Central Mountain hopeful for win No.1 versus Selinsgrove

Central Mountain's Ryan Pentz (26) returns a kick against Hollidaysburg last week. Central Mountain plays in its homecoming game tonight against the Selinsgrove Seals.

By SHAREIK FLOWERS

sflowers@lockhaven.com

MILL HALL- With the season ticking down– Central Mountain has three chances left to end the year with a win.

But hey, three is a magic number.

Central Mountain (0-7) goes for win No.1 of the season tonight versus the Selinsgrove Seals.

The Wildcats are off the heels of a disappointing 56-12 home loss to the Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers. The defense has surrendered at least 35 points in six games this season- and tensions have flared over the week.

“It’s been a tough week,” Central Mountain coach Jim Renninger said. “We’re pushing some accountability and some sacrifice things. They’ve been pushed all week to do things the correct way. It’s been a tough week, their spirits have been fine but hopefully [the pushing] will help.

“Some of them aren’t used to being held accountable all the time, and it takes some time for them to figure it out.”

Central Mountain was out-scored 314-68 over the course of the season. Their closest game was a 13-3 loss to Shikellamy in Week 6, but tonight they have the added bonus of playing their homecoming game. Central Mountain’s lone victory last season was a 28-14 homecoming win against the Shamokin Indians.

“Well, they’ll be some added excitement,” Renninger said of the game’s magnitude. “But in my opinion, if you need outside things to get you excited to play a football game then you probably are playing for the wrong reasons.”

Selinsgrove (3-4) is coping with the graduation of former standout quarterback Logan Leiby. The Seals’ new signal caller is freshman quarterback Daniel Shoch, who’s thrown for 928 yards and seven touchdowns.

“They’re physical, very tough-minded kids,” Renninger said of Selinsgrove. “They’re young and they graduated obviously a very talented quarterback (Logan Leiby).

“They start a freshman quarterback. But they have some pretty talented running backs and a decent-offensive line. They’re physical kids. Every time you go play Selinsgrove you have to be ready to play a tough game, a physical game and this year is no different.”

WHAT TO LOOK TO LOOK OUT FOR

Central Mountain’s offense has big-play ability, they just consistently struggle to generate scoring.

Rocco Stark recorded a 75-yard receiving touchdown, and Collin Jones busted through for a 79-yard score against Hollidaysburg last week.

Junior quarterback Zane Probst has thrown for 1,170 and seven touchdowns. His seven touchdown passes are three more than previous starting quarterbacks Justin Neff (0) and Austyn Carson (4) combined for in their respective senior seasons.

Senior wide receiver Collin Jones has tallied 29 receptions for 651 yards and six touchdowns, as the Wildcats have talent across its lineup. The athleticism is there–they just need to be as disciplined and physical as Selinsgrove.

“Athletically, we matchup OK,” Renninger explained. “It’ll just be a matter of if we can play with the same physicality they play with. Are we going to be willing to play as tough [as Selinsgrove]? Or are we going to be willing to sacrifice our own personal agendas for each other, or are we going to physically be all in?

“If we do that it should be a very good game, but if we don’t we’ll be in trouble.”

KEY TO VICTORY

All season Central Mountain’s offense has struggled to protect the football, and the defense has been exploited for big plays. If both units play in character Friday night, the game could get ugly.

“We can’t give up big plays, and we can’t turn the ball over,” Renninger said. “We have to be consistent offensively, and we’ve got to try and find a run game somehow, at least to keep their defense off balance. And we have to be more physical than we have been. Ultimately, we have to be able to do those things to have an opportunity to win.”

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN WILL WIN IF

“We’re more physical than Selinsgrove and make less mistakes,” Renninger said.

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