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Central Mountain’s Pentz to play at Lycoming

TIM WEIGHT/Special to the Sun-Gazette Central Mountain's Ryan Pentz committed to play football at Lycoming.

The Lycoming football team will have one of the area’s leading rushers in uniform when it takes the field in the fall.

Central Mountain senior Ryan Pentz–one of the area’s top running backs who ran for nearly 1,600 yards the past two seasons–announced earlier this month on Twitter that he’s set to continue his academic and athletic career at Lycoming College.

“I am beyond excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and football career at Lycoming College! I would like to thank all of my family, friends, and my coaches for this amazing opportunity!” Pentz said in a tweet on March 9th.

According to Pentz, it was the combination of what Lycoming has to offer in terms both the classroom and the field. The three-sport athlete plans to take the route of mechanical engineering.

“I was glad to see that Coach (Shanon) Manning and my mom reached out to Coach (Steve) Wiser about Lycoming. I got to go down there and really talk to the professors. It’s really nice to know that Wiser and the Head Coach (Mike) Clark really wanted me there,” Pentz said.

After running for 744 yards and scoring a total of 14 touchdowns this past fall on the gridiron, it was Pentz’s time to play basketball. That was when he ran into a speedbump. Pentz was diagnosed with three blood clots in leg early in the winter. He was forced to miss time as the injury was more serious than it first appeared.

“For the rest of the season I just kind of sat on the bench and cheered my team on,” Pentz said.

But there was one moment where he was inserted into the action. Late in the fourth quarter, in a game against Jersey Shore, teammate Ashton Probst went down with an injury of his own. Pentz was put in to shoot a free throw and he drained it.

“That was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Pentz said. “You could hear my mom yelling at me ‘no pressure.’ I felt the most pressure in the world.”

Pentz delivered. Just as he was able to do multiple times on the football field over the past three seasons as he helped turned around the Wildcat program. As a sophomore Central Mountain won just 1-9. The Wildcats went a combined 10-9 over the next two as Pentz played a key role.

“It’s awesome to know that my class was one of the main classes to turn our football team around and I know that the next couple years they’re just going to keep going up and up. Our coaching staff–coming from Bellefonte–knew what they had to do.” he said.

One of the coaches that made the leap from Bellefonte to Central Mountain was Pentz’s head coach, Shanon Manning.

Manning, who just concluded his first season at Central Mountain, knows the Warriors are getting an overall great leader.

“A fantastic quality person,” Manning said about Pentz. “He’ll be great in the community, he’ll be great in the classroom, he’s a great football player and fantastic person.”

Despite only having a handful of interactions with the football coaching staff at Lycoming, Pentz can spots some similarities between his high school staff and his future coaches.

“I can already they’re going to be pushing me. That was one of the biggest things us seniors loved from our coaching staff was the expectations. They really persuaded us to do our best and I know that Wiser is pushing towards that. He’s already asking me to go up and look at spring football and try to start working out. I can see a big comparison between them,” Pentz said.

It may seem odd but an underrated part of Pentz’s game is his athleticism. The 6-foot speedster can make people miss in the open field, run over defenders and even play some defense.

Manning thinks the door is open for Pentz to be a two-way player at the next level.

“I think he’ll have every opportunity to do either. I really believe it. Talking to Coach (Terry) Bumgardner, who was his position coach on both sides of the ball, he loved Ryan as a running back. But as a corner he has special qualities. Ryan is very special,” Manning said.

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