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Muncy knows Canton is tough in football as the two prepare for District 4 playoffs

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Ethan Gush of Muncy breaks throught the defensive line of Wyalusing and scores a touchdown Friday night at Muncy.

MUNCY — Muncy coach Sean Tetreault knew what questions were coming when a re-match with Canton was brought up following last Friday’s win over Wyalusing.

The excitement at a second shot at the Warriors was evident in his eyes and his voice. But coach-mode kicked in after a few seconds.

“We’re going to have to play a great game,” Tetreault said. “We’re going to have to come ready and prepared for another great district final.”

It would probably be easier to get Tetreault to express how much he and the Indians are looking forward to Saturday’s District 4 Class A final at Miller A. Moyer Field. The first meeting between the teams two weeks ago was scintillating. It was everything you’d expect from two teams ranked in the Top 6 in the state. But it was still missing something.

Canton won the regular-season matchup of Northern Tier League rivals for the third consecutive season. But it came as Muncy played without 10 players who were in quarantine for potential COVID-19 exposure. That list of players included Muncy’s first, second and third-string quarterback. It left standout receiver Ross Eyer as the one taking the snaps in the most important regular-season game for Muncy.

Following Friday’s game, Tetreault was quick to acknowledge the return of those 10 players won’t automatically change the result from the first meeting. He doesn’t want his team falling into false sense of security in the week of preparation leading up to Saturday’s game, which is why he went into total coach mode despite his evident excitement for a re-match.

“We know Canton is a tough test,” Tetreault said. “It’s turning into a little bit of a rivalry with how much we’ve played each other the last few years. But it doesn’t really matter how good or how bad someone is because you’re going to have to come ready to play your best. It’s going to be a great game.”

Any prognostications for this weekend’s game based on the result of the first meeting are moot, which is maybe what makes this game so intriguing. Even though it’s a second meeting between the schools this season, it feels like it’s the first time they’re playing one another.

It’s completely different from the previous two seasons when it felt like Muncy was out for revenge after losing in the regular season, 18-0, in 2018 and 27-13 in 2019.

“Like coach says, we have to have a short memory,” said Muncy backup quarterback Kaleb Meyer, who threw for 100 yards and a touchdown against Wyalusing. “We put that loss (to Canton) behind us and focused on Wyalusing. And now we’ve got our focus back on Canton. I have confidence in my team. I believe with a full team we can take on anyone in the state.”

Don’t worry, Tetreault isn’t completely ignoring what happened in the first meeting. He said the film from that game can be used as a motivation tool for the Indians.

Behind the scenes he can tell his team the one which lost to Canton, 19-0, two weeks ago wasn’t the same one which shut out Wyalusing, 42-0, and it won’t even be the same team which takes the field Saturday as Branson Eyer will return to start at quarterback for the first time in three weeks.

This is still a matchup of state-ranked Class A teams. Canton hasn’t moved from its spot as the fifth-best team in the state, according to Pennlive. Muncy fell four spots to No. 10 following the loss to Canton, but moved up to ninth this week.

“It’s a great curse to have a great district like this,” Tetreault said. “Whenever you have great competition in your district, it’s great to get you battle-hardened for the state tournament. And Canton is ranked high in the state for a reason. We have to take it one game at a time now because it’s lose-and-go-home, and we’re not ready to go home.”

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