THE FINAL ROUND: Jersey Shore takes on Selinsgrove for the District 4 Championship at 7 p.m.
Jersey Shore and Selinsgrove have collided in the District 4 championship for three consecutive seasons, so why would this year be any different?
Tonight, the Bulldogs will host the Seals in a clash for district 4 supremacy, and head coach Tom Gravish is performing every necessary duty in order to peak his team’s preparation. In regards to practice, Gravish couldn’t be any happier with his team’s workouts this week.
“This week of practice has been exceptional,” Gravish said. “We probably just had our best monday practice of the year. Our focus is that we want to have better practices than our opponent. So far after four days of practice we feel really good about where we are going into this game.”
Tonight’s district championship will feature a rematch of a week 6 game earlier this season. The Bulldogs suffered a 26-6 loss then, but Gravish believes the final score wasn’t indicative of the game’s actual competitiveness.
“We had a couple bad breaks then,” said Gravish of the week 6 loss. “For most of the game it was a 19-6 score. We blocked a punt but the call kind of bounced the wrong way on us. If we could’ve gotten that blocked punt and possessed the ball at the 15-yard line and put it in for a score, I think we would’ve had a chance to win that game in the final plays.”
The Bulldogs have proceeded to go unbeaten since its loss to the Seals, and the team is very much eager to avenge its loss tonight.
“They’re really excited to have a second chance against Selinsgrove.” said Gravish. “Selinsgrove has turned into our biggest rival over the last four years and we are really looking forward to it. It should be a heck of a football game.”
A heck of a game it should be.
The Bulldogs are riding a five-game win streak, while the Seals have won six of their last seven games. Both teams boast deep rosters with offenses orchestrated by elite quarterbacks. Elijah Shemory has thrown for 27 touchdowns this season, while Selinsgrove’s Logan Leiby has thrown for 21 scores. Gravish knows eliminating the Seals’ pass game is a top priority, but also acknowledged the task would be difficult–given Leiby’s advanced skill set.
“Leiby has a great arm ,” Gravish said. “He’s really comfortable in the pocket and he throws the ball on time. He reminds me of a Tom Brady kind-of-guy.”
The Seals are equipped with a potent ground game, as well, led by running back Garrett Campbell. “They have an outstanding running back,” said Gravish. “He probably runs the ball as hard as anybody we’ve played all year.”
Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Gravish is pleased with his team’s performance this season–as well as their dedication to training and the maturity they have showcased through out the year.
“I’m really proud of this group,” Gravish said. “They listen and work hard. I’m really proud of how the guys have grown all year.”
Even with his team’s focused preparation heading into the district championship, Gravish knows that football games are won on the gridiron, not during film sessions.
“We know Selinsgrove will bring their A-game, so we plan on bringing our A-plus game,” he said.
Players to watch
Hunter Frantz and Todd Sanford have been a dynamic duo at wide receiver for Jersey Shore this season. They’ve totaled 14 touchdowns between them this season. Look for them to find gaps in the secondary an possibly break for a long touchdown.
This Hunter Frantz kid just has a knack for locating the football, whether it be on offense or defense. Frantz has four interceptions to go along with his seven receiving touchdowns this season, including a 50-yard pick six last week against Athens.
Selinsgrove’s Garrett Campbell will be limited to under 50-rushing yards in the contest.
Both teams will turn the ball over at least twice, and the team that wins the turnover battle will win the game.
Jersey Shore 28-24