By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The game plan is a simple one. And it is no secret for anyone who has seen Shikellamy, or knows anything about this week’s opponent, Loyalsock, in Friday night’s Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game.
The Braves should be able to send their Homecoming Game crowd away happy if they execute it. In case you still haven’t figured it out, Shikellamy must, first of all, cut down on the costly turnovers that have been the primary reason for its 1-3 overall record. Secondly, it must be able to contain the extremely talented athlete who plays quarterback for the Lancers.
That would be junior Kyle Datres.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior is also the free safety and punter.
“It’s important we play a good game (against) a real good athlete at quarterback, who also has some parts around him,” Tilford said.
“You can’t simulate something like that. You talk about containing him and rotating guys through to contain him and keep him in the pocket,” he said. “Saying it is one thing, it’s another thing to do it.”
Tilford added that the Braves did do a nice job against Datres last year.
Not that Datres is a poor passing quarterback, it’s just that his legs make him much more dangerous.
“He’s really scary running the ball, but, unfortunately, he can throw it, too,” Tilford said.
The Braves coach said the best thing for his team to do is to keep on running the ball, keep the clocking running and keep Datres and his talented offense off the field.
“We need to shorten the game and sustain drives, and we really feel like we stopped ourselves (in the three losses) with penalties and fumbles.”
But, he added, “It’s getting to the point in time where there cannot be any excuses any more. The kids have to made some plays to beat a good team, we have to make some plays and be smart about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lancers (2-2) are coming off a come-from-behind win over Mount Carmel, a team that blanked a mistake-prone Shikellamy team in the season opener.
Loyalsock’s second-year head coach, Justin Van Fleet, is impressed with what he has seen of Shikellamy.
“Shik is a very well-coached that beat us last year. We look forward to the challenge of matching up with a team of their caliber,” he said.
Van Fleet, who played at Susquehanna University, said, “The record they have posted thus far in the season is in no way indicative of how dangerous they are. We look for this game to be a battle.”