Warrior Run at Danville football preview

Warrior Run facts: The Defenders are seeking their first postseason berth since 2007 and could reach the District 4 Class AA playoffs if they win tonight and receive some outside help. The top eight teams advance and Warrior Run is tied for ninth with Towanda so it needs to pull the upset and have either Mount Carmel, Hughesville and/or Central to lose. If the Defenders do not qualify, they still might reach the Eastern Conference playoffs. Either way, this has been a season of big strides with Warrior Run winning its most games in a season since 2011. The Defenders snapped a four-game losing streak last week, defeating Montgomery, 21-13. Freshman quarterback Denver Beachel replaced an injured Gage Anzulavich and ripped off a dazzling 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to provide the winning score. Anzulavich could return tonight and went over 1,000 yards for a second straight season in the win. Senior running back Anthony Null ran for a season-high 77 yards and Matt Gummo caught four passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Gummo is third among area receivers with 35 catches. The defense has played well the last two weeks and Noah Showers and Pacey Howard are two of the HAC-III’s premier linebackers.

Warrior Run player to watch–Austin Hampton: The sophomore linebacker is becoming a nice defensive weapon and had a career-high 11 tackles against Montgomery. Hampton added a sack.

Danville facts: The Ironmen could be heating up again now that leading rusher Trent Hilkert has returned from injury. Danville started 4-1 before injuries started taking a toll. The Ironmen snapped a three-game losing streak with an emphatic 38-7 win at Shamokin last week. Hilkert and Feldman both are closing in on 1,000 yards and both topped 125 yards in the win. Danville also threw the ball well with quarterback Peyton Riley throwing for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Shane Kozick has had a big second half this season and caught four passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Danville is the No. 3 seed for the District 4 Class AAA semifinals and will play at No. 2 Loyalsock next weekend. The Ironmen have a good core back from last year’s seven-win team and are playoff-bound for the seventh time in eight seasons. They also are a team that should be title contenders again the next few seasons with most starters returning next year. Danville intercepted four passes last week and sophomore linebacker Eric Sees made five tackles for loss as the Ironmen allowed just 40 rushing yards.

Danville player to watch–Preston Fausnaught: The sophomore two-way starting lineman is tough to move up front and was a force against Shamokin, making a team-high 11 tackles and five tackles for loss. Fausnaught averages six tackles per game and has 14 tackles for loss.

Outlook: The Ironmen appear to have too much for Warrior Run to pull the upset but this is why the game is played on the field and not on paper. Anything can happen.