Week 4 high school football analysis and predictions
By ANDREW POWELL
Everything went according to plan last week in high school football — except in Jersey Shore where a turning point may have had happened
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
WEEK 3 REVIEW:
Last week in Shamokin, Central Mountain squared off against the Indians. What a tough contest this was for the Wildcats going into this game — they lost 35-6.
Not only was Shamokin improved heading into this contest, but the Indians are also now led by first-year head coach Henry Hynoski. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it is — Hynoski is a former NFL fullback and a member of the 2011 Super Bowl championship New York Giants.
Now that you re-evaluate the schedule three weeks into the season, this was actually a pretty hard start for Central Mountain. I’m overlooking the winless 0-3 record, and expect the Wildcats to be extremely competitive against Bellefonte this week in a rivalry game.
And head coach James Renninger is getting Collin Jones more and more involved with the offense, which is a good sign for CM as the season progresses. As soon as Renninger gets that offense clicking with Jones, as well as JT Pentz, they’ll be productive — keep an eye on the running back position for the Wildcats this week, it’ll be interesting to see if Renninger makes Rocco Stark more active or continue to use Cameron Sonnie.
Also pay attention to the interception counter for quarterback Zane Probst this week — he’ll need to be extremely effective against the Red Raiders’ defense, who have been extraordinarily dominant this year.
On the other side of this rivalry game, you have those Bellefonte Red Raiders — who enter with an undefeated 3-0 record. Last week, they absolutely hammered Philipsburg-Osceola by a 55-7 score.
It’s been a fun brand of football to watch.
Especially with my favorite student-athlete this year throughout the five schools: Quarterback Kyle Myers — Like I mentioned in a previous column, I love everything about this kid. He can throw, he can pass, he’s a true dual-threat quarterback. And the ‘transfer’ storyline is just so appealing.
And those numbers.
In the passing game this season, he’s put up a total of 307 yards with four touchdowns and a 122.2 QB Rating. On the rushing end, he’s tallied 193 yards. He’s certainly been a pleasant replacement for the graduated Dylan Deitrich.
Look for this to be Myers’ big breakout game to expand him a little further on the map of notoriety — I look for him to be very effective against the Wildcats.
And how can you not rave about Red Raiders running back CJ Funk?
Two 100-yard performances in three games, and he’s punched in a total of five touchdowns — the duo of him and Myers against the Wildcats’ defense should have them licking their chops.
And back to their defense, they’ve only allowed 21 points in three games — just plain out scary to go along with that offense.
And speaking of terrifying teams, let’s go over to Wingate and take a visit at Bald Eagle Area High School — where this guy, that guy, this guy right here, that guy over there, and this guy too are just flat out ballin’.
Yes, that’s literally how it is. The Bald Eagles have an unbelievable amount of stars — and it showed again in a 49-28 drubbing of Penns Valley.
Let’s start with the quarterback position that belongs to Jaden Jones — this kid has been absolutely incredible.
Check out the stat sheet for the first three games:
Week 1 vs. Troy: 16-23, 487 YDS, 5 TDS (18 rushing yards and one touchdown)
Week 2 at Philipsburg-Osceola: 15-21, 219 YDS, 4 TDS (55 rushing yards and two touchdowns)
Week 3 vs. Penns Valley Area: 17-20, 323 YDS, 4 TDS
Jones should light into the Bishop Carroll defense in week four.
And the weapons for Jones are endless — for the first three games of the season, you’ve seen a different receiver appear out of no where with effective performances.
In Week 1 against Troy, all three of Gage McClenahan, Kaden Bittinger and Mathew Reese had over 100-yard games — Kael Gardner would also be in on the action catching a touchdown himself.
Let’s break those performance down statistically:
Gage McClenahan: 168 YDS, 2 TDS
Kaden Bittinger: 146 YDS, 1 TD
Mathew Reese: 129 YDS, 1 TD
Kael Gardner: 38 YDS, 1 TD
The next week against Philipsburg-Osceola, Nick Turner then achieved a 100-yard performance himself — the fourth Bald Eagle Area receiver to do so in two games. Turner pulled in a total of 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Reese and Gardner would again make an appearance as well, both grabbing a touchdown pass.
