H.S. football preview: Hughesville at Montoursville

Hughesville PPG–7, YPG–120; PPA–22, YPA–336

Hughesville facts: The young Spartans have gone back to the Wing-T offense for the first time since 2013 and struggled in last week’s 22-7 loss at Mifflinburg. The defense, however, hung in well and surrendered just two offensive touchdowns. It was an encouraging performance against a team with some solid playmakers. Linebackers Jase Wright and Caleb Dixon played strong games, each making 12 tackles. Sophomore Dylon Piquenot made a big impact, intercepting two passes. Hunter Laird nearly had two sacks and sophomores Colton Yocum and Hunter Herr combined for 12 tackles. Hughesville did not turn the ball over, but a blocked punt was recovered in the end zone, making it a two-possesion game midway through the fourth quarter. The offense is a work in progress, but Wright has the potential to be a workhorse and led Hughesville in both rushing and receiving, totaling 79 yards. Yocum recorded a 100-yard rushing game in the regular-season finale against Muncy last year and Herr averaged seven yards on his three carries. Quarterback Jacob Corson hit Yocum with a 9-yard touchdown pass that pulled Hughesville within 15-7 in the third quarter. The junior receiving some starting experience last season and threw 34 passes against Bloomsburg in one of those starts. Hughesville is seeking its first win against Montoursville since 2015 when it rallied from a halftime deficit and beat the Warriors, 28-21 at Memorial Stadium.

Hughesville player to watch–Hunter Robbins: The two-way starting tackle will be key to Hughesville’s success this season and provided some strong defense against Mifflinburg. Robbins had two tackles for loss and the 260-pounder is a player that could be tough to move and who could free up the linebackers to make plays throughout the year.

Montoursville PPG–51, YPG–248; PPA–6, YPA–157

Montoursville facts: Montoursville coaches and players likely will tell anyone who listens that they are just focused on the next game. Yes, that is true, but do not think this team does not have a collective boulder-sized chip on its shoulder. Montoursville was one of the district’s youngest teams last year, replacing nearly every starter from a district champion, and it went 2-8. One better believe, Montoursville remembers and is eager to send a message to anyone who thought 2018 would be more of the same. This might not be a revenge tour, but the Warriors are motivated…and good. Montoursville took apart NTL-I title contender North Penn-Mansfield, inflicting the mercy rule before the third-quarter’s midway point. The Warriors scored three touchdowns on defense and special teams and the offense was efficient. From a grade standpoint, one could say Montoursville is still young since it is starting several juniors, but this is an experienced team with a lot of returning starters back. Logan Ott is one of those returning starters and he returned both an interception and a kickoff for scores. So is Logan Balouris who returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Sophomore Dylan Bennett blocked a punt, sophomore Dylan Moll ran for a touchdown and junior Jaxon Dalena caught four passes, including a touchdown, from junior Hunter Shearer (9 of 10, 100 yards). The seniors also are making their presence felt and Connor Morse had five tackles, two for loss and a sack. Paden Frey added four tackles and helped the offensive line control things up front. Montoursville has won three of its last four games going back to last season and defeated Hughesville 29-7 in Week 9 with Shearer throwing for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Montoursville player to watch–Joey Rogers: As bright as the future looks, seniors like Rogers know this is there last chance at winning a championship and are helping set the tone. Rogers played well on both sides of the ball last week and the two-way lineman made six tackles. He also had a sack and blocked a punt.

Outlook: Montoursville is the clear favorite here, but this is a rivalry game and anything usually goes in games like these.

–by CHRIS MASSE

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