Sun-Gazette power rankings
1. Williamsport (1-0): Cam Dickey might be one of the area’s smallest linebackers, but the 5-foot-6 senior is a big-time playmaker. Dickey was a force in last year’s district championship win over Delaware Valley and had four tackles for loss in last week’s season opener. Dickey has a fast motor, plays smart and has become a defensive leader after topping 100 tackles in 2016.
2. South Williamsport (1-0): Keep an eye on Chris Klem. The junior linebacker enjoyed a breakout season last year and greatly increased his strength in the offseason. He recovered a fumble against Montgomery, is part of a strong unit and could be a difference-maker all season.
3. Jersey Shore (0-1): The Bulldogs hurt themselves with turnovers last week. Clean up those and they still look mighty dangerous. Seeing how Jersey Shore responds to a surprising loss will be interesting tonight. The Bulldogs were knocked down last week, but do not expect them to stay down.
4. Wellsboro (1-0): The Green Hornets have won 12 straight regular-season games and held an opponent to fewer than 100 yards in a season opener for a third consecutive seasons. Wellsboro has built its program from the bottom up and, despite losing some outstanding players from last year’s 11-1 team, remains dangerous because the incoming young players have so much promise.
5. Loyalsock (0-1): The offense looked dynamic last week, while the defense struggled. Get both those units clicking at the same time and Loyalsock looks like a district title contender. It’s too bad the Lancers and Mount Carmel cannot play again next year. They are not traditional rivals, but when five of the last seven games are decided by seven points or fewer in a series it sure feels like a rivalry.
6. Lewisburg (1-0): The present and future looks pretty good. Quarterback Nick Shedleski shined last year and freshman running back Max Moyers showed big-time potential last week. Knowing they are around for the next three and four seasons, respectively, has to have first-year coach Marc Persing especially excited.
7. North Penn-Mansfield (1-0): If it moves, Garrett David will hit it. The junior linebacker was among the district’s leading tacklers last year and opened his season with a 16-tackle performance last week.
8. Muncy (1-0): The Indians exacted some revenge last Friday, beating Warrior Run a year after losing to it, 32-7. Now they have a shot at repeating that feeling tonight. Troy routed Muncy, 48-14 a year ago and if the Indians can beat the perennial playoff qualifier it would be another good step for last year’s District 4 Class A champion team.
9. Hughesville (0-1): The Spartans play a demanding schedule and it only grows tougher the next four weeks. They showed they like a challenge last week, however, and nearly pulled off a nice comeback win. Look for this team to make nice strides as the season continues.
10. Montoursville (0-1): Speaking of tough schedules, Montoursville might have the toughest in District 4. It is a challenging task for one of the district’s youngest teams but it also creates some opportunities. Competitors love proving doubters wrong and the Warriors will have ample chances to do just that the next four weeks.
11. Central Mountain (0-1): As I filed my story last week at a Lock Haven eatery, I overheard five people already saying that Central Mountain’s season was doomed. Calm down. It was one game. It was against a good team. The Wildcats might be just fine. But with “fans” like that…
12. Warrior Run (0-1): Pacey Howard has played three offensive positions during his scholastic career and two more on defense. He also returned a kickoff return for a touchdown last week. Yeah, he’s pretty versatile.
13. Canton (0-1): Last week is over and Canton has a chance to make a nice statement if it can win Saturday. This is a good test against a solid Wyalusing team and could be an early barometer to see how Canton stacks up in District 4 Class A .
14. Bucktail (1-0): The Bucks won their first game since 2015 last year and could be building something good. They only have 18 players but most are young and talented. Playing in the NTL is tough, but keep an eye on this team.
15. Milton (0-1): The Black Panthers threw the ball better last week than they had in any game since 2013. It was a positive first step. Now they just have to stop the pass better.
16. Montgomery (0-1): Opening the season against a strong Class AA team like South was a tall order but better days are ahead for Montgomery. The Red Raiders play their home opener tonight and there is a positive buzz surrounding a team that could be poised for a breakthrough.
17. Cowanesque Valley (0-1): The Indians can relate well to tonight’s opponent. CV opened the season against perennial Class AAAA playoff qualifier Athens. It was a tough opener, but it could make CV better, starting tonight.