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Wildcats lose to Seals in meeting of strong teams

Central Mountain wideout Tyler Weaver hauls in a 66-yard TD pass from Brett Gerlach Friday night against Selinsgrove. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

MILL HALL – Shanon Manning gathered his team near midfield after Friday night’s game against Selinsgrove. The postgame huddle–ran by Manning and his staff–following Central Mountain’s, 33-23, loss to Selinsgrove had an odd feeling around.

That mysterious feeling was the one of defeat. It was the result of coming up short and it was just the second time through the Wildcats’ first seven games they felt it.

“Until we can eliminate some of the mistakes that we’re making right now, we can only outplay those mistakes so often. When you play a team (Selinsgrove) of that caliber, your margin of error shrinks or evaporates into nothing. Three or four missed tackles against a good team? We can survive,” Manning said after Central Mountain fell to 5-2 on the season. “Three or four missed tackles against kids that are exceptional? That will haunt you. We have to sit down as a staff and look at where do we improve and close that gap to become a great team.”

The Seals were by far the fastest, strongest and most talented team the Wildcats were tasked with stopping so far this season. Selinsgrove relied on its ground game in the victory, and it paid off. Collectively as a unit, the Seals dashed for 228 yards against the Wildcats highlighted by Tucker Teats’ game-high 110. Teats and Brandon Hile proved to be too much for the young Wildcat defense. Hile ripped off two scores of 35 or more yards while Teats never seemed to go down after initial contact.

That was the plan according to Selinsgrove coach Derek Hicks. The Seals didn’t do anything other than stick to their identity.

FINAL: Selinsgrove 33, CM 23. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

“We prepare run first every week. It’s been kind of a give and take. Our offensive coordinator does a great job of taking what the defense is able to give and running with it.”

As productive as the run game was for Selinsgrove, its passing game was equally as efficient. Led by sophomore Mark Pastore’s strong right arm, Selinsgrove found success through the air when it needed to most. Pastore completed 65% of his passes for 170 yards a score. Six of Pastore’s 11 completions went for 10 yards or more.

According to Hicks, Pastore’s performance Friday reflected what kind of season he’s been able to have.

“He had a great game; it’s been a great growth year for him. (Pastore) struggled early in the season and he’s starting to figure out the varsity game. He’s settled in nicely. For a sophomore on this kind of stage–against a quality football team–he did a great job.”

The likes of Teats, Hile and Pastore were able to conquer a Central Mountain defense that’s been nothing short of impressive this season. The 33 points allowed Friday night by the Wildcats is the most they’ve allowed all season. Prior to Friday, the highest point-total surrendered by Central Mountain was 21.

CM QB Brett Gerlach tries to evade Selinsgrove defenders during Friday's game. TIM WEIGHT/For the Express

The offensive success from Selinsgrove was the product of phenomenal offensive line play. Outside of two sacks and four negative rushes, the Seals owned the trenches.

“What they do on both sides of the ball creates a challenge,” Manning said regarding Selinsgrove’s line. “We knew this was a tough matchup for us. I don’t think anyone in blue tonight quit fighting and didn’t dig. They (Selinsgrove) tried to blow us out, our kids wouldn’t let them put them the hammer down.”

It wasn’t all bad for the Wildcats in the loss. The Central Mountain offense–outside of three turnovers committed–showed glimpses Friday of how talented it truly is. Senior quarterback Brett Gerlach threw for 229 yards and totaled two scores. Fellow senior Ryan Pentz was the team’s leading rusher with 48 yards. Pentz managed to find the end zone for the eighth time this season after he scored from 3-yards out in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore wideout continued his impressive season Friday night by catching 10 passes for 155 yards. Foltz–according to Manning–is the definition of a team player.

“He allows himself to be coached really hard. Connor is truly a ‘yes sir’ kid. We’re asking a ton of that young man,” Manning said.

Foltz was not the only Wildcat who impressed on the outside. Senior wide receiver Tyler Weaver had just one catch, but it went for 66 yards and a touchdown as he beat the corner to the edge and went untouched.

Weaver’s impact on Friday’s game was beyond his catch. Weaver played a key role in Central Mountain’s special teams, an area where Manning said he was impressed with after Friday’s game.

“I think we took a big step forward on special teams, I thought each of the last two weeks special teams was a real Achilles heel for us. I thought our special teams have definitely improved,” Manning said.

Weaver went 3 for 3 on extra-points and nailed a 23-yarder.

Selinsgrove 33, Central Mountain 23

Selinsgrove 6 10 10 7–33

CM 3 7 7 6–23

First quarter:

S-10:39, Nate Aument 37 pass from Mark Pastore, XP no good.

CM-7:31, Tyler Weaver made 23-yard FG.

Second quarter:

CM-10:19, Brett Gerlach 1 run, Weaver made XP.

S-6:27, Brandon Hile 36 run, Carter Young made XP.

S-0:00, Young made 23-yard FG.

Third quarter:

S-4:59, Young made 32.

CM-3:27, Weaver 66 pass from Gerlach, Weaver made XP.

S-2:09, Hile 51 run, Young made XP.

Fourth quarter:

S-9:13, Tucker Teats 69 run, Young made XP.

CM-7:33, Ryan Pentz 3 run, 2-pt try failed.

Team statistics (S, CM)

Passing yards 170, 229

Rushing yards 228, 89

Total yards 398, 318

Records: 5-2, 5-2.

Individual statistics:

Rushing: Selinsgrove, Tucker Teats 10-110-TD; Brandon Hile 6-88-2 TDS; Logan Othoudt 6-27; Mark Pastore 6-3. Central Mountain, Ryan Pentz 11-48-TD; Brett Gerlach 11-34-TD; Connor Foltz 1-7; Rocco Serafini 1-0.

Passing: Selinsgrove, Mark Pastore 11-17, 170 yards, TD. Central Mountain Brett Gerlach 16-22, 229 yards, TD, 3 INTs.

Receiving: Selinsgrove, Gavin Bastian 5-66; Nate Aument 4-74, TD; Brandon Hile 1-19; Tucker Teats 1-11. Central Mountain, Connor Foltz 10-155; Ryan Pentz 4-2; Tyler Weaver 1-66, TD; Kevin Grenninger 1-6.

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