Wildcats struggle in loss at Shamokin

SHAMOKIN — Coming off last Friday’s disappointing lopsided loss at home to a good Lewisburg team, Central Mountain was hoping to bounce back and pick up its first win in Week 3 against a Shamokin program that has struggled recently and was also coming off a loss last week, one in which it was dominated on both lines.

However, it is a new era in Shamokin, as former Southern Columbia standout Henry Hynoski is in his first year as head coach of the Indians, and Hynoski’s group bounced back from its loss last week much better than the Wildcats as it was Shamokin that did the dominating on both lines this week as the Indians topped Central Mountain, 35-6.

“We knew Shamokin was better, Coach Hynoski has them playing harder and they were most physical than us in the first half and that’s what I preached to them at halftime,” said Central Mountain coach James Renninger. “I can live with making mistakes and getting beat physically one-on-one but not with not giving great effort and we didn’t in the first half.”

It was a close game until about a three-minute stretch late in the first half in which a slim 7-0 Shamokin lead ballooned into a 28-0 advantage at halftime. Shamokin was helped by two Wildcat turnovers deep in their own territory. Leading 7-0 after a 75-yard touchdown run by Brycen James with 10:51 left in the second, Shamokin took its next possession beginning at its own 7-yard line following a Central Mountain punt and an illegal block on the Indians.

From there, Shamokin went 93 yards in 11 plays, including a pair of third-down conversions, and took a two-score lead on Mark Madden’s 27-yard touchdown run.

On the first play from scrimmage on Central Mountain’s ensuing possession, Zane Probst was sacked at his own 15, and fumbled. It was recovered by Shamokin, and three plays later, Collin Bowers hit Matt Schiccatano in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown reception to put the Indians up 21-0.

Central Mountain punted on its next possession, and then Shamokin fake punted on 4th-and-10 on the Wildcat 42 but was stopped a yard short of the first down, giving the ball back to Central Mountain at its own 33 with just :33 left in the half.

The first play from scrimmage once again proved to be unkind to the Wildcats, as this time, Probst was picked off by Bowers, who returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to give the Indians a four-score advantage.

“We had some bad things happen with the turnovers and had some guys on the field for a long period of time but they need to dig in and find a way,” said Renninger. “Part of that is on me, and we’ll need to condition better next week and be better prepared to play physically and conditioning-wise.”

Although the Wildcats held the ball for over 16 minutes in the second half compared to less than eight for Shamokin, it did not equal any other advantage than the time of possession, as the Wildcats had a 17-play drive that lasted over eight minutes stall at the Shamokin 29.

“Our defense was fantastic tonight with a couple of fourth down stops and the pass coverage overall was excellent and our run defense was also good,” said Hynoski. “It was just a great job all around by our players and coaches.”

Shamokin scored another touchdown on its ensuing possession midway through the fourth quarter to put the mercy rule into effect before Central Mountain scored its only points of the game on a seven-yard touchdown run by Probst with 3:38 remaining.