South Williamsport at Danville

South facts: The Mounties have won 10 straight regular-season games since Danville defeated it, 29-13 in Week 2 last year. South also has won five straight road regular-season games, including at Loyalsock. South had little trouble in its opener, thumping Montgomery, 48-6. The Mounties built a 42-0 halftime lead and the starting defense did not allow a point. The Mounties are a physical team that loves to run the ball and has the line and backs to do so. The play of quarterback A.J. Flick, however, can give the offense a big boost and make it more difficult to stop. The second-year starter made nice strides as last season continued and completed 6 of 7 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns against Montgomery. Cole Lentz caught three passes for 83 yards and Austin Nash hauled in two touchdowns in his first varsity start. Tight end Chevy Bolay also caught a 22-yard touchdown pass. Having that passing game clicking is key against a stout defense like Danville which allowed just 135 rushing yards in last year’s game. Gideon Green ran for 156 yards last week and is the area’s active career rushing leader with more than 1,000 yards. Ashton Martin also is a dangerous running back who ran for 50 yards and scored twice last week. The defense shut down Montgomery and has a good core of players back from last year’s HAC-III champion. South has won five straight conference championships and reached last year’s District 4 Class AA championship.

South player to watch–Griffyn Metzger: A three-year starter along the offensive line, Metzger has been key to that unit being among the area’s best during that time. Big, strong and physical, Metzger helps set the tone up front and his play against an aggressive Danville front could have a big impact on how tonight’s game plays out.

Danville facts: Like South, Danville is a returning district finalist, reaching last year’s Class AAA final. The Ironmen return nearly every starter from that team and are ranked among the state’s Top 10 Class AAA teams. Bloomsburg put a scare into Danville in last week’s season opener, but the defense made key stops down the stretch as it won, 14-7. Danville has been one of the area’s best teams at forcing turnovers throughout this decade and intercepted three passes in the opener. The defense is strong in all three facets and Preston Fausnaught, Ken Cooper and Derien Yeager are among the district’s premier playmakers. The offense showed it can open up against Bloomsburg after primarily doing its damage with the run in 2016. Quarterback Peyton Riley is a dual threat who threw for 176 yards and two scores while also leading the team in rushing. He nearly reached 1,000 passing yards in his first year starting last season. Running back Gannon Feldman ran for 1,180 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Feldman is a four-year starter and helped Danville run for 250 yards in last year’s win at South.

Danville player to watch–Peyton Persing: The junior wide receiver stretches the field, has good burst and might have been last week’s MVP against Bloomsburg. Persing caught a six passes for a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns. Both his touchdowns came on long passes and one included a terrific, acrobatic catch. Persing averaged 22.3 yards per catch last year and also is a key part of the secondary, intercepting a pass against Bloomsburg.

Outlook: This is easily the area’s best game this week. These are two heavyweights with big past achievements and even bigger expectations this season. This will be a hard-hitting, physical contest and could down to who can avoid making the big mistake and/or turnover.

–by CHRIS MASSE

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