Last week back at home against Penns Valley Area, McClenahan was back in the receiving attack — he pulled in four receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Bittinger, like McClenahan, made another strong performance after being minimized in the Philipsburg-Osceola game. He would pull in 91 yards and a touchdown. Reese would also be effective with 46 yards.
And what’s this?
Yet another new wide receiver would make an appearance in Wingate, this time Tommy Snyder with a 68-yard catch for a touchdown.
That’s six legitimate wide receivers for Bald Eagle Area, just an insane amount of talent on that team — and we haven’t even got to the rushing game yet.
It’s funny, because at this point, the Bald Eagles don’t even need a running game — but yet, here we are, and they have one of them too.
And with multiple weapons on that, too. Just insane.
In Week 1 against Troy, Blake Roberts nearly had a 100-yard game — rushing for 83 yards on just six attempts. The next week against P.O., he’d put up 89 yards on just 11 attempts. And then last week, more effectiveness with 62 yards and a touchdown.
But you didn’t think that was the only weapon for the BEA rushing game, did you?
Of course not.
Gage McClenahan would add 57 rushing yards in Week 2, and Tommy Snyder would pop in a touchdown.
In Week 3, you’d see even more effectiveness in the rushing game from McClenahan — he’d rush for 62 yards and one touchdown.
Like I mentioned in my column on Monday, there’s something developing there with the running duo of McClenahan and Roberts — keep an eye on that against Bishop Carroll and as the season progresses. Yet another weapon developing for an already extraordinary force.
Definitely the best team in the area in my opinion.
Now let’s travel down to Jersey Shore, shall we?
Bulldogs fans can finally breathe, because it looks like we may having a turning point going on with Jersey Shore after the 30-20 upset of Montoursville.
After the losses to Bellefonte and Selinsgrove to start out the season, a storm cloud started to venture over the Bulldogs — especially with the concern regarding senior running back Kyle Tomb’s lack of production.
But it looks like head coach Tom Gravish is working around that, and the strategy earned Jersey Shore their first win of the season.
Tomb’s struggles forced Gravish to lower his touches, and he only received 12 total in the game against the Warriors,– he would collect 46 yards, 31 of those would come from one run. It’s obvious the struggles still remain — and I have to credit this to Tomb’s success last season. Teams have just came more prepared for Tomb this year.
So what does Gravish do?
He starts platooning — two juniors, Josh Malicky and Dawson Sechrist, would be thrown in the mix to help cover up the struggles of Tomb.
And it worked.
Sechrist would collect 57 yards on nine touches, while Malicky would pile up 44 yards on eight touches. Mixed in with Tomb’s 46, the Bulldogs achieved a total of 147 rushing yards. Quarterback Tanner Lorson would add 39 rushing yards, bringing that up to 187.
And speaking of Lorson, he was on point last week after struggling in the first two games of the season. Against Montoursville, he threw 7-15 for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
It looks like we have a true turning point for the Bulldogs with Gravish working out a lot of the kinks. Starting against Mount Carmel this week, I look for Jersey Shore to start rolling — but a win won’t be easy to come by, the Red Tornadoes are 2-1.
Regardless, Jersey Shore is finally getting in their zone.
After an upset win against Columbia Montour Vo-Tech the week prior, I thought Bucktail would be able to pull more magic against Nativity BVM last week — wrong, the Bucks took a 34-14 loss.
But with Bucktail being extremely under-manned with 20 players, you can’t help but to like this team and the fight that they have in them.
Head coach Bruce Ransom had the perfect quote to put it in perspective:
“Seriously, look at them, look at our 20 players — broken, hurt, feeling bad, yet they never quit, that’s the culture of Bucktail, we get every ounce out of every player,” Ransom said. “And look at the line of parents waiting to encourage them, and of course at the front of the line is [Principal] Betsy Dickey. If you watched this game, you could not be more proud of these players tonight.”
