H.S. football: Around the area
Muncy (1-0) at Cowanesque Valley (0-1)
Muncy opened strong last Friday, blanking Warrior Run, 17-0. The Indians have not lost to Cowanesque Valley since that program was reinstated in 2004 and defeated it, 52-13 last year. The starting defense allowed only one yard in the first half and of that game and was outstanding last week, making two key red-zone stops in the second half. Muncy limited Warrior Run to 183 yards and forced three turnovers.
The Indians scored 17 points in the middle quarters against Warrior Run and quarterback Coleman Good threw for 223 yards. The game’s biggest play came in the second quarter when Good hit Dylan Wilt with an 89-yard touchdown pass. Good went over 3,000 career yards and Wilt finished with a career-high 160 yards. Muncy lost 1,000-yard rusher Colby Alpaugh to graduation, but Mike Kustanbauter and Paul Pepper formed a solid tandem, combining for 97 yards and a touchdown. Muncy captured last year’s NTL-I championship and is seeking its fourth straight playoff appearance.
Cowanesque Valley struggled against Wellsboro, losing 49-6. The Indians played without Matt Barber who led CV in rushing and receiving last season. Taaj Dallas played well in Barber’s place, running for a career-high 61 yards on 11 carries. He also caught a team-high three passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Seth Huyler scored the team’s lone touchdown and nearly reached 1,000 passing yards last season.
Linebacker Cole Gruver is a four-year starter and made 11 tackles for CV. He averaged more than 10 tackles per game last season.
Lewisburg (1-0) at Central Mountain (0-1)
Lewisburg opened its season in impressive fashion, rallying in the fourth quarter and defeating defending District 4 Class AAAA champion Selinsgrove, 32-22. The offense could potentially be one of the area’s best and, despite the running game being stymied, still did a lot of damage. Three-year starting quarterback Nick Shedleski completed 12 of 18 passes for 225 yards and also ran for two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Dylan Farronato became just the 10th player in area history to reach 100 career catches and played one of his best games, catching nine passes for 198 yards and two scores.
Running back Max Moyers was held to 33 yards, but became the first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards last season. He also is part of a defense that limited Selinsgrove to 233 yards and forced three turnovers. Linebacker Draven Doebler had a big junior season and picked up where he left off his senior opener, making 15 tackles, including six for loss. Doebler also had a sack, as did Ethan Spaulding. Brett Newcomb added an interception for Lewisburg which has reached districts in 10 straight seasons.
Central Mountain showed some big-time explosiveness in a season-opening 62-26 loss at Williamsport. Central Mountain gained an area-high 548 yards, including 394 in the first half. Quarterback Zane Probst has a big arm and shined in his first start, throwing for 294 yards. Senior wide receiver Collin Jones looked like somebody who has played football throughout high school instead of someone playing his first game. The speedy 6-4 first team Sun-Gazette forward in basketball last winter, torched Williamsport for five catches, 165 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. The Wildcats feature a solid running game as well. Rocco Stark is a big-play threat who ran for 110 yards and who broke off a 59-yard run.
Had it not been for four turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown, Central Mountain might have had 34 or more points by halftime. If the defense catches up to the ofense, the Wildcats could become a dangerous team.
Milton (0-1) at Warrior Run (0-1)
These are rivals coming from two different directions following opening-night losses. Milton was outstanding offensively and struggled defensively. It was the opposite for Warrior Run, which is seeking its fourth straight win in this rivalry series.
Milton could have one of the area’s premier offenses and showed why in a heart-breaking 34-33 loss to Shamokin. Quarterback Phil Davis is coming off a 2,000-yard season and threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Quaylin Rice, a fast and tall wide receiver caught four touchdowns and totaled 167 yards. Rice started making a big impact last season and is turning into an explosive weapon. What makes Milton more dangerous now is that it has a running game to complement the pass. Sophomore Jason Valladares was outstanding in his first varsity start, running for 125 yards and a touchdown. Milton finished last in District 4 in defense last season and that remains a concern after it squandered a 21-7 halftime lead last week.
