Shore’s Tomb wreaks havoc on defensive line

The more film Montoursville watched, the more Jersey Shore nose tackle David Tomb stood out. Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer enjoyed watching Tomb routinely make big plays and spark his teammates.

Coaching against him last Friday, however, was not an enjoyable experience. Tomb delivered another outstanding performance, made a huge impact on both sides of the football, and helped will Jersey Shore to a 30-20 win. Tomb earned all-state honors last season and has delivered strong performances throughout his high school career. As much as any game, Friday’s showed why exactly Tomb is so good.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder might not look like the ideal nose tackle, but he plays like a 300-pounder and constantly wreaks havoc. He makes Jersey Shore’s 5-2 defense go and it was his drive as much as his talent that helped Jersey Shore rally from a four-point halftime deficit to record its first win and hand Montoursville its first loss.

“David Tomb inside is what makes that defense happen. He is all over the place and he is just electric,” Keefer said. “If they have an MVP for this game I think it’s No. 52. He’s an absolute stud and he played his tail off.”

He always does.

The only thing greater than Tomb’s performances is his competitiveness. This is a player who is never satisfied. He is always pushing, always working and always trying to get better. Football is the ultimate team game and no one player can win or lose a game. But it sure helps having someone like Tomb.

That was evident against Montoursville when Tomb recorded two sacks and three tackles for loss. He also had three quarterback hurries and blew up a fourth-down play late in the game which set up Jersey Shore’s Cameron Griffin for the game-clinching 28-yard field goal.

“He tears it up,” Jersey Shore wide receiver Koby Peacock said. “He plays like an animal out there.”

Tomb averaged 8.7 tackles per game last season — the most by any area defensive lineman — and made 17 tackles for loss. The three-year starter added five sacks and recorded a career-high 22 tackles against District 4 Class AAAA champion Selinsgrove. Tomb’s performance earned him the ultimate individual honor and helped Jersey Shore go 7-4. Tomb celebrated his tremendous season the only way he knows how.

He went back to work. Tomb never stops. That is who he is and that is what makes he and his teammates better. That is what helps produce nights like last Friday when Jersey Shore overcame a second-half deficit for a second straight year to beat Montoursville.

Until 2014, Montoursville had won 27 straight in this series. Tomb will graduate having won his last two games against the Warriors, and that is not a coincidence.

“A lot of people when they get all state they might get complacent but I want to get better than that. I want to get better every day. It’s not stopping here,” Tomb said. “I’ve always had the will to win. Even if it’s a game of cards, I don’t care. I try to win at everything. I hate to lose and I push myself as hard as I can at practice.”

It is there that Tomb helps make as big an impact as he does each Friday night. Tomb leads by words as much as he does actions. He does all he can to help each athlete on the team whether that person plays a lot or not at all. He makes sure everyone knows he is a big part of this team and helps pull out the best effort he can from each player.

Watch an all-state player compete so hard when nobody else is watching and Tomb’s teammates cannot help but work hard. Watch Tomb try to involve everyone along this journey and teammates cannot help but rally around each other.

“He only knows one speed and that’s all-go. He’s one of our No. 1 guys in every conditioning drill and because he works so hard the kids really look up to him and he really cares about everybody on the team,” Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish said. “He’s been a great part to our success. He pushes people in a very positive direction.”

Also an outstanding guard along the offensive line, Tomb helped push Jersey Shore toward a big win Friday. He was part of an offensive line that grew stronger throughout the game and that helped Jersey Shore score on its last two fourth-quarter possessions. Tomb then helped blow up two Montoursville fourth-quarter series and was a big reason Jersey Shore held the Warriors to just two field goals over the final three quarters despite being inside the 10-yard line three times.

This was the quintessential Tomb performance and it could be a season-changer. Jersey Shore is a young team that has faced early-season adversity and that seemed like it might be reeling following an 0-2 start. Everything looks different now.

The regular-season’s final weeks likely will be difficult and the schedule gets no easier with Jersey Shore playing Mount Carmel Friday. But a constant will remain Tomb’s performance.

This all-stater will keep doing all he can to make this a fantastic Jersey Shore season. And he will remain fun to watch for everyone except opponents.

“In our eyes, he took over the game,” Keefer said. “He was just all over the place. His motor never stops.”

LAST-SECOND HEROICS

Muncy recorded one of its biggest regular-season wins in recent memory, edging NTL-I title contender Towanda, 15-14. The Indians (3-0) never led until no time remained. Quarterback Coleman Good scored on a 1-yard touchdown as time expired and then found Mike Kustanbauter for the game-winning two-point conversion. It was a gutsy win against a good team and Muncy excelled in the clutch on both sides of the ball, making a late stop and then a last-second, game-winning drive.

“Towanda is a great AA team. We know they’re playoff contenders every year,” Muncy coach Sean Tetreault said. “We wanted to send a message that we’re Muncy and we’re here to stay.”

The Indians have won district and league championships the past two seasons and showed they can win when things are not going well against Towanda. Muncy missed on several potential big pass plays and were turned away three times in the red zone. Towanda twice held seven-point leads, but Muncy never buckled. Its defense played another strong game, holding Towanda to a season-low 215 yards, and Muncy made big plays when it mattered most.

“We had alot of opportunities to score and thankfully we came through at the end,” Good said. “A couple guys stepped up and made some plays.”

“I can’t talk more about our front seven. Our D-line of Cael Hembury, James Yordy, Mason Hillman, Dakotah Haueisen, Nate Palmatier rotating in and Coty Steele,” Tetreault said. “They set the tone and with linebackers like Kustanbauter and Donovan Diehl flying around sideline to sideline, it really makes them look great.”

