a touchdown in a 36-20 Week 10 win over Central Mountain. Jersey Shore has won five games for the first time since 2007 and is trying to capture its first district championship since 1997. The defense is vastly improved and held Selinsgrove to 188 yards in Week 8. It has 29 sacks and five players have at least 4.5. Linebacker Dom Loffredo has had a terrific season, averaging 7.1 tackles per game while adding 5.5 sacks. Defensive end Zach Miller also has been solid, recording five sacks. Boone Costa is a versatile player in all three facets and has a team-high four interceptions. Brody Smith intercepted two passes last week and is one of the area’s top receivers.
Jersey Shore player to watch-Bryce Charles: The sophomore nose guard has been a big part of the team’s resurgence. He has been outstanding up front and has a team-high 18 tackles for losses. Charles also has 4.5 sacks and is a good short-yardage running back.
Selinsgrove ppg-22.3; ppa-21.9; ypg-274.6; ypa-308.4
Last playoff appearance-2012: beat Shamokin, 41-0 in semifinals; beat Milton 35-0 in final; beat University Prep 41-14 in states; lost to Allentown Central Catholic, 41-13 in state quarterfinals
Selinsgrove facts: The Seals are seeking their second straight district championship and their eighth in the last 10 seasons. Like Jersey Shore, Selinsgrove is playing its best football at the most opportune time. Selinsgrove avenged a Week 7 loss to Milton last week, pounding the Black Panthers, 41-18. Selinsgrove was only the second team in the last 10 weeks to hold Milton to fewer than 28 points. The Seals have been hit hard by injuries and have switched a lot of players around to different positions but are now settling in. The offensive line dominated last week and helped Selinsgrove run for 336 yards. Angelo Martin had a career performance, rushing for 163 yards and five touchdowns. Conner Lisenfeld added 82 yards and a touchdown. Lisenfeld had a big game four weeks ago against Jersey Shore, running for 174 yards and two touchdowns as Selinsgrove overcame a 6-0 halftime deficit to win. Selinsgrove started 3-1 before losing four of its next five games. The Seals, though, nearly made a big comeback against Mount Carmel in Week 9 and turned things around with a 17-14 win the next week against District 4 Class AA semifinalist Danville. The defense allowed only 226 yards in that game.
Selinsgrove player to watch-Isaiah Rapp: The quarterback has become an offensive and defensive threat. He has topped 1,000 yards for a second straight year and threw for 183 yards against Danville. He also has three interceptions, including a big early one last week against Milton.
Outlook: This entire four-team field was evenly matched. Both teams are playing well and both teams have overcome a lot. It would be surprising if this rematch again is not a close one.