Around the area: Week 3

Mount Carmel (1-1) at Lewisburg (2-0)

This could be one of the best District 4 games played tonight. Both teams have district championship aspirations and both made statements with impressive opening-week wins. Lewisburg also is trying to erase seven years worth of frustration after losing eight straight games in this series that included two 2011 contests. The Green Dragons hold an early lead in the District 4 Class AAA power rankings and this game could provide a boost if it plays well.

Lewisburg beat defending District 4 Class AAAA champion Selinsgrove, 32-22 in its opener and battered Central Mountain, 55-7 last week. That was an eye-opening performance after Central Mountain had gained an area-high 548 yards against Williamsport in Week 1. Lewisburg’s defense stifled Central Mountain and the starters did not allow a point. Linebacker Draven Doebler has 23 tackles in two games and Ethan Spaulding has had a sack in each game.

Sophomore running back Max Moyers was a force last week, running for a program-record 356 yards and five touchdowns behind a solid offensive line. Load up to stop Moyers, though, and Lewisburg can do damage in the air. That was proven against Selinsgrove when Moyers was held to 33 yards but three-year starting quarterback Nick Shedleski threw for 225 yards and the area’s active leader in career receptions, Dylan Farronato, caught nine passes.

Mount Carmel downed Class AAA title contender Central Columbia in the opener, 21-13 before losing to defending AA state champion Southern Columbia last week. In defeat, Mount Carmel showed why it can be so dangerous as the defense shut down Southern’s vaunted running game. The Tornadoes also slowed Central’s strong running game but have allowed 508 yards.

The Tornaodes like to use a smash-mouth running game and both John Ayres and Shane Weidner could make runs at 1,000-yard seasons. Ayres has topped 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons, but it was quarterback Tommy Reisinger who threw four touchdown passes in last year’s 58-20 win against Lewisburg.

Bloomsburg (1-1) at NP-Mansfield (1-1)

North Penn-Mansfield played one of its most complete games in recent memory against a perennial NTL-I title contender, routing Athens, 42-0. The Panthers dominated all facets, allowed just 34 yards and built a 28-0 halftime lead against a team that won eight games last year and reached the District 4 Class AAAA semifinals. North Penn-Mansfield is pursuing its first NTL championship since 2014 and tonight will be a good non-conference test.

The Panthers stuffed the Athens running game last week, surrendering just nine yards. Noah Spencer intercepted a pass, while Roch Minnich and Brett Harvey each recovered a fumble. Mikah Kolb pressured the quarterback well and had three hurries as the Panthers avenged a 2017 loss against Athens. The offense was just as strong as the defense, showing good balance and topping 400 yards. Kolb is among the area’s leading rushers in his first season starting and ran for a career-high 109 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Brent Burleigh threw 20 touchdown passes last season and was 10 of 12 for 133 yards and two touchdowns against Athens. Dylan Meyer and Garrett David each called touchdown passes and Sawyer Freeman hauled in a 31-yard catch.

Bloomsburg is young, but dangerous. The Panthers pounded Mifflinburg, 39-0 and Jack Howell threw for 180 yards. The sophomore is off to a young start and put together a strong first-half performance against defending Class AA champion Southern Columbia. Brody Hock is a dangerous emerging playmaker and caught three passes for 109 yards last week. Bloomsburg ran for five touchdowns against Mifflinburg and Aiden Klinger produced 53 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries. The defense surrendered just 158 yards and Billy McGinley returned an interception for a touchdown.

Canton (2-0)

at Wyalusing (1-1)

Canton is off to its best start since 2009 and is second in the Class A playoff standings, trailing only South Williamsport. The Warriors rallied in the fourth quarter, erasing an eight-point deficit to stun Towanda, 25-21 in the opener. It then scored the final 28 points in last week’s 28-6 win at Montgomery. Canton has allowed only seven second-half points in two games and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball last week. Canton outscored Montgomery, 22-0 in the second half and its defense allowed just 94 yards.

After showing an explosive passing game in the season opener, Canton played smash-mouth football in the second half against Montgomery and wore down the Raiders. Levi Gaiotti and Carson Stiner ran for three second-half touchdowns and Gaiotti also had a sack and an interception. Quarterbacks Michael Smithers and Uriah Baillie are alternating series and both have thrown for more than 100 yards in the first two games. All-state wide receiver Timmy Ward leads the area in receptions with 12 and returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown against Montgomery. Sophomore Ben Knapp is becoming a big threat as well and caught eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown against Montgomery.

Wyalusing captured last year’s District 4 Class A championship and is now competing in AA. The Rams routed Montrose, 52-6 in their opener but struggled in last week’s 55-6 loss at South Williamsport. Wyalusing is playing its home opener and both running back Trent Nickeson and quarterback Shane Fuhrey topped 100 rushing yards against Montrose. Fuhrey has run for four touchdowns the first two weeks and Mitchell Burke caught five passes against South.

Warrior Run (0-2)

at Danville (1-1)

The Defenders had chances in each of the first two games, but two missed red-zone opportunities hurt against Muncy and a last-minute drive came up short last week against Milton in a 20-14 loss. Warrior Run enters one of the most difficult stretches of its scheule but the way its defense has performed has to be encouraging. The Defenders allowed no second-half points against Milton and senior linebacker Austin Hampton has been outstanding. The captain has topped 10 tackles in both games, intercepted a pass in each game and added a sack. Fellow linebacker Jackson Welliver also has been terrific, making 28 tackles, including a career-high 16 against Muncy.

