Andrew Powell gives week two high school football analysis, predictions
By ANDREW POWELL
It was quite the first week of high school football last Friday – highlighted by the shocking upset of Jersey Shore High School by Bellefonte, and also the fact that Bucktail won their first game of the season after going 0-10 in 2016.
But let’s start with the 34-7 defeat of the Central Mountain Wildcats by Williamsport. Let’s be honest, ladies and gentlemen: We all saw this coming. With Williamsport being in a much larger and diverse area than Central Mountain is, the talent pool is obviously much larger for the Millionaries. Not much analysis is needed in this one, we’ll get to tonight’s game against Hughesville here in a moment.
The biggest game of last weekend had to be the Bellefonte-Jersey Shore contest – where you had the No. 1 ranked team in the area (according to The Williamsport Sun-Gazette) and defending District 4 Champions, Jersey Shore, against a Bellefonte team who is much better than their 2016 record shows – and brought a lot of people back from last year. And that was evident last Friday night. Jersey Shore actually had a 13-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter and it looked like the game belonged to the Bulldogs, but the Red Raiders pulled an incredible comeback by scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for the 17-13 upset to shock the local community. Truly a result nobody expected.
Another shocking, unexpected result was the Bucktail Bucks game last weekend against St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy. The Bucks went into 2017 with only 17 players and was coming off an 0-10 year – so what’s to be expected? Another 0-10 year, right? Wrong. Bucktail High School shocked St. Joe’s and the Bucks community, Renovo, by blanking the Wolves 12-0. Quite the storyline for the Bucktail football program – will in continue against Towanda?
The other game from the area last weekend was Bald Eagle Area High School going on the road to take on Troy. I predicted a blowout in favor of the Bald Eagles, and that’s exactly what it was. BEA took home the victory with no problem, 33-13.
This week, all the local high schools are playing schools outside of the coverage area – so we don’t have any exciting rivalries to discuss for tonight, but we still have those ‘Friday Night Lights’ as my colleage, Scott Baker, says.
To kick off things for week two action, we’ll start out with the hometown team, Central Mountain High School, up against Hughesville High School.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN VS. HUGHESVILLE, 7:00 PM
ANALYSIS: Last year on the road, the Central Mountain Wildcats took home a 35-21 defeat from the Hughesville Spartans. This year in Mill Hall, I could see this game being more balanced – especially after Hughesville looks like the same 5-6 team last year after suffering a 19-15 loss to the hands of Lewisburg last Friday. I can see the Wildcats’ defense containing Hughesville for the majority of the game, but lack of production from the offensive side will hurt CM’s chances in this one – a hurdle Central Mountain will have to try and jump the entire season.
PREDICTION: Hughesville 21, Central Mountain 10
NEXT GAME: at Shikellamy; 9/8, 7:00 PM
BELLEFONTE VS. HUNTINGDON, 7:00 PM
ANALYSIS: Last weekend’s momentum from the shocking upset over Jersey Shore High School will surely carry into this game against Huntingdon for Bellefonte – and that spells trouble for the Bearcats. Huntingdon may have slammed Mt. Union, 57-0, last Friday – but the Red Raiders are a completely different animal. Last year in Huntingdon, Bellefonte took home a win in a 21-20 thriller. This year with the Red Raiders being an even better team and this game being at Bellefonte this go around, I have a convincing victory for the Red Raiders in this one to bring them to 2-0 on the season.
PREDICTION: Bellefonte 27, Huntingdon 13
NEXT GAME: at Philipsburg-Osceola; 9/8, 7:00 PM
JERSEY SHORE AT MIFFLINBURG, 7:00 PM
ANALYSIS: Last year, the Bulldogs had actually lost 21-13 to Mifflinburg – that game being a home game at Jersey Shore High School. This season’s rematch on the road against the Wildcats won’t be any easier for the Bulldogs, at least on paper, but there are a few bright spots: 1. Mifflinburg got hammered, 34-11, last week against Central Columbia and looks like the same 3-7 squad they were last season. 2. Jersey Shore is a much better team this year than they were last year when they won the District 4 Championship. And 3. I just can’t see this Bulldogs squad starting out the season 0-2. I just don’t see it. In fact, I look for Jersey Shore to get things together in this one for the rest of the season.
PREDICTION: Jersey Shore 31, Mifflinburg 12
NEXT GAME: vs. Troy; 9/8, 7:00 PM
BALD EAGLE AREA VS. PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA, 7:00 PM
ANALYSIS: This one is going to be a tough one to pick. Yes, Bald Eagle Area kicked off week one with a 33-13 victory over Troy. Yes, Bald Eagle Area clobbered the Mountaineers, 55-0, last season. But here’s an interesting storyline for you: Last year, Philipsburg-Osceola got pummeled by West Branch, 54-28. Last week, the Mountaineers got the best of West Branch, 32-14. That’s quite the difference, which has me thinking: Is this a turnaround year for Philipsburg-Osceola, or was week one just a fluke? That’s what makes this game so difficult to predict. I have a few factors going in: 1. It’s a wild-card pick. 2. It’s at Bald Eagle Area High School. 3. BEA took care of business against the Mountainteers last year – and blanked them – 55-0. And 4. It looks like the Bald Eagles have some talent to work with this year. So I have to give Bald Eagle Area the advantage in this one in a wild one.
PREDICTION: Bald Eagle Area 34, Philipsburg-Osceola 32
NEXT GAME: at Penns Valley Area; 9/8, 7:00 PM
BUCKTAIL VS. TOWANDA, 7:00 PM
ANALYSIS: This is the magic that football can bring, ladies and gentlemen. In 2016, the Bucktail High School football program goes 0-10 for the season. Then the very first game of 2017 – with only 17 players on the roster – against St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, the Bucks come out for a 12-0 win to start out the new year 1-0. Pure insanity. And that’s why we love football. Can Bucktail continue the magic against Towanda? Last season, Towanda took care of the Bucks easily, 51-13, but Bucktail also lost to St. Joe’s, 33-6, last year – and we all saw how well that worked out last week. But here’s the thing: The fact that Bucktail only has 17 players on the roster scares me – that depth is only going to go so far. I’d like to see the magic for the Bucks to continue, but I look for them to come back down to earth this week – and in a big way.
PREDICTION: Towanda 36, Bucktail 14
NEXT GAME: at Canton; 9/8, 7:00 PM
LAST WEEK’S PREDICTIONS:
Williamsport over Central Mountain (CORRECT – Williamsport defeated Central Mountain, 34-7)
Jersey Shore over Bellefonte (WRONG – Bellefonte upset Jersey Shore, 17-13)
Bald Eagle Area over Troy (CORRECT – Bald Eagle Area defeated Troy, 33-13)
St. Joseph’s over Bucktail (WRONG – Bucktail upset St. Joseph’s, 12-0)
POWELL’S PREDICTIONS RECORD: 2-2