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Week 2 football: Bucktail at Muncy

Bucktail PPG–15, PPA–43; YPG–181, YPA–366

Bucktail facts: The Bucks struggled early, losing four first-half turnovers in last Friday’s 43-15 loss against Montgomery. The second half, however, showed promise. Gage Sutliff returned an interception 63 yards to set up quarterback Dylan Cross’s 2-yard touchdown and Zach Pick gained 62 yards on the team’s final drive. Tanner Pettingil ended that drive with a touchdown.

Sutliff ran for 1,332 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He also topped 100 tackles. He is ranked among the program’s all-time leading rushers. Cross is in his second year starting after throwing for 500 yards last year. Bucktail fought hard against Muncy last year, playing solid defense for much of the game in a 28-0 loss against the eventual state quarterfinalist.

Bucktail player to watch–Zach Pick: The junior linebacker earned all-state honors last fall after making a team-high 110 tackles and intercepting two passes, including one which he returned for a touchdown in a 22-12 victory against Otto-Eldred. Pick also was the team’s leading receiver and is a versatile weapon who showed on the final drive last week how he may also help the running game.

Muncy PPG–32, PPA–7; YPG–409, YPA–230

Muncy facts: Despite not knowing it was playing Warrior Run until the Wednesday before the game, Muncy had all the right answers and the two-time defending District 4 Class A champions opened their season with a convincing win. Muncy played well on both sides of the ball and several first-time starters performed well, especially on an offensive line which cleared the way for 409 yards. Muncy can do damage through the air and showed it when Branson Eyer found Chase Crawley for a 71-yard first-quarter touchdown. The running game, though, was so effective that Muncy rarely had to throw after building a 20-0 lead. Crawley and Ross Eyer, however, both are dangerous receivers. All six ball-carriers in a deep backfield averaged more than five yards per carry and running back Ty Nixon ran for 100 yards in his first game back after missing 2019 with a torn ACL. Linebackers Ethan Gush and Bailey Hadzinikolov each built off excellent seasons and combined for 24 tackles. Defensive end Isaac Harris played an excellent game and took away Warrior Run’s outside running while making five tackles.

Muncy player to watch–Jason Shuda: The first-time starting linebacker was outstanding in his debut, making 11 tackles, including a team-high eight solos. Shuda often was meeting ball-carriers near or behind the line of scrimmage, wrapping them up well and producing two tackles for loss.

Outlook: Bucktail has some talented players and battles hard, but it will have to play outstanding in nearly all facets to try and keep tonight’s game competitive.

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