Warrior Run has faced struggles offensively and was dealt a first-half blow last week when leading receiver Riley Daubert was injured. Ahmahd Keyes is building off a breakout sophomore season and both ran for and caught a touchdown. He also has two sacks. Quarterback Remginton Corderman made some strides in his second varsity start a week ago, completing 11 of 20 passes for 84 yards. Keep an eye on Denver Beachel, a versatile weapon who has caught seven passes.

Danville features an explosive offense and looked like it would improve to 2-0 when it built a 17-point second-quarter lead at Loyalsock last week. The Ironmen lost, 41-40 but the offense has been terrific. A year after injuries thrust him into the starting lineup, sophomore quarterback Kayden Riley has been brilliant, throwing for 426 yards and six touchdowns. Shane Kozick leads District 4 in receptions (16) and yards (232) and Peyton Riley has turned four of his six catches into touchdowns. Danville spreads the ball among its running backs with Peyton Persing, Austin Millar, Joey Harris and Eric Sees all capable of having big games. Persing scored touchdowns three different ways in the 41-7 season-opening win at Shikellamy.

Mifflinburg (1-1)

at Milton (1-1)

Late last season, Milton started making nice strides and highlighted that with a dramatic, last-second 35-28 win against Mifflinburg. The Panthers are a defensive stand from being 2-0, dropping a 34-33 heartbreaker to Shamokin in which they held a 14-point halftime lead. Milton played without 2,000-yard quarterback Phil Davis last week at Warrior Run but found a way to win, 20-14 as Qamar Bradley and the defense shined.

Bradley made his first start at quarterback at any level, running for 192 yards and three touchdowns while also adding the game-clinching interception. This was a pass-heavy offense last year, but Milton’s offensive line has been outstanding early this season and the Panthers are running the ball well. Sophomore Jason Valladares is among the area’s leading rushers and ran for 125 yards and a touchdown against Shamokin. He added 96 more yards last week. Quaylin Rice will keep defenses honest and put on a show against Shamokin, catching four touchdowns and totaling 167 yards.

Mifflinburg started strong with a 22-7 win against Hughesville in its opener before stumbling in last week’s 39-0 loss at Bloomsburg. The Wildcats are fairly young, but also have some exciting playmakers. Quarterback Gary DeGroat totaled 1,869 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, leading Mifflinburg in both passing and rushing. Junior receiver Rylee Stahl is an excellent two-way starter and caught nine passes for 124 yards against Hughesville. Mifflinburg’s defense dominated that game and allowed just 120 yards. The Wildcats had four sacks last week and Bryce Koonsman has four tackles for loss the first two weeks.

Cowanesque Valley (0-2) at Athens (1-1)

Cowanesque Valley is seeking its first win against Athens since the program was reinstated in 2004. The Indians have a lot of starters back from last season’s 3-7 team, but also have faced a tough early-season schedule, playing teams that are a combined 4-0. CV received a boost last week when last year’s leading rusher and receiver Matt Barber returned. Barber, the team’s leading rusher in 2016 and 2017, ran for 55 yards and also made a team-high 13 tackles. CV is hoping it starts tonight better than it has the first two weeks when it allowed 63 first-half points.

Quarterback Seth Huyler is a three-year starting junior and nearly became the program’s first 1,000-yard passer of the 2000s last season. Huyler has accounted for all three CV touchdowns this season, running for two and throwing another. Kole Hurler caught a touchdown against Muncy and is one of several solid receivers who return from last season. The defense has struggled, but linebacker Cole Gruver has been a bright spot and has averaged more than 10 tackles per game over the last two seasons.

Athens lost many starters from last year’s 8-3 District 4 Class AAAA semifinalist. It was impressive in a season-opening 38-6 win against Hanover but gained just 34 yards in last week’s 42-0 loss at North Penn-Mansfield. The Wildcats have some good building blocks in quarterback Kaden Rude and Damian Hudson. Rude made a run at 1,000 passing yards last season and Hudson ran for a career-high 168 yards and a touchdown in a 46-0 win against CV. Ben Pernaselli helps spark the defense and had three sacks against Hanover.

Central Mountain (0-2) at Shamokin (1-1)

Central Mountain has lost seven straight since beating Shamokin, 28-14 in Week 6 last season. The Wildcats showed a lot of offensive promise in a season-opening 62-26 loss at Williamsport, gaining an area-best 548 yards, including 394 in the first half. They took a step back, however, in last week’s 55-7 loss to Lewisburg. Central Mountain trailed 41-0 at halftime and allowed more than 500 yards for a second straight week. Slow starts have doomed Central Mountain which has allowed 103 first-half points.

First-time starting quarterback Zane Probst showed how dangerous he can be in the season opener, throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns. Collin Jones is a game-breaking 6-4 wide receiver who caught five passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of that game. Rocco Stark ran for 110 yards against Williamsport, but Lewisburg shut down the run last week and dominated the line of scrimmage. Central Mountain outscored Shamokin, 21-0 in the second half a year ago to rally for the win.

Former Super Bowl winner and Southern Columbia legend Henry Hynoski is in his first year coaching Shamokin and helped the Indians win their season opener, 34-33 against Milton. Shamokin rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to win that game. The Indians allowed 443 rushing yards in last week’s 36-15 loss to North Schuylkill and are allowing more than 400 yards per game. Quarterback Collin Bowers has played well, throwing for 148 yards and a touchdown last week. Shamokin ran the ball well in the opener and Bryson James produced a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns.