District 4 A: Muncy at Sayre
Muncy facts: The Indians are playing in the first district final since 2005 and are seeking their first championship in nearly 30 years. Muncy won its first playoff game since 2002 last week, overcoming an 11-point second-quarter deficit and beating Wyalusing, 27-18. The Indians outscored Wyalusing, 27-7, over the final three quarters and the offensive line dominated the second half, controlling the clock and helping let Wyalusing touch the ball just twice. Muncy did some good things in its final two regular-season games against AA qualifiers South Williamsport and Hughesville and that showed against the Rams. Muncy played one of its most complete games and the defense held Wyalusing without a second-half first down. Defensive end Hunter Poust and linebacker Mike Kustanbauter led the area in tackles for loss, combining for nearly 40. Two-way starter Malik Wertman is closing in on a second straight 100-tackle season and leads the team in tackles. Tylor Rupert is having a good season up front and is second on the team with four sacks. The growth of the offensive line is a huge development and the offense is developing more playmakers as well. Sophomore quarterback Coleman Good ran for a career-high 141 yards last week and also is closing in on a 1,000-yard passing season. Kustanbauter and Colby Alpaugh combined for 101 yards against Wyalusing and Adam Dietrick caught a touchdown. Wide receiver Jeff Fry has two 100-yard games this season and caught an overtime touchdown, as well as an overtime-forcing 2-point conversion, seven weeks ago when Muncy lost a 23-22 heartbreaker to Sayre.
Muncy player to watch–Isaac Mottern: Playing against a physical defense that ranks second in District 4 in yards allowed, Muncy’s offensive line has to come up big if Muncy is to end its championship drought. Mottern is an important part of that surging line and the 215-pound senior played an excellent game against Wyalusing last week.
Sayre facts: The Redskins are trying to win their first district championship and won their first-ever district playoff game a week ago, beating Canton, 26-12. Sayre has excelled in close games, beating Muncy in overtime and Montgomery by one in Week 3. The Redskins also outscored Canton, 14-0, in the fourth quarter of a 21-7 Week 8 win. That was part of a seven-game winning streak as Sayre moved past Wyalusing and took the top seed. Sayre plays power football and is averaging 233 rushing yards per game. Tylor Belles is a hard-nosed, 215-pound running back who has run for 1,476 yards and 19 touchdowns. Belles gouged Muncy for 165 yards, two scores and the game-winning 2-point play on 38 carries in the first game. Belles injured his knee against Canton last week and did not play in the second half and is questionable for tonight’s game. Even without Belles in the second half, a big and physical offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage as Sayre ran for 286 yards and broke open a close game. Matt Ingrassia is a dangerous running back as well and showed it against Canton, running for a career-high 158 yards. Ingrassia also came up big in the 21-20 win over Montgomery, running for 91 yards and a touchdown. Sayre does not throw much but quarterback John Esposito threw an overtime touchdown pass against Muncy and also hit Jake Goodrich for a touchdown last week.
Sayre player to watch–Gage Carnrike: The defensive back is a big part of the team’s success and intercepted his sixth pass last week.
Winner plays: District 3’s champion, either Halifax or Steelton-Highspire
Outlook: These two teams are pretty similar and both like to try and impose their will with physical play. If Muncy can repeat its second-half performance from last week it has a chance to do something no Muncy team has in the last three decades.