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Muncy making a name statewide after its 4th district title in last 5 years

BRIAN FEES/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Muncy’s Ty Nixon looks to get past the tackle attempt by Canton’s Joel Schoonover during the District 4 Class A championship game Saturday.

Maybe Muncy coach Sean Tetreault is right. Maybe many opponents cannot locate Muncy on a map.

But they certainly are learning who this program is and what it represents. Winning three consecutive District 4 Class A championships, as well as four in five years, commands that kind of attention. So does how Muncy wins those titles.

Muncy captured its latest district crown Saturday at Canton the way it won the previous three. This might not be the flashiest group, but time after time, players shine in the biggest moments and a hard-working, blue-collar, physical team grinds out dramatic victories. Muncy rallied from a nine-point, third-quarter deficit Saturday, beating the top-seeded Warriors, 21-16, and earning a spot in next week’s state tournament against District 3 champion Steelton-Highspire.

It is the third time in as many years Muncy has beaten Canton on its home field for the district title. It is the fourth time during this five-year run Muncy downed the top seed on its home field. It is the fourth time during the run Muncy exacted revenge after losing to that team during the regular season.

Muncy is making it mighty hard not to know all about it.

BRIAN FEES/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Muncy’s Gage Wertz (17) and Chase Crawley (9) react after Saturday’s District 4 Class A championship win at Canton.

“Tate (Tetreault) talks about nothing is going to be easy when it comes to this sport. We’re this small town between the Susquehanna and no one knows us, no one really cares about us that much, but we make ourselves known,” Ross Eyer said after returning an interception for the go-ahead touchdown before sealing the title with a last-minute pick. “We make statements and that’s what we’re all about.”

What Muncy (7-1) is all about is being tough, poised and confident. The players have changed over the last five years, but the resilient attitude has grown only stronger. Tetreault and his staff convince the players whatever happens during the season, they can overcome it, surge at the right time and achieve something special. Time after time the players have proven them right.

Muncy is 7-1 in districts the last five years and six of of those wins have come on the road. The Indians have overcome second-half deficits in each of the last two championship games against Canton. They also have won these past three championships at Canton by 11 combined points. The five-point margin Saturday was actually Muncy’s biggest victory.

That only drives home how impressive this run is. One play could have changed the outcome in any of those three games. Each time, though, it has been Muncy making those plays while carving out a unique place in area history as the first team to win three straight district championships.

“We preach it all the time. We don’t get rattled. We stay the course. We stay competitive and we’re going to do our job and everything that is meant to happen will happen good for us and it was a testament (Saturday),” Tetreault said. “These kids never flinched, they never got rattled. They stuck to the gameplan, stuck with each other and it was great to have some guys make big plays at big times.”

BRIAN FEES/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Muncy quarterback Branson Eyer looks to throw the ball during Saturday’s District 4 Class A championship game at Canton’s Miller A. Moyer Field.

This has never been a one or two-man show. Tetreault has built a program around the team concept and each of his four champions has symbolized it. Eyer had the two interceptions and Branson Eyer added a 72-yard, game-changing touchdown. Ethan Gush ran for 107 yards and a score. Jason Shuda made a huge fourth-and-1 stop from Canton’s 8-yard line in the fourth quarter. Matt McCauley, Isaac Harris, Xander Brown and Adam Rosario clogged running lanes after Canton had scored 16 consecutive points. Seniors Gage Wertz and Paul Pepper played their usual strong games. The list goes on and on.

Look at the previous two championships against Canton and it’s a similar script with Muncy winning 9-7 and 23-19. Tetreault could never give away game balls following these wins because each player rightfully could claim one.

“Our bond every year is beyond everything else. We support each other and we always help each other. I just love this team. This team is just great,” Ross Eyer said. “This team never gives up. We face adversity and we’ve had our down times and we always come through and always do our best. This team plays so hard. We just love the sport.”

That has especially shown throughout this chaotic season. There were times throughout the offseason when it seemed like Muncy might not even play in the fall. Through it all, the Indians continued working and started 5-0. COVID-19 hit Muncy, though, before the first Canton game and nine players, including Branson Eyer, were quarantined in a 19-0 loss.

Then again, Muncy never really cares about those regular-season losses. Obviously, the Indians want to win those games, but as long as they do not end their season, they keep moving forward. Following regular-season losses against Canton and Sayre the past three years, Tetreault immediately flushed those defeats and told his players that they would see those teams again and beat them. Every time he has been right.

Muncy again has peaked at the perfect time and Tetreault has pushed all the right buttons. The Indians have made the critical plays and history keeps repeating itself no matter how tough the situations become. That has become Muncy football.

“We were ready,” Branson Eyer said after totaling 193 yards. “I had to sit at home and watch it the last time. I was jitterry the whole time then. I wanted to be out there so bad playing. I was excited to come out and play (Saturday) and we all showed what we’re made of on the field.”

Now Muncy will take its act statewide again. The Indians reached the state quarterfinals for the first time last year and will be meeting Steel-High for the second time since 2016. Rest assured, the Rollers might not know where Muncy is, but they certainly know who the Indians are.

“We preach to the kids no matter what game we play we’re the underdog. That’s the way we think. We’re the small school in Muncy that no one has ever heard of,” Tetreault said. “That’s the mentality we take. We’re here to work hard. We’re here to grind out and do everything we can to come out victorious.”

That has become quite a championship formula.

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