Warrior Run played good defense in its 17-0 loss to Muncy, but struggled to finish drives, going 0 for 2 in the red zone. Running backs Hoyt Bower and Ahmahd Keyes look like they can an effective tandem and combined for 116 yards. Keyes can line up all over the field and was one of Warrior Run’s leading receivers last season. Wide receiver Riley Daubert caught four passes last week and is coming off a big sophomore season in which he caught 49 passes for 547 yards and eight touchdowns. Fellow junior Jackson Welliver sparked the defense, making a career-high 16 tackles. Senior Austin Hampton added 11 tackles and an interception and Jeffrey Burkhart was tough up front, making eight tackles, including two for loss.
Athens (1-0) at North Penn-Mansfield (0-1)
Athens is replacing a good core of players from last year’s eight-win team, but is a perennial NTL-I title contender and these rivals have played some excellent games over the years. The winner of tonight’s game gets a leg up in the league race and North Penn-Mansfield also is hoping to bounce back from a 51-6 loss at Montoursville. Athens thumped Hanover, 38-6 and Damian Hudson looks like he can be a good replacement for 2,000-yard rusher Zack Jayne after running for 122 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Kaden Rude threw for 878 yards last season and found his brother Keegan for a touchdown.
Athens played strong defense, surrendering only 143 yards. Ben Pernaselli was all over the field and had three sacks. Nick Watkins added seven tackles and Athens finished with six sacks. The Wildcats and Panthers have split their last two games with the home team winning each time.
North Penn-Mansfield drew a tough opening-night opponent and it will be interesting seeing how they respond. Like Athens, the Panthers are replacing a lot of starters but remain dangerous. Quarterback Brent Burleigh threw for 1,270 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and Garrett David was a first team Sun-Gazette all-star at linebacker. Mikah Kolb ran well at times last week, gaining a career-high 83 yards and scoring a touchdown. Eight different receivers caught a pass, but the Panthers struggled to stretch the field. Sawyer Freeman caught a career-high four passes and is a potential matchup problem.
The Panthers have put together five straight winning seasons and are seeking their sixth straight playoff appearance.
Troy (0-1) at Wellsboro (1-0)
Two-time defending NTL-I champion Wellsboro has not lost a league game since 2016 and this young team is hoping to retain a stranglehold on league supremacy. The Hornets opened strong, routing Cowanesque Valley, 49-6. Aidan Hauser is the only returning skill position player and the junior running back showcased his speed, running for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Silas Wagaman also is a burner and turned three of his four catches into touchdowns while finishing with 148 yards. Quarterback Karter Witmer played well in his first start, throwing three touchdowns and the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage.
Wellsboro has led the area in defense the past two seasons and looks strong again with defensive linemen Hunter and Robert Brown anchoring things. Sophomore Alex Moore was sensational in all facets, running for 71 yards and a touchdown, intercepting two passes and adding a sack. Wagaman also intercepted a pass and Wellsboro allowed an area-low 139 yards.
Troy is hoping to bounce back from a 3-7 season but drew a tough opening-night opponent, losing to Bald Eagle Area, 50-6. The Trojans allowed 486 passing yards in defeat and trailed 23-0 at halftime. Running back Tyler Williams ran for 95 yards and a touchdown and is the team’s top returning rusher after running for 551 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.
Bucktail (0-1) at CMVT (0-1)
There will be some Saturday afternoon football when these rivals collide at 1 p.m. tomorrow. Bucktail and CMVT have split their last two games and this is the first of two times they will play this season after both had to shuffle their schedules at the last minute when St. Joseph’s canceled its season.
Bucktail has a good core back from last year’s team, but already has had some injury issues and played without standout sophomore running back/linebacker Gage Sutliff last week in a 36-0 to Sayre. Tanner Riggle nearly reached 1,000 yards last year and had 75 against Sayre. Blake Cannon is a four-year starter and added 29. Bucktail moved the ball well at times, but went 0 for 3 in red zone trips. The defense was gouged by the pass, allowing 292 yards. Freshmen Zach Pick and Tristan Probst played well in their first games as did John Francis who is a first-time starting senior.
CMVT played Panther Valley tough, losing a hard-fought 28-22 decision. The Rams are running the Wing-T offense and former Hughesville coach Rick Reichner is helping them implement it after helping the Spartans flourish throughout the 2000s. Jake Shotwell and Mekhi Mundrick combined for 135 yards, while quarterback Cole Simpler ran for two scores and Ty Babb added another. CMVT forced two turnovers, but allowed 328 yards. Bucktail and CMVT played an exciting game last year as the Bucks rallied in the second half for a 22-20 win.