Football preview: Lewisburg at Loyalsock
District 4 Class AAA Semifinals
No. 3 Lewisburg (4-6) at No. 2 Loyalsock (6-4)
Lewisburg PPG-20.2, YPG-257.3; PPA-31.6, YPA-361.6
Lewisburg facts: Only Southern Columbia has a longer District 4 playoff streak than Lewisburg. The Green Dragons are making their 10th straight appearance but are seeking their first postseason win since 2011. Lewisburg has been decimated with injuries throughout the season, losing 11 starters at different times. The Dragons, though, are getting healthier at the right time and had three key starters return in last week’s 27-22 comeback win at Mifflinburg. Lewisburg trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and 16-13 in the fourth quarter before rallying. Freshman running back Max Moyers returned from injury and ran for a season-high 241 yards and two touchdowns. Moyers has made a huge impact in his debut season, running with speed and power and topping 100 yards in three of his last four games. Sophomore quarterback Nick Shedleski has topped 1,000 yards in consecutive years and ran well against Mifflinburg, rushing for a career-high 76 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Dylan Farronato has not played since Week 8 with a shoulder injury and is questionable to play tonight. If he does, that provides Lewisburg a dynamic weapon. The junior receiver is the area’s active leader in career catches (94), averages 19.3 yards per catch and has caught seven touchdowns. He also is an elite defensive back who has returned three interceptions for touchdowns the past two seasons. Lewisburg’s offensive line played its best game last week, paving the way for a season-high 415 yards. The defense has struggled at times, but is an opportunistic unit that has produced three touchdowns. Linebacker Ethan Spaulding returned an interception for a touchdown in a 28-9 win over Montoursville and linebacker Draven Doebler averages 10.4 tackles per game. Doebler had 20 tackles in Week 4 at Jersey Shore and also has 11 tackles for loss. Charlie Blough has added three sacks and the defense has forced 18 turnovers.
Lewisburg player to watch: Andrew Shedleski: The two-way starter is a valuable leader and his return from injury two weeks ago has provided a huge boost. Shedleski is a good offensive lineman and also an excellent linebacker who is second on the team in tackles. The senior averages 8.3 tackles per game and made a season-high two weeks ago against Bloomsburg.
Loyalsock PPG-34.0, YPG-395.2; PPA-20.7, YPA-245.9
Loyalsock facts: Like Lewisburg, the Lancers are hoping to end a playoff drought and win their first postseason game since 2014. Loyalsock has lost first-round home games the last two years and seemed to suffer a letdown against Danville in last year’s semifinals, following a big win over eventual district champion Montoursville. Loyalsock is a few plays from being 9-1, losing three of its games by 11 combined points and looked strong in last week’s 34-13 win at Montoursville. The Lancers played a good game on both sides of the ball and the defense has surrendered two or fewer touchdowns seven times this season. All-state linebacker Hunter Webb is having another big season, averaging a district-best 14.2 tackles per game. Webb has topped 100 tackles in each of the last three seasons and also has six sacks and an interception. Fellow linebacker Dom Fischetti also is having a stellar season and Chase Waller made seven tackles last week. Fellow linebacker Aiden Gair returned an interception 60 yards for a game-breaking touchdown and defensive back Jacob Waltz made 12 tackles, including 11 solos. Loyalsock was especially strong up front against Montoursville and Geno Ginoble had eight tackles, along with a sack. Ginoble and Carmen Barone have put together quality seasons along the line and Ginoble has five tackles for loss and had a 12-tackle performance against South Williamsport. The offense has been ranked among the area’s best throughout the season and quarterback Connor Watkins has topped 1,000 yards for a third straight year. Watkins threw for 273 yards and totaled four touchdowns against Montoursville. He is a dual threat who has totaled 2,304 yards and 33 touchdowns. Loyalsock has a good set of receivers and Gerald Ross has a program-record 12 touchdown catches, along with 850 yards this season. He is one of six Lancers who has more than 100 yards receiving.
Loyalsock player to watch-Bam Bam Brima: The first-year defensive end is getting better each week and was a force against Montoursville, making nine tackles, two for loss and batting down a pass. The 6-7, 230-pounder is quick and powerful, plays the run well and gets after the passer. He has two tackles for loss in each of his last four games and is averaging nearly nine tackles per game over his last three.
Outlook: Lewisburg built momentum for this game with its comeback win last week. The Dragons are healthier than they have been in weeks and that makes them more dangerous. They played Danville tough four weeks ago and this looks like it could be one of the district’s more entertaining games tonight.
Winner plays: No. 1 Danville (8-2) or No. 4 Mifflinburg (2-8)