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Week 3 football: Hughesville at Loyalsock

Hughesville PPG–21.5, YPG–260.5; PPA–23.5, YPA–204

Hughesville facts: After showing strong defensive improvement from last year in its season opener, the Hughesville offense came to life in last week’s 37-13 win against Warrior Run. The Spartans ran for 385 yards, Joey Swink threw two touchdown passes and they blew the game open in the second half, winning for the second time in four games going back to last year. Hughesville now is seeking its first road win since Week 2 of 2017 and brilliantly ran its Wing-T offense last week with five returning starters up front paving the way. Colton Yocum is second among area rushers and ran for a career-high 190 yards with Devin Swank and Brenden Knight combining for 136 yards. Since the first quarter of the season opener against Bloomsburg, the defense has been outstanding, allowing just 27 points and 297 yards. Sophomore defensive end Gabe Wagner has been one of the area’s breakthrough players thus far, collecting an area-high 3 1/2 sacks and making 6 1/2 tackles for loss. Caleb Burkhart, Hayden Robbins, Chase Snyder and Hunter Herr also have made an impact up front. Hughesville has seven sacks and Swink an interception. Yocum and Jonny Harding both forced fumbles against Warrior Run.

Hughesville player to watch–Mikey Dylina: Whether carrying the ball or catching it, Dylina has showcased big-play skills in both games. After running for a 29-yard score against Bloomsburg, Dylina caught a 52-yard touchdown against Warrior Run. Dylina also plays well in the secondary and can keep opposing defenses honest.

2019 Loyalsock PPG–28.2, YPG–311.5; PPA–17.4, YPA–227.7

Loyalsock facts: The Lancers have waited quite a long time for tonight’s opportunity after its first two games were canceled when a player tested positive for COVID-19. The Lancers have a nice blend of experience, talent and youthful promise a year after reaching the District 4 Class AAA championship. Loyalsock won six straight games en route to reaching last year’s final and has made eight straight district playoff appearances. Quarterback Chase Cavanaugh has topped 1,000 passing yards in consecutive seasons and added 689 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last season. Sophomore running back Davion Hill shined in his debut season last fall, rushing for 1,050 yards and 15 touchdowns. The receiving core is young, but potentially potent and the offensive line has some good size, experience and depth. Linebacker Joeb Schurer sparks the defense and is coming off a 110-tackle season. He also intercepted three passes. Defensive end Korie Mayer made 11 tackles for loss, defensive tackle Aeden Holler added eight and cornerback Eli Gair intercepted three passes, returning one for a touchdown.

Loyalsock player to watch–Aspen Stahl-Emig: A three-year starter, Emig and fellow senior Jeffrey Hamilton help anchor an offensive line which flourished as last season progressed. Stahl-Emig has played a vital role in Loyalsock going on four and six-game winning streaks late in the season in each of the last two years.

Outlook: Hughesville appears vastly improved and Loyalsock looks good on paper, but until it actually plays, it is hard to get a read on it. That makes predictions for tonight’s game fuzzy. Still, Hughesville’s improvement could make this one of the area’s games to watch.

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