Around the area: Week 9
Lewisburg at Milton
Lewisburg (3-3) has won three straight games and is back in the hunt for a District 4 Class AAAA playoff berth. Milton (5-3) is in the middle of its best season since 2013 but has lost two consecutive games, so this should be an interesting matchup between long-time rivals. Lewisburg has outscored opponents, 130-16, during its winning streak and mercy-ruled Shikellamy by halftime a week ago, winning, 42-7. Milton allowed just 207 yards against Shamokin but turnovers doomed it in a 27-14 loss.
Lewisburg senior Ethan Dominick ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns on just five carries against Shikellamy. He also returned an interception for a touchdown and has scored nine times the last three games. Cam Michaels is a versatile threat who caught seven passes for 105 yards in a 26-3 win at Central Columbia before running for 84 yards against Shikellamy. Logan Callison ran for a touchdown and quarterback Xander Walter was efficient while filling in for quarterback Wade Young who is having a strong junior season. All-state defensive end Owen Ordonez is having a big year and his strip sack led to Shane Farmer’s fumble return for a touchdown. Lewisburg forced four turnovers and has not allowed more than 236 yards during its winning streak.
Despite dropping its last two games, Milton still leads the District 4 Class AAA playoff standings. A win tonight and next week against Shikellamy and the Black Panthers likely would have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Quarterback Xzavier Minium ran for 138 yards against Shamokin and has totaled 1,033 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Freshman Chris Doyle is closing in on a 1,000-yard season and Ashton Canelo’s midseason return provides Milton three quality running options. Dylan Reiff and Peyton Rearick are dangerous receivers and each has a 100-yard game this season. Milton had just two turnovers while starting 5-1, but has turned it over seven times in its last two losses.
Athens at Wellsboro
Wellsboro (3-3) dressed fewer than 20 players last week and was missing several starters, but still gutted out a 24-6 win at Wyalusing. It was an impressive victory and it moved the Green Hornets within a whisker of the No. 5 seed in the District 4 Class AA playoff standings. Wellsboro has won two straight games, outscoring the opposition, 62-18. The Hornets blanked Wyalusing over the final three quarters a week ago and intercepted five passes. They have feasted on turnovers the last two weeks, forcing eight.
Wellsboro is playing just its second home game in five weeks and three different players scored touchdowns against Wyalusing, including Kanan Keck. Ryan Sweet has a been an excellent big-play maker and caught his fourth touchdown pass of at least 27 yards to clinch the victory in the fourth quarter. Sweet has scored in each of Wellsboro’s victories and is averaging 31.4 yards per catch. Kicker Jack Poirier is a special teams weapon and kicked a 25-yard field goal while going 3 for 3 on extra points.
Athens (5-3) is fighting for a District 4 Class AAA home quarterfinal. The top four teams will do so and Athens is fifth. The Wildcats had not allowed more than 12 points in a game this season before state-ranked Canton defeated it, 34-10, last week. Canton had surrendered just 6.4 points per game before that contest and has held five teams to single digits. Quarterback Mason Lister went over 1,000 yards for the season, throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown. Shayne Reid has run for 853 yards, produced 11 touchdowns, is second on the team in receiving, has two interceptions and has drilled four field goals. Karter Rude caught seven passes a week ago and averages 18.3 yards per catch.
Central Mountain (5-3) is hoping to snap a two-game losing streak and clinch its first winning season since 2009. The Wildcats have struggled defensively in their last two games, allowing 75 points against Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg. Mistakes also have hurt them during that stretch with Central Mountain turning the ball over three times in each contest. Still, Central Mountain has its most wins in a season since 2012, has overcome some costly injuries and features a strong, young nucleus to build around in the coming years.
Quarterback Brett Gerlach has gone over 1,000 passing and 500 rushing yards. Running back Ryan Pentz has totaled 741 yards and sophomore wide receiver Connor Foltz has come on strong while starting for the first time. Foltz is third in the area with 34 catches and has been outstanding the last two weeks, catching 14 passes for 248 yards. Tyler Weaver has added 18 catches despite missing three games. Linebacker Micah Walizer helps fuel the defense and lineman Ben Garlick has two sacks. Defensive end Owen Persun has eight tackles for loss and linebacker Lucas Porter three.
Midd-West (0-8) has been mercy-ruled in all but three games. Wide receiver Corey Reinard has been a bright spot and caught seven passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-21 loss against Bloomsburg.
