AA: Hughesville at Wellsboro

Hughesville facts: The Spartans are making their third straight district playoff appearance and are surging at the right time, winning three of their last four games, all which were must-wins. Hughesville’s only loss during that time was a 38-35 heartbreaker to Class AAA top seed Montoursville. Hughesville scored 41 points over the final three quarters last week at Muncy, beating its rival, 41-15. The offense is clicking and Hughesville has topped 30 points in three of its last four games. Quarterback Landon Henry is among the area’s top 10 passers and rushers, leading the team in both categories. He accounted for five touchdowns last week and wide receiver Brenden Gardner had another big game, catching five passes for 99 yards and two scores. Fullback Jase Wright has had a strong year but missed last week with an injury so Gavin Steele stepped in and performed well, running for 69 hard-earned yards. The offensive line is playing well and Josh Dauberman is an excellent two-way starting lineman. The defense forced five turnovers last week with Ryan McClain, Ori Shaner and Kade Heckel intercepting passes. McClain is a versatile threat in all three phases and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown against Montoursville. Julian Brehm is an emerging offensive threat and also is tough on defense. Gage Avery has a team-high five sacks and linebacker Dale Shrawder is having a super season. Shrawder made 15 tackles last week. Pat Rogers has made strides on both sides of the ball and scored twice against Montoursville.

Hughesville player to watch–Braden Foresman: The senior is doing his best to extend his scholastic career and heating up when it matters most. Foresman made nine tackles last week and also has two sacks.

Wellsboro facts: The Green Hornets capped an undefeated season for the second time in four years last week and are 38-7 during that time. Wellsboro captured last year’s District 4 Class A championship and won the NTL title last week in a winner-take-all, 32-0 win over No. 4 North Penn-Mansfield. The Hornets feature a relentless defense has statistically might be the area’s best ever. The starters have allowed only three touchdowns and none since Week 5. Wellsboro has shutout seven teams, including the last two. The Hornets fly to the ball, play good assignment football and defend the pass well without having to blitz a lot. Kaleb Smith, Collin Pietropola and Dominic Spencer all had sacks last week while Dalton Prough intercepted a pass that ended a third-quarter scoring threat. Parker Jones is an all-state defensive end and leads the team in tackles and sacks while sophomore Robert Brown has emerged as one of the area’s top linebackers. Prough and Alex Kozuhowski have intercepted seven passes and the defense has scored more touchdowns (5) than it has allowed (3). The offense is strong too with quarterback Quinn Henry building off last year’s 1,000-yard rushing/passing season. Henry ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns against North Penn-Mansfield and also found Brandon Lamphier for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Chase Moser also topped 100 yards last week and is in the top 15 among area rushers. Lamphier tore his ACL last year but played through it and nearly half of his 12 catches have resulted in touchdowns.

Wellsboro player to watch–Ethan Nichols: The 6-2, 265-pound senior has been a key piece of Wellsboro’s offensive success, providing excellent blocking up front. The offensive line has grown stronger as the season has continued and Nichols was part of a unit that paved the way for 336 yards against North Penn-Mansfield.

Winner plays: No. 6 Mount Carmel or No. 3 South Williamsport

Outlook: This is one of the weekend’s most intriguing games. Hughesville has looked like a dangerous team that could give a higher-seeded team fits throughout the second half of this season. Expect a close, but low-scoring game.