Class A football: Muncy vs. Steelton-Highspire
Muncy (6-6) vs. Steelton-Highspire (4-7) at Susquehanna Township High School, Friday, 7 p.m.
Muncy PPG–19.4, PPA–19.8; YPG–233, YPA–244.1
Steel High PPG–18.1, PPA–24.7; YPG–350.1, YPA–155.7
Muncy facts: The Indians captured their first District 4 championship since 1986 last week, blanking top-seeded Sayre, 13-0. Muncy won two road games in districts and has recorded six straight scoreless quarters. The Indians have good athletes and hit hard on defense, not allowing more than 18 points in any of their wins. Muncy shut down Sayre’s power running game and allowed just 158 yards. Linebacker Malik Wertman leads the team in tackles and needs just three more to reach 100 for a second straight season. Sophomore linebacker Mike Kustanbauter looks like a future star and has had a breakout season, averaging 6.8 tackles per game and making 19 tackles for loss. Defensive end Hunter Poust leads the area with 20 tackles for loss and also has a team-high six sacks. Safety Coleman Good is second on the team in tackles and both Jeff Fry and Adam Dietrick have combined for four interceptions. Muncy entered the season as one of the area’s youngest teams, but has grown up fast and made steady progress all season. The Indians are a battle-tested team after playing AA qualifiers Wellsboro, South Williamsport and Hughesville. Good has performed well in his second season starting at quarterback and went over 1,000 yards in last week’s win. The mobile sophomore also has topped 100 yards rushing in consecutive playoff games. Kustanbauter and Colby Alpaugh form a solid backfield tandem and Alpaugh scored his team-high seventh touchdown last week. Fry is a good receiver who leads the team with 32 catches, and he has scored 11 touchdowns the past two seasons. Fry also has recorded two 100-yard games and Dietrick caught a crucial touchdown pass in a 27-18 comeback semifinal win over Wyalusing. Muncy has a good core returning next season, but has embraced this current opportunity well and allowed just five first downs over the last six quarters.
Muncy player to watch–Tylor Rupert: A good senior leader, Rupert has been crucial to the defense’s success. The defensive lineman averages 4.6 tackles per game and has eight tackles for loss. He also is second on the team with four sacks.
Steel-High facts: The Rollers are coming together at the right time and have navigated a tough schedule that makes their record deceiving. Steel-High are the lone Class A team in the Mid-Penn Capital Division which features big school teams like Middletown, Milton Hershey and East Pennsboro, who went a combined 24-6 during the regular season. Steel-High has won two of its last three and beat top-seeded Halifax, 20-14 in Saturday’s District 3 championship. Steel-High took advantage of some key turnovers, played strong defense and ran the ball well enough to secure the win in a physical contest. Jarvai Flowers has been the go-to play for Steel-High and ran for 78 yards while Isaiah Lockette ran for 40 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Flowers has been a workhorse all season, taking pressure off a struggling passing game that has produced just 286 yards. The offense, however, received a lift against Halifax with starting quarterback Malachi Young returning after missing most of the season with a knee injury. Young ran for, and threw for, a touchdown. Lockette and Javion Grant are dangerous playmakers who are used in a variety of ways and who can also be special teams factors. The defense stuffed Halifax throughout the second half and defensive tackle Eric Washington is tough to move up front. Steel-High features a storied history that includes 11 district championships and state titles in 2007 and 2008. The Rollers, however, have had losing records in each of the last three seasons.
Steel-High player to watch–Tim Kater: Joining Washington up front, Kater helped the defensive line control the line of scrimmage against Halifax. He also is a hard-nosed fullback who ran for 32 yards in the championship win.
Winner plays: District 2 champion Lackwanna Trail or District 11 champion Williams Valley
Outlook: This is a matchup between teams who have hit their stride at the perfect time. Muncy has to match Steel-High’s physicality and negate its speed if it hopes to keep this championship season going.
–by CHRIS MASSE