Canton at Hanover
Canton (8-0) is one of District 4’s only two remaining undefeated teams, joining Jersey Shore. The Warriors are ranked No. 4 in the Class A state rankings and will play Troy for the NTL-I championship next week. Canton is seeking its first 9-0 start of the 2000s and leads the area in both scoring defense and yards allowed. The Warriors have let only two teams reach double figures, have three shutouts and are surrendering just 6.3 points and 150 yards per game. Canton stymied Athens a week ago, holding a potent offense to 209 yards in a 34-10 victory which included four sacks (two by Hayden Ward) and a Michael Davis interception.
Caiden Williams collected his fifth sack against Athens and also had a tackle in the end zone for a safety. He also is part of an offensive line which often has overwhemed the opposition, helping Canton run for 290 yards per game. The Warriors ran for 401 yards against an Athens defense which was allowing 6.4 points per game and Riley Parker gouged it for a career-high 193 yards and three touchdowns. He, quarterback Cooper Kitchen, Weston Bellows and Ward all have produced more than 300 yards and at least four touchdowns this season. Kitchen also has thrown six touchdowns and Bellows has totaled 686 yards while returning two punts for touchdowns.
Hanover (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak last Friday, defeating Holy Redeemer, 46-38. Running back Jeremy Vega had a monster night, running for 241 yards and four touchdowns as Hanover built a 34-12 halftime lead. Quarterback Christian Torres has thrown for 541 yards and five touchdowns this season.
North Penn-Mansfield at CMVT
North Penn-Mansfield is coming off an exciting 20-19 comeback win against Line Mountain and has won three of its last four games. The Panthers will be trying to win their first road contest Saturday afternoon, going 4-0 at home, but 0-4 away from Blossburg. The defense made repeated timely stops to turn away scoring threats a week ago and Karson Dominick found Gaven Sexauer for a game-winning 20-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-11 play. Dominick, a sophomore, has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions the last three weeks and running back Kohen Lehman totaled 158 yards and two touchdowns against Line Mountain.
Cam Fabian is having a strong all-around season and has scored touchdowns three ways. Sexauer has developed into one of the area’s premier linebackers, making 103 tackles, including solos, while adding a sack and an interception. Sophomore Cody Hermansen has made five tackles for loss and Jacob Johnson three while adding a sack last week. North Penn-Mansfield is seventh in the District 4 Class AAA playoff standings and likely will be on the road for the quarterfinals.
CMVT has not played a game in three weeks. It had a scheduled bye week before having to cancel last week’s game at Cowanesque Valley because of COVID issues. The Rams (0-6) are seeking their first win since 2019. Toby Zajac is a workhorse who has run for 587 yards. Shane Tomlinson can make plays in the passing game and caught six passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns against Holy Cross.
Warrior Run at MCA
Warrior Run (0-7) has a difficult task tonight against a surging Mount Carmel team which has won three straight and that defeated Loyalsock, 60-41, last week. The Defenders are one of the area’s youngest teams and have shown positive signs, so the future could be bright. Wide receiver Derek Thomas is among the area’s leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns with 29 for 442 yards and six scores.
Linebacker Logan Smedly made 10 tackles in last week’s loss against Bloomsburg. Freshman Isaiah Betz showed how good he may become by making a career-high 11 tackles, including four for loss, and adding two sacks. Sophomore Thomas Royles made seven tackles and Nathan Yohn produced a sack.
Mount Carmel ran the ball a program-record 71 times for 554 yards and produced a record 33 first downs against Loyalsock. A record six players also gained more than 50 yards, including quarterback Pedro Feliciano who ran for 111 yards and four touchdowns.
Brockway at Bucktail
Bucktail (0-7) is hoping it can win its first game tonight after showing glimpses of potential throughout the season. The Bucks looked especially dangerous when they built a halftime lead in a midseason game at highly-touted Keystone. Quarterback Dylan Cross threw for a career-high 261 yards in that game while wide receivers Brody Pentz and Braylan Fantaski each went over 90 yards. Pentz is a freshman and Fantaski a sophomore, highlighting the team’s promise in the coming years.
Cross has produced nearly 1,000 total yards this season and he and Fantaski each have returned fumbles for touchdowns. Zach Pick has caught two scores and Conner Mason has run for two. Pick’s 686 passing yards are the most by a Bucktail quarterback since 2017.
Brockway quarterback Brayden Fox is having a sensational freshman season, throwing for 1,993 yards. Fox has topped 330 yards in three straight games, throwing 10 of his 16 touchdowns during that time. Three players have caught at least 34 passes and gone over 500 yards. Alex Carlson has 55 catches for 523 yards and Jalen Kosko 37 for 601 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 12 catches for 206 yards and three scores last week.