Week 2 football: Jersey Shore at Shikellamy
Jersey Shore PPG–41, PPA–7; YPG–434, YPA–117
Jersey Shore facts: A year after repeating as District 4 Class AAAA champions and reaching the state semifinals, the Bulldogs appear hungry for more and routed Shamokin, 41-7, inflicting the mercy rule by the third quarter. An offense that was video-game like at times last year, has some new faces but produced similar results with an experienced offensive line leading the way. Branden Wheary was outstanding in his first start at quarterback, throwing for 172 yards and four touchdowns. The offense was balanced again as well, with Cam Allison running for 128 yards and two scores. All-state wide receiver Cayden Hess and Owen Anderson each topped 50 catches last season and combined for 14 against Shamokin. Hess caught a district-high eight passes and Anderson added six, doing damage as a receiver and runner. The defense was as stingy as the offense was explosive, limiting Shamokin to 117 yards and forcing four turnovers. Karter Peacock made six tackles, Hunter Francis and Colin Samar had up front while linebackers Gabe and Hayden Packer each forced fumbles. Hess and Allison intercepted passes and Jersey Shore scored the first 41 points.
Jersey Shore player to watch–Quincey Myers: Talk about making an immediate impact. In his Jersey Shore debut, Myers was outstanding off the edge. The defensive end had 1 1/2 sacks, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Myers also hurried the quarterback three times and helps fill the void after standout Ryan Kershner graduated.
Shikellamy PPG–6, PPA–33; YPG–236, YPA–362
Shikellamy facts: The Braves return some quality players from a team that lost to Jersey Shore in last year’s district semifinals after winning its last three regular-season games. Former Danville coach Jim Keiser is now at Shikellamy and had an outstanding 10-year run with the Ironmen. Shikellamy struggled in its opening loss to Central Mountain but has a strong dual-threat quarterback in Drew Balestrini. The Braves spread the ball around offensively and 10 players carried it against Central Mountain. Davis Marshall is a dangerous 6-foot-4 tight end who is Balestrini’s favorite target and who caught two passes for 44 yards last week. Shikellamy moved the ball well at times against Central Mountain, gaining 236 yards, but it often did not finish drives and trailed 33-0 in the fourth quarter.
Shikellamy player to watch–Coltyn Sempko: The junior running back is a hard-nosed player who does not go down easy. He can do damage as a receiver as well and led Shikellamy in rushing with 43 yards on 11 carries last week. He added two catches.
Outlook: Jersey Shore might have been ranked No. 2 in the preseason Class AAAA rankings, but one gets the feeling that this team still has a chip on its shoulder, trying to show it can again achieve greatness despite losing some standout players. And a focused Bulldogs team is a mighty dangerous one.