Football preview: Jersey Shore at Shamokin
Jersey Shore facts: The Bulldogs are hoping to snap a two-game losing streak and re-assert themselves as District 4 Class AAAA title contenders. Turnovers have plagued the defending champions and they have nine in consecutive losses to Selinsgrove and Shikellamy. Jersey Shore has 21 turnovers this season and 12 have come in losses. Clean up those mistakes and Jersey Shore remains dangerous. The defense stuffed Shikellamy’s dangerous running game last week and all-state linebacker Dominic Williams has an area-high 19 tackles for loss while averaging 13.0 per game. Fellow linebacker Hunter O’Connor also is having a big season, averaging 12.1 tackles per game and had 19 against Shikellamy. The Bulldogs are among the area’s leaders in sacks with 16 and brothers David and Kyle Tomb have three each. David Tomb had four tackles for loss and two sacks against Selinsgrove and added 12 more tackles last week. The offense has the potential to be explosive down the stretch and Kyle Tomb is second among area rushers with 1,118 yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Elijah Shemory has topped 1,000 yards for a second straight season and is nearing 4,000 career yards. Hunter Frantz, Kevin Titus and Koby Peacock form a strong receiving group and Titus caught five passes for 61 yards last week in his second game back this season. Jersey Shore is fourth in the district playoff standings and the top four teams advance.
Jersey Shore player to watch–Mason Sechrist: The senior two-way lineman is having his second straight strong season and is vital to Jersey Shore’s success on both sides of the ball. Sechrist is a constant presence in the backfield and has 33 quarterback hurries, along with three sacks and nine tackles for loss. He also is averaging 8.4 tackles per game, a terrific number for a defensive lineman.
Shamokin facts: The Indians have improved the last few weeks, winning their first game in Week 5, taking a lead into the second quarter against Shikellamy and leading Central Mountain at halftime last week. Shamokin, though, has struggled in the second half in its last two games and managed just two first downs against Central Mountain over the final two quarters of a 28-14 loss. The offense showed some life when running back Mark Wetzel was moved to running back in a 29-15 win over Mifflinburg. Wetzel threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns in that game and was 6 for 9 for 105 yards and two touchdowns against Central Mountain. Running back Devin Pietkiewicz is leading Shamokin in rushing for a second straight season and has topped 90 yards in his last three games. The senior ran for a season-high 195 yards in the Mifflinburg win. Shamokin played Selinsgrove tough in a 20-0 Week 3 loss, containing the Seals powerful offense.
Shamokin player to watch–Jake Jeremiah: Wetzel’s favorite target caught two touchdowns last week and is averaging 23.3 yards per catch. He also scored on a rushing touchdown against undefeated Southern Columbia.
Outlook: Shamokin has slowed down opposing offenses but does not seem to have the firepower to keep up with Jersey Shore. That is, as long as Jersey Shore solves its turnover problem.
–by CHRIS MASSE