Michael Kresovich on high school football: Season is moving fast
The high school football season is cruising along. After tonight’s slate of games are completed, the regular season will be close to one-third of the way complete. Last week Central Mountain shocked Shamokin late, BEA’s offense had trouble against Clearfield, Bellefonte got its first win of the season and Jersey Shore avoided its first regular season loss in two years.
Tonight’s game lineup features collision of powerhouses in Shore and Montoursville, a Mt. League battle in Bellefonte and chances for BEA and Central Mountain to improve its records.
Bloomsburg (0-2) vs. Central Mountain (2-0)
The Wildcats are riding high after a thrilling, 35-34, victory last Friday night over Shamokin. CM is at home for the second week in-a-row as it welcomes in a winless Bloomsburg squad.
CM managed to pull off the victory despite allowing Shamokin’s Max Madden to run for more than 150 yards and three touchdowns. Luckily for the Wildcats the run game Bloomsburg is bringing to Malinak Stadium is nothing like Shamokin’s.
The Panthers’ losses are to two quality opponents in Loyalsock and powerhouse Southern Columbia. The schedule does not get any easier tonight as Bloomsburg has to face the two-headed rushing attack of Brett Gerlach and Ryan Pentz. Both ran for over 100 yards in CM’s win last week. Running the ball is just one aspect of Gerlach’s game, the senior quarterback has solidified himself as a dual-threat QB by tallying six touchdowns in two games.
Junior quarterback Liam Zenter leads the Panthers offense. Zentner has thrown for two touchdowns and three interceptions through two games. The run game has been pretty much non-existent this year for the panthers. The team’s leading rusher Damon Rasmussen has 20 carries totaling 54 yards. Maden Locke appears to be Bloomsburg’s playmaker. The junior pass catcher has 130 receiving yards on just six catches.
According to Wildcats coach Shanon Manning, Bloomsburg is an athletic team.
“I see an extremely athletic team with tremendous speed. They really get to the ball on defense and have several explosive skill players on offense,” Manning said.
Manning said tonight’s game boils down to turnovers and special team production. Last week CM struggled on extra points.
“We have to win the turnover battle and execute on special teams. Our offensive and defensive execution have got to continue to improve from week 2 to week 3 to go 3-0,” Manning said.
Penn-Mansfield (1-1) vs. Bald Eagle Area (1-1)
Bald Eagle Area finally makes its home-debut tonight as they Eagles host North Penn-Mansfield. BEA’s game tonight comes a week after it suffered its first loss of the season to Clearfield. The Bison shutout the Eagles 21-0.
Despite the loss, BEA had a few positive takeaways. The Eagles trailed the state-caliber Bison by just seven at the break and also limited Clearfield’s star quarterback to 165 yards of total offense after he had 270 the week prior. BEA quarterback Carson Nagle eclipsed the 100-yard mark in passing yards for the second consecutive week.
It was a tough loss according to BEA coach Jesse Nagle. His team was overpowered at the line of scrimmage and had a challenging time scoring point.
“You can tell they (Clearfield) played a lot of football. We were just young up front; I think that was the story of the game,” Nagle said. “They were experienced, and they really took it to us. We really struggled blocking their front three or four guys.”
Fortunately for the Eagles, their schedule gets much more manageable beginning tonight. Nagle admits North Penn-Mansfield is a little behind Clearfield from a talent perspective but is aware of the Panthers’ discipline.
“Playing them (Clearfield) week two will only get us better. This week North Penn- Mansfield is very, very well coached and they’re going to do a lot of different things,” Nagle said.
Sophomore quarterback Karson Dominick commands the Panthers offense. Dominick has 252 yards through the air over the course of two games to with a touchdown and two INTs. The Panthers use senior back Cameron Fabian in a multitude of ways and is their catalyst. Fabian has scampered for two scores and 135 yards on 15 carries. He also has made a splash in the passing game, hauling in 77 yards through the air.
North Penn-Mansfield has a defensive capable of taking the ball away as it has forced three interceptions this season. The Panthers defeated Wyalusing Valley, 28-18, last week and fell to Canton, 48-7 in week one.
(2-0) Montoursville vs. (2-0) Jersey Shore
Tonight’s meeting between Montoursville and Jersey Shore has the potential to be among the greatest games throughout the state. Both the Warriors and Bulldogs get together as each comes in with a 2-0 record.
Shore avoided its first regular season loss since 2019 by escaping Selinsgrove last week. Thanks to a Hayden Packer score and Breck Miller made field goal. Shore started 2-0 for the third straight season.
The goal of tonight’s game for Shore is to avoid long third downs and setup manageable distances on late downs according to Bulldogs coach Tom Gravish.
“Montoursville is a great football team again this year. We are going to try to play the best footballthat we can play in all three phases of offense, defense and special teams. We want to be in manageable down and distance situations, put them in third and long and play great special teams,” Gravish said. “We are planning to play with discipline and poise. We will look to our veterans to make big plays.
Rocco Pulizzi anchors the Warriors offense. The senior has found the end zone six times in two games to go with 325 yards rushing. Next to Pulizzi in the Montoursville backfield is QB Dalena Maddix who has close to 300 yards passing and three scores through the air. Maddix’s favorite target is James Batkowski, the two have connected on five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball Montoursville’s Matt Conklin and Brayden Brown anchor the unit. The two have 16 total tackles each and combined for six games
Tonight’s game marks the first true test for the Warriors, Montoursville has two convincing wins over Wellsboro and Lewisburg.
(0-2) Tyrone vs.(1-1) Bellefonte
Bellefonte was able to down P-O last week for its first win of the season and senior defensive back Nolan Weaver was a huge reason why. Weaver made two special plays last week as he tallied two defensive scores to push the Raiders past the Mounties.
Bellefonte is at home for the second straight week as it welcomes in Mt. League rival Tyrone. The Golden Eagles are winless through their first two games with losses to Juniata Valley and Bellwood-Antis.
The Raiders have a golden opportunity to finally get their offense rolling as Tyrone’s defense has struggled this season. The Golden Eagles surrendered 311 yards last week.
For the Tyrone offense, it’s a unit that has been down as well. The Golden Eagles recorded just 32 yards last week in the loss.
NOTE: Bucktail’s scheduled week three game was postponed.