And speaking of Bucktail culture, you can’t help to marvel at the community support of this team — the players had walked off the field to greetings and cheers from over 50 fans after the loss.
A couple of Bucks to keep an eye on as the season progresses is Zach Pick and Tristan Probst. Pick is only 14 years old, and led the team in tackles in the game against Nativity BVM. Probst, also 14 years old, held BVM’s No. 2 receiver to zero catches.
It’ll be interesting to see how these youngsters develop for Bucktail.
Week 4… Let’s go!
1. Bald Eagle Area (3-0)
2. Bellefonte (3-0)
3. Jersey Shore (1-2)
4. Bucktail (1-2)
5. Central Mountain (0-3)
BELLEFONTE AT CENTRAL MOUNTAIN, 7:00 PM (GAME OF THE WEEK) (RIVALRY GAME) (TOUCHDOWNS AGAINST CANCER GAME)
ANALYSIS: Last year, the Red Raiders and Wildcats cooked us up a triple-overtime thriller. Bellefonte would end up winning that game, 34-31, but it was a classic that we couldn’t stop talking about the entire season as we marveled at both teams. Here in 2018, I see more of the same. Central Mountain may be 0-3, but they have weapons — the presence of Collin Jones, Zane Probst, JT Pentz, Rocco Stark and Cameron Sonnie has forced me to put Bellefonte on serious upset alert, especially with this game being in Mill Hall. However, I have my doubts if the CM offense can get around that dominant Red Raiders defense. On the offensive side of the ball, Kyle Myers and CJ Funk should have incredible statistical days against the struggling Wildcats defense — if there was a high school fantasy football league, I’d say start both Myers and Funk this week. But keep in mind: In rivalry games, anything can happen — despite the analysis, all rules and numbers are off for this game.
PREDICTION: Bellefonte 41, Central Mountain 34
NEXT GAME (Central Mountain): at Clearfield; September 21, 7:00 PM
NEXT GAME (Bellefonte): vs. Tyrone (at Bald Eagle Area); September 21, 7:00 PM
BALD EAGLE AREA VS. BISHOP CARROLL, 7:00 PM (TOUCHDOWNS AGAINST CANCER GAME)
ANALYSIS: The Huskies can’t score and their defense is horrendous, and with Bald Eagle Area having an explosive offense and a great defense, they should shine massively — again. Bishop Carroll comes into this game 1-2, with a week one victory against an 0-3 team. Can somebody say blowout? Expect another powerful set of numbers coming from BEA.
PREDICTION: Bald Eagle Area 52, Bishop Carroll 6
NEXT GAME: at Central; September 21, 7:00 PM
JERSEY SHORE VS. MOUNT CARMEL, 7:00 PM (TOUCHDOWNS AGAINST CANCER GAME)
ANALYSIS: This is going to be another tough game for the Bulldogs. Mount Carmel comes into this game with a 2-1 record — both victories coming against winning teams. Their loss? Against a defending state champion in Southern Columbia, who are sitting at 3-0 this season. Shore will have their hands full with this one, and it’ll be interesting to see how their new three-man platoon at running back will fare against the defense of the Red Tornadoes, as well as an improving Tanner Lorson. This one will be good.
PREDICTION: Mount Carmel 28, Jersey Shore 20
NEXT GAME: at Shikellamy; September 21, 7:00 PM
BUCKTAIL VS. CANTON, 7:00 PM (TOUCHDOWNS AGAINST CANCER GAME)
ANALYSIS: After winning a squeaker against Towanda, the Canton Warriors dominated their next two opponents — they currently sit with an undefeated 3-0 record for the season. I expect the continuous fight from the Bucks to appear in this game as well, but Canton will just be too much to handle. Canton should roll.
PREDICTION: Canton 40, Bucktail 14
NEXT GAME: at Muncy; September 21, 7:00 PM
LAST WEEK’S RECORD: 3-2
SEASON RECORD: 9-5