HARD KNOCK LIFE: Jersey Shore on two-game slide after ending toughest part of schedule

Jersey Shore's Hunter Franz intercepts a pass intended for Shikellamy's Lucas Tilford during the game Friday night in Jersey Shore. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Jersey Shore's Hunter Franz intercepts a pass intended for Shikellamy's Lucas Tilford during the game Friday night in Jersey Shore. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

JERSEY SHORE – When I last wrote about the Bulldogs, it was after the victory over Montoursville and before the games against Selinsgrove and Shikellamy. Jersey Shore was on a four-game winning streak.

I mentioned that if Shore doesn’t clean up the turnovers and mistakes, and several were made against the 0-7 Warriors, we could be looking at a couple of potential losses for the Bulldogs.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and that’s exactly what happened.

After the 25-6 loss to Selinsgrove, Jersey Shore High School suffered their second straight loss of the season to Shikellamy, 32-21, to put them at 4-3 overall (1-2 in their conference). Not exactly the results we were hoping for from the Bulldogs.

So what’s to blame?

You guessed it: Turnovers and mistakes.

A couple of special teams mistakes and incredible amount of five turnovers (four against Selinsgrove) is what contributed to the loss to the Braves. Shore did manage to hold an eight-point lead at halftime, but then got completely shut down in the second half – only putting up 108 yards offensively on the stat sheet. Star runningback Kyle Tomb only rushed for 38 yards on 8 carries – only two of those yards coming in the fourth quarter.

If you’re Bulldogs head coach Tom Gravish, you can’t be happy one bit with the performances against Selinsgrove and Shikellamy.

But there is a bright spot in all of this, however.

Jersey Shore is now officially done with their toughest part of the schedule.

Even with all of the negativity the past couple of weeks, you can’t help but to come out of this feeling relieved and at least a little content with a 4-3 record this far into the season. Yeah, the expectations were much higher, but the circumstances could have been worse than what they are with the way the Bulldogs have been playing. They could easily be 3-4 right now.

And you have to be content knowing that the Bulldogs have a very realistic shot at wiping the rest of the schedule clean to finish the regular season at 7-3.

Just take a look at the remaining teams that Shore squares off against this season:

SHAMOKIN: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2017 Shamokin Indians – the team that 1-6 Central Mountain got their first victory against. That should be self-explanatory. Shamokin comes in at 1-6 themselves and this should be a smooth victory for the Bulldogs to help them recover from this two-game slide that they’re currently on.

BALD EAGLE AREA: BEA may hang close to Jersey Shore for a little bit in this one, but ultimately I see this as another smooth win for the Bulldogs. The Bald Eagles are currently an average football team sitting at 3-4. A win shouldn’t be a problem for a JS team that would be 6-3 at this point.

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN: If you had no idea who Jersey Shore and Central Mountain were, nor had no idea the magnitude of this rivalry, you’d most likely pick the Bulldogs to win easily in this one. But we all know better. I’ve said it multiple times throughout this season and I’ll say it again: Anything can happen in the magic of a rivalry. I’ll make my prediction on this one at the end of the season, but I will say this: Jersey Shore has a very realistic opportunity of going 7-3 after this one, but the Wildcats also have a very realistic opportunity to pull off the upset. This game is going to be fun, as usual.

So here’s what we’re looking at to sum it all up: The first two games for Jersey Shore against Shamokin and Bald Eagle Area should be no problem wins for the Bulldogs, that will bring them to a record of 6-3. In the rivalry contest between Jersey Shore and Central Mountain, anything can happen – but the Bulldogs will obviously be the favorites going into this contest.

So again, I say: Jersey Shore has a very realistic shot of going 7-3.

But I’ll also say this again: They have to clean up the turnovers and mistakes.

Because if not, we could be looking at a potential major upset over the Bulldogs. Maybe two. And that could certainly put the Bulldogs’ postseason hopes in question.

And who saw that coming in preseason?

Not a soul.

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