EXTRA POINTS

Canton senior Levi Gaiotti is making a smooth transition, moving from wide receiver to running back. Gaiotti caught 59 passes the past two seasons but bulked up to 205 pounds in the offseason and ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns as Canton defeated defending District 4 Class A champion Wyalusing, 45-20. Gaiotti, who also had 11 tackles, has run for four touchdowns the past two weeks and Canton is 3-0 for the first time since 2008 … Wellsboro’s Aidan Hauser is one of the district’s fastest football players and he showed off that speed in a 33-7 win against Montgomery, running for 177 yards and two touchdowns and also returning a kickoff 77 yards for a score. Silas Wagaman added his fifth touchdown catch and Tyler Hancock and Hunter Brown combined for 24 tackles as Wellsboro (3-0) won its 24th straight regular-season game. Montgomery’s Hunter Budman scored on a 62-yard run and ran for 133 yards … Williamsport quarterback Joe Fagnano threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns while running for a team-high 78 yards in a 41-17 loss to Berwick … Riley Daubert caught four passes for 103 yards and Remington Corderman found him for an 83-yard touchdown pass as Warrior Run showed improvement in a 38-20 loss at Danville.

Dr. Masse’s Top 5 Football Teams

1. South Williamsport (3-0)

It is hard to be much more efficient than South was Friday as it scored on its first nine possessions and built a 48-point halftime lead on its way to a 55-22 win at Hughesville. The offense moved the ball at will, while the starting defense did not allow a point. The offensive line has new three starters but is carrying on the program’s traditions of featuring terrific line play and paved the way for 440 rushing yards. South is doing damage through the air as well and A.J. Flick threw four touchdown passes, giving him eight this season. Cole Lentz caught two touchdowns for a second straight week and Hunter Finn also hauled in two scores. Since rallying from a late seven-point fourth-quarter deficit at Montgomery in the season opener, South has outscored three opponents, 135-28.

2. Loyalsock (2-1)

Look out because Loyalsock is playing good defense now. After struggling the first two weeks, that unit dominated and held Shikellamy to 91 yards in a 35-0 win. It also was a milestone-making night for wide receiver Gerald Ross and quarterback Connor Watkins. Ross caught a career-high 10 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the program’s all-time leader in touchdown catches with 19. That is mighty impressive for an athlete who did not even play football as a freshman. Watkins threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns, becoming just the area’s fourth quarterback to ever surpass 6,000 yards. Watkins also tied Mike Pietropola for second in career touchdown passes at 68. Jaiden Cioffi is having a big season as well and caught his fourth touchdown, hauling in at least one in each game.

3. Montoursville (2-1)

Quarterback Hunter Shearer played an excellent game in defeat against Jersey Shore, completing 16 of 27 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. More impressive were the throws Shearer made. The junior quarterback perfectly hit Jaxon Dalena (7 catches, 145 yards) on two touchdowns) in stride and was able to thread the needle on other throws. His best throw came three plays before he found Dalena for a 25-yard touchdown. Tomb hit Shearer as he threw, but Shearer still fired a 28-yard completion to Dylan Moll. Shearer is among the district’s passing leaders, completing 67 percent of his passes.

4. Lewisburg (2-1)

More frustrating for Lewisburg than the 40-20 loss to Mount Carmel was potentially losing all-state, Davidson-bound Dylan Farronato to a likley season-ending injury. Farronato verbaled to Davidson Thursday but injured his knee early in Friday’s game. Farronato was poised to become the area’s all-time leader in career receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also is an all-state defensive back and a fabulous special teams performer. No one player can replace Farronato so Lewisburg will need a super collective effort to help fill the void. One positive was the way the offensive line played as Max Moyers ran for 151 yards and a touchdown.

5. Muncy (3-0)

Good and Wilt have played together the past four seasons and are displaying excellent chemistry. Wilt topped 100 yards for a second straight game, finishing with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Good actually missed Wilt a few times, but they combined on a big play that fueled the game-winning drive. Good and Wilt are among area leaders in their respective categories.

“Coleman and Dylan have been working all summer. They were putting the extra hours in. They were getting their timing down,” Tetreault said. “(Friday) in the big time, it showed. It showed Coleman put the work in and Wilt put the work in. We know No. 2 (Wilt) is going to catch the ball. When it’s in his area, he’s going to do all he can to catch that thing.”

Players of the week

Koby Peacock, Jersey Shore and Gannon Guerrisky, South

Peacock caught eight passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns. It was how the senior wide receiver accumulated those stats that was so eye-opening. Peacock turned short passes into long touchdowns of 31, 59 and 75 yards, breaking tackles after the catch and then outrunning the secondary. His 31-yarder was the game-winner in the fourth quarter and came after he shed two tackles right after catching a 7-yard pass. Guerrisky ran wild against Hughesville, rushing for 286 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries. The district’s leading rusher has shined in his first year starting and scored on runs of 96, 43 and 14 yards.

Game of the week

South Williamsport at Muncy

This could be Round 1 between these District 4 Class A title contenders who could again cross paths in the playoffs. Muncy is seeking its first win against South since 2010 and that is shaping up to the best game these rivals have played this decade. This is a good test for both and could be like the classic games these teams played throughout early 2000s. This also will be the first time since 1999 that South and Muncy are meeting this late in the season with perfect records.

Masse may be reached at cmasse@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse.

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