By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
PINE GROVE — With a modest two-game winning streak, Line Mountain has another test for its young squad as it travels to Pine Grove to take on the undefeated and top-ranked Tri-Valley League Cardinals on Friday.
“I hope the place is electric on Friday night as I told our kids this is a championship-caliber football team and we have to rise to the occasion and play at a championship-level game like this,” Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock said.
The Eagles (3-4, 2-4 TVL) blanked East Juniata last week 22-0. It was the second straight week the defense has pitched a shutout.
“The last two weeks, the defense has been playing great, giving the way the season has been going,” he added. “We have the potential to play defense like that every week. It was just two or three big plays this year where we could have ended up shutting out a lot of teams. We’re going to have to play very solid defense against Pine Grove this week.”
Knock said that the progression of his team continues and that some of the seniors have challenged kids to step up and make plays and they have.
“There hasn’t been a time this year that the kids haven’t given everything they’ve got,” Knock added. “The Williams Valley game got away quickly from us, but, they played all out each game. Even in the Juniata game when they were one inch away from a touchdown, some of the players were physically exhausted when I went out to talk to them during a timeout and they still did what they had to do to win the game.”
Pine Grove (7-0, 6-0 TVL) is the only undefeated team in the TVL following last week’s win over Halifax.
Senior Ryan Heim had his third 200-yard rushing game of the year last week and has gone six straight games over 100 yards on the ground. He is averaging nearly five yards per carry.
“They are a very disciplined team and they have some great athletes who don’t make mistakes,” Knock said. “We are a momentum football team. We have to get some momentum early and make some plays if we want to have a big win.”