Sun-Gazette power rankings
1. Williamsport (2-0): That chip Williamsport is carrying on its collective shoulder seems more like a boulder. The Millionaires have a chance tonight to show District 2 how dangerous they remain. Keep an eye on Tanner Esposito. The standout pitcher for the baseball team is playing high school football for the first time and is proving a quick study. Esposito caught four passes in last week’s win.
2. South Williamsport (1-1): The season has so long to go but I will guarantee, no other area team mounts a scoring drive longer than the 21-play march South conducted to force overtime last week. The only team that might come close to breaking it is probably South. Few teams do a better job keeping the defense fresh than South does with its sledge-hammer like offense.
3. Jersey Shore (1-1): So much for home-field advantage. Few teams have played as well on the road over the last two seasons as Jersey Shore. The Bulldogs were perfect away from home last year and dominated all facets in their first road game last week. Jersey Shore has won seven straight regular-season road games going back to 2015, allowing just 79 points during that span.
4. Wellsboro (2-0): The Green Hornets learn a lot about themselves in their first major test tonight. Like Williamsport, one better believe Wellsboro is eager to show it is not going anywhere. Going back to last season, the starting Wellsboro defense has allowed three touchdowns. That is not a misprint.
5. Loyalsock (1-1): If the defense plays the way it did last week, Loyalsock could be mighty tough to beat moving forward. The offense looks dangerous already and Loyalsock might have the area’s deepest receiving group. Brock Hepler, Gerald Ross and Jaiden Cioffi already have had strong games and Sam Newton produced one of the season’s early highlight-reel touchdown catches.
6. Muncy (2-0): The Indians lost to Warrior Run and Troy in their first two games a year ago by a combined 59 points. That Muncy has dominated the line of scrimmage and beaten both in the first two weeks shows how much progress is being made by last year’s District 4 Class A champions. A year ago, the Indians played both district games on the road. If they keep winning that will change come November.
7. Hughesville (1-1): Tonight is Military Appreciation Night at Hughesville. Admission for veterans is free an all those in attendance could see quite a game as the Spartans try making a major statement against South Williamsport. Hughesville has played well on Military Appreciation Night in the past and rallied past Lewisburg to win, 26-23 in overtime last year.
8. North Penn-Mansfield (1-1): The Panthers are making life difficult on opposing quarterbacks and have 10 sacks the first two weeks. Naseer Burzak is enjoying a breakout season and has three sacks while Garrett David, Kipp Hillson and Hunter May have two each.
9. Warrior Run (1-1): Welcome back, Riley Daubert. The sophomore opened his scholastic career in impressive fashion, topping 100 rushing yards in his first game. By midseason, Daubert was not playing anymore, but he is back and is flourishing at a new position. Daubert is among the area’s leading receivers with 10 catches for 107 yards and caught his first two touchdowns last week.
10. Lewisburg (1-1): The Green Dragons would not have won last week’s game had he played, but Max Moyers missing the game with an injury already showed how valuable the freshman is. The bottom line is Lewisburg likely would have played Central tougher with Moyers in the lineup. He is a difference-maker and helps provide balance to what was a nearly all-pass offense in 2016.
11. Montoursville (0-2): As young as the Warriors are and as tough as their schedule is they likely will remain in the playoff hunt all season and could reach the postseason with just a few wins. Don’t believe me? Look at the seven-team Class AAA field and one sees how realistic that is. Reaching the playoffs would be a nice reward for seniors like Brian Shaffer, Dalton Tubbs, Anthony Washington and Keegan Leahy who helped Montoursville play in three straight district finals and who are working hard to get things going in 2017.
12. Central Mountain (0-2): The Wildcats have some nice pieces, but they have to figure out a way to put the whole puzzle together. Austyn Carson hitting Trevor Hanna with a touchdown last week ended a touchdown-pass drought at Central Mountain that dated back to 2015.
13. Montgomery (1-1): In addition having a chance to exact revenge against a bully from the past at Sayre, Montgomery could win back to back games for the first time since 2009. Doing so would be a huge step forward for a team that appears to be going in the right direction.
14. Canton (0-2): Timmy Ward delivered a performance to remember against Wyalusing, catching 13 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Last year’s returning receiver Levi Gaiotti returns for tonight’s game against Bucktail so the Warriors have some nice playmakers, including Camden Smith. Michael Smithers has a big arm so Canton could be an entertaining team to watch throughout the season.
15. Bucktail (1-1): After playing Towanda tough last week, the Bucks are looking like they could be one of this year’s surprise teams. Four freshmen are starting and making immediate impacts. The offense features several playmakers and Bucktail could be a sleeper in the race for a District 4 Class A playoff berth. Tonight will be a good barometer to see how realistic that goal is.
16. Milton (0-2): Quarterback Phil Davis is putting up passing numbers the program has not seen since Brady Chappell last played there in 2013. Having him for next season, too, gives Milton a solid foundation to build upon.
17. Cowanesque Valley (0-2): Matt Barber was a matchup nightmare last week before exiting the game late in the third quarter. He leads CV in rushing, receiving and also has intercepted a pass. Oh yeah, he kicks and punts as well. Talk about being quite an athlete.