Central Mountain allows just 3 points in upset of Selinsgrove
MILL HALL–The Central Mountain Wildcats are 2-0 for the first time since 2008, and the numbers point to the team’s defense as the main reason.
The Wildcat defense has surrendered nine points through its first two games, allowing six in the opener to Shikellamy, and three in the team’s 7-3 win over Selinsgrove on Friday.
Central Mountain is yet to allow any points in the first half. The lone touchdown Central Mountain gave up, came on a quarterback sneak when the Wildcats held a 33-point lead against Shikellamy.
To put into perspective how impressive just nine points allowed is two weeks into the season, look no further than Central Mountain’s past five seasons. The Wildcats defense has given up an average of 77 points over its first two games over the last five seasons.
This is a defense which has forced more punts than allowed points this season. Central Mountain’s defense completely locked down Selinsgrove’s rushing attack. The same backfield which went for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the team’s Week 1 victory over Milton.
The Wildcats’ defense did not allow Selinsgrove to cross midfield until there was just three minutes left in the first half. Central Mountain still forced a punt on the drive.
“Our defense stood their ground so many times,” Central Mountain coach Jim Renninger said. “They were fighting for field position the whole game and our defense just kept battling and battling. Can’t say enough about them.”
Junior linebacker Micah Walizer led Central Mountain in tackles, accounting for five solo tackles.
On Selinsgrove’s first possession of the game, the stingy Wildcat defense made an immediate impact and forced a three and out.
The very next Central Mountain possession, running back Ryan Pentz scored on a 17-yard run to put the Wildcats on the board with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter. It would be the lone touchdown for both teams.
Pentz, who finished the day with 81 rushing yards on 18 carries, shared high praise for his offensive linemen following the win.
“I got to thank my linemen, they’re there for me all the time,” Pentz said, “I wish I could just buy something for them.”
With a 7-0 lead and the ball, junior quarterback Brett Gerlach sailed a ball just beyond the reach of his intended wide receiver, and Selinsgrove safety Teague Hoover snatched it out of the air for an interception.
The interception did not faze the Central Mountain defense even with the Seals taking over on the Wildcat 24-yardline. The Wildcat defense held strong and forced a 20-yard field goal attempt. But the kick was pushed to the right and missed.
Selinsgrove would then receive the kick to begin the second half in hopes of tying up the game. Central Mountain’s safety Kaden Falls had other plans. Seals quarterback Coy Bastian attempted a deep ball and Falls high-pointed the ball out of the air and picked it off for Central Mountain. Falls ended the game with three solo tackles and a monstrous interception which killed Selinsgrove’s drive.
The approximately 50 fans sitting behind the Central Mountain sideline in the bleachers erupted, as well as the Wildcat players on the sideline. But this clutch play by the senior ball-hawking safety was nothing out of the ordinary for him.
“It’s just me doing my job,” Falls said. “We were all doing our jobs working as hard as we could.”
Selinsgrove got a swing of momentum after its special teams unit blocked a Central Mountain punt on the ensuing possession. Selinsgrove kicked a 22-yard field goal to bring the score 7-3 with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
But it was as close as Selinsgrove got. Gerlach connected with Nick Long on a 29-yard completion to convert a third-and-8, forcing Selinsgrove to use all its timeouts.
Central Mountain stopped a lateral pass to secure both the win and the school’s first 2-0 start since 2008.
“I just couldn’t be happier for them, I’m super proud of them,” Renninger said.
Renninger knows Central Mountain’s next opponent, the 2-0 Jersey Shore Bulldogs, will be a challenge for his team. The Wildcats head coach is not worried about his team’s preparation for the game.
“Jersey Shore has got a great football team and they’ve been good for a couple years, they know it’s going to be a challenge, I don’t have to worry about these kids, they’ll come to work,” Renninger said.
Central Mountain 7, Selinsgrove 3
Central Mountain 7 0 0 0 — 7
Selinsgrove 0 0 3 0 — 3
CM–Ryan Pentz 17 run (Tyler Weaver kick), 2:35.
S–Devin pardoe 22 FG, 6:13.
RUSHING–Central Mountain: Ryan Pentz, 18-81, TD; Peyton Johnson, 3-19; Micah Wallizer, 8-15; Brett Gerlach, 2-8. Selinsgrove: Coy Bastian, 9-29; Ryan Aument, 5-5; Teague Hoover, 4-4.
PASSING–Central Mountain: Brett Gerlach, 10-16-1, 100 yds. Selinsgrove: Coy Bastian, 9-23-1, 94 yds.
RECEIVING–Central Mountain: Nick Long, 3-53; Peyton Johnson, 3-24; Ryan Pentz, 2-3; Ben Garlick, 1-16; Cyrus McCarl, 1-4. Selingsgrove: Brett Foor, 5-43; Nathan Aument, 1-31; Brandon Hile, 1-12; Corey Rumberger, 1-4; Scott Kissinger, 1-4.
Records: Central Mountain (2-0); Selinsgrove (1-1).