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Muncy at Cowanesque Valley preview

Muncy PPG–40.3, PPA–16.7; YPG–421.7, YPA–237

Muncy facts: The three-time defending District 4 Class A champions have come thundering back after losing to District 11 Class AA title contender Northern Lehigh, outscoring consecutive opponents, 100-8. The starting defense has not allowed a point in either game and Muncy has scored 78 consecutive first-half points. This is the third straight road game Muncy will have played. Ben Robinson intercepted a pass in the 42-8 win at Wyalusing last week and the Indians have forced eight turnovers in their victories. Isaac Harris and Austin Johnson added sacks and Brady Ryder made a career-high 11 tackles. Bailey Hadzinikolov and Jacob Fowler each had seven tackles and Hadzinikolov topped 100 tackles as a sophomore two years ago. He also has caught touchdowns of 29 and 23 yards the past two weeks. The offense has been explosive and powerful with running backs Austin Johnson and Ty Nixon each going over 130 yards last week. Muncy’s offensive line is experienced and strong and has helped each running back move into the area’s top 10 rushing leaders. Ross Eyer and Chase Crawley form a dangerous receiving duo and they combined for three touchdowns of more than 40 yards two weeks ago at CMVT. Eyer is averaging 31.3 yards per catch and Crawley 19. Muncy is ranked No. 4 in the Class A state rankings and gave defending state champion Steel-High one of its toughest playoff games last fall.

Muncy player to watch–Jason Shuda: The junior linebacker is building off his big breakthrough season a year ago and made 10 tackles against Wyalusing. A physical player who is especially tough against the run, Shuda was one of the team’s leading tacklers a year ago and also had a tackle for loss against Wyalusing.

CV PPG–13.7, PPA–24.7; YPG–265.7, YPA–305.7

CV facts: Off to its best start in nine years, CV has won consecutive games, both at home, and if 4-1 in its last five games going back to last year. The Indians have played excellent defense in their victories, allowing just 33 points. CV has come from behind in the second half to win each time, scoring the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of each game. The Indians slowed Northwest’s power running game in a 15-14 victory a week ago and have forced five turnovers in their wins. Linebacker Mike Sipps is one of the NTL’s top playmakers and intercepted two passes against Sayre while Ean Bump added two sacks. The offense is balanced and dangerous with quarterback Jacob Schmitt throwing for 407 yards and three touchdowns. He matched an area record in last year’s finale when he threw six touchdowns against CMVT. Wide receiver Tanyan Brown has caught touchdowns in each of CV’s last four wins and hauled in four catches for 140 yards against Northwest. Brown scored on passes for 52 and 80 yards in that victory, the 80-yarder being the game-winner. Freshman Tim Freeman ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-19 victory against Sayre and fellow running back Elliott Good has topped 1,000 career yards. CV is seeking its first win against Muncy in the 2000s.

CV player to watch–Kade Sottolano: The senior lineman is a difference-maker on both sides of the ball and his return from injury last season helped spark a two-game winning streak which carried CV into the offseason on a high. Sottolano made 11 tackles in a 22-20 comeback win at Bucktail last year, helping CV erase a 20-point deficit and win, 22-20.

Outlook: CV is one of the area’s most improved teams over the past two seasons and is building something good. Giving Muncy a tough game will be difficult but this is a team which no longer is a pushover.

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