Mount Carmel at Lewisburg
Mount Carmel facts: The Tornadoes are fighting back after suffering a four-game losing streak and have worked themselves into the District 4 Class AA playoff picture with consecutive wins over Danville and Milton. Mount Carmel enters tonight eighth in the playoff standings and the top eight teams advance. Mount Carmel could be a tough out if it qualifies, featuring a potent offense and having navigated a demanding schedule. Quarterback John Ayres ignites the offense and the sophomore has a shot at a 1,000-yard passing and rushing season. Running back Lane Tanney is dangerous as well, leading the team in receiving and being second in rushing. He caught eight passes for 123 yards in Week 4 against Montoursville and ran for a career-high 143 yards on just seven carries in last week’s 48-0 win over Milton. Tight end Wesley Shurock caught three touchdowns, including the game-winner in a 42-41 overtime season-opening win over Loyalsock. Mount Carmel rallied from a 20-point third-quarter deficit in that win.
Mount Carmel player to watch-Manus McCracken: The junior linebacker averages a team-high 8.7 tackles per game and has topped 10 tackles three times. He also is a good blocking fullback.
Lewisburg facts: The Green Dragons might have saved their season last week, rallying in the final minute and then beating Danville, 10-7 in overtime. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and moved Lewisburg to fifth in the Class AAA standings. The top four advance and Lewisburg plays No. 4 Mifflinburg in Week 10. A win tonight would provide those playoff chances a huge boost. The defense played its best game against Danville, not allowing a point after the first quarter. Three-year starting linebacker Trey Delbaugh is having another outstanding season and had 15 tackles with an interception. Fellow linebacker Andrew Shedleski added 12 tackles. The offense struggled all night until it mattered most and freshman quarterback Nick Shedleski was nearly perfect on the game-tying drive that Dylan Farronato capped with a 13-yard touchdown. Shedleski is closing in on a 1,000-yard season and Farronato is among the area’s leading receivers, scoring in all but two games. Donte Malone also is a dangerous receiver and has returned an interception and punt for touchdowns this season. Lewisburg is a few plays from having four wins, losing by 10 combined points the first two weeks after holding second-half leads.
Lewisburg player to watch-Zach Herman: The senior defensive lineman was a difference-maker against Danville, helping slow down the Ironmen running game. Herman made eight tackles and seven were solos. He added a sack.
Outlook: Both teams are desperate for a win and are playing well at a good time. This should be a fun one.
-by CHRIS MASSE