By The Daily Item
Eleven Valley football teams will take part in the postseason, which begins this weekend in all classifications.
All games are expected to be Friday night except for the Class AA quarterfinal between Lewisburg and Montoursville. Because of a conflict at Bucknell, the teams will meet Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
In Class A, two familiar foes will meet in the opening round Friday night when Line Mountain (8-2) goes to Southern Columbia (10-0) in a rematch of the last two District 4 Class A finals. The Eagles were 10-2 each of the past seasons with all four losses coming to the Tigers.
The winner of that game gets either South Williamsport or Bloomsburg in the final. The Mounties, led by former Warrior Run coach Chris Eiswerth, are 9-1 with the lone loss to Southern. Bloomsburg enters the playoffs at 8-2 after beating HAC-II champ Central Columbia and HAC-I Danville in the last two weeks. The Panthers will look to avenge a close loss to the Mounties in the season opener.
In Class AA, all four first-round games are rematches of games played earlier this season.
Top-seeded Danville (8-2) hosts Loyalsock on Friday night. The Ironmen are the No. 1 seed for the second time in three seasons and have made districts each of the last four years. Danville beat Loyalsock 20-6 early in the season, leading 20-0 before the Lancers scored on the final play of the game.
Fifth-seeded Troy (8-2) goes to Athens (8-2) in a rematch of a game Athens won earlier this year. The winner meets either Danville or Loyalsock next week.
In the other half the bracket, defending district champion Mount Carmel (6-4) is the seventh seed and heads to Central Columbia to take on the second-seeded Blue Jays (7-3). Central started the year 6-0 before dropping three of their last four, including a setback to Mount Carmel. The winner of that game meets either Lewisburg (8-2) or Montoursville (7-3) in the semifinals. Lewisburg rallied from a 16-point deficit to win the teams’ first meeting last month.
In Class AAA, defending champion Shamokin (2-7) visits No. 1 seed Selinsgrove (7-3) on Friday. The Seals are looking for their first district title since winning states in 2009.
In the other semifinal, Shikellamy (5-5) goes to Milton (6-4) in a rematch of a game played just this past Friday and won by the Black Panthers 27-7.
MAX-ING OUT: Lewisburg sophomore Max Reed had a pretty weekend on two different football (or futbol) fields.
On Friday night the 10th grader booted a 35-yard field goal in the Green Dragons’ 38-6 romp over Mifflinburg. On Saturday evening, in the District 4 Class AA boys soccer final, Reed scored the game-tying goal in the second half and then assisted on the game-winner moments later to help Lewisburg win its third consecutive District 4 title.
Reed will have a busy week of postseason games this week. On Tuesday he will play in the PIAA soccer playoffs when the Green Dragons meet District 2 champion Coughlin at Loyalsock. If Lewisburg wins that game, he might have to be two places at once considering the second round of state soccer is Saturday, as is the Dragon’s football playoff opener against Montoursville.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Danville coach Jim Keiser feared he tore a calf muscle during Friday’s 24-14 win over Selinsgrove.
Keiser, who had a pronounced hitch in his giddy-up at game’s end, jumped excitedly following a first-half fumble recovery by the Ironmen and slipped in mud near the edge of the field.
Still, the injury didn’t dampen his spirits after earning the program’s second Heartland-I championship in three years.
“Oh, I’ll take it,” said Keiser. “A little bit of pain? I’ll take it.”
BLOWING CHUNKS: Selinsgrove had allowed an average of 211 yards per game through the season’s first nine weeks, and Danville exceeded that total by only 63 yards.
Seals coach Dave Hess, however, was concerned about how the Ironmen got their yardage.
“I felt pretty good about our offense. I didn’t feel so good about our defense, because it was giving up big plays on third down,” he said. “The mistakes we were making were just real fundamental mistakes. The good thing is they’re all correctable things.”
FRESH FACE: Southern Columbia freshman Nick Becker made his first career start at quarterback on Friday night and he did not disappoint. Becker, the younger brother of Tiger veteran Jake Becker completed 5-of-9 passes for 152 yards and three scores.
Becker’s three TD passes were 16, 67 and 42 yards. His first career TD pass was a 16-yarder to his older brother Jake.