The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

October 4, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Coaches running out of options


Like the Defenders, the Indians started losing starters in the preseason and the hits just kept on coming.

Foor said this week that the team has maintained a high morale and noted that neither the players nor the coaches are going to cry about something they can not control.

Foor told me after a heartbreaking loss to then unbeaten Selinsgrove two weeks ago that there was no more talk about playoffs because, he contended, what happened last year to allow a 3-7 team to get into the D4 AAA playoffs was not going to happen again. Well, guess what? With four teams qualifying, it appears that the same four teams -- Selinsgrove, Shikellamy, Milton and Shamokin -- will be there again. All that is left to be determined is the seeding. This assumes that East Juniata, the only other team with a win, does not pull a couple of upsets in the second half of the season.

Other teams with high hopes dashed, at least in part the result of key injuries, was Mount Carmel, now on a three-game losing streak after entering the season ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AA by Pennsylvania Football News (the Red Tornadoes have lost the services for a few games of standout linemen Mike Scicchitano and Eric Joraskie); defending Heartland Athletic Conference Division I champion Mifflinburg, which has yet to put starting running back/linebacker Michael Wiand on the field, and also lost running back Tanner Bingaman for the first four games; East Juniata, which, under first-year coach Simon Cameron lost several starters, including its best all-around athlete, David Brantley; and Shikellamy, which is still waiting to field the team that new coach Todd Tilford wanted to see open the season.

Here's hoping things go better in the second half.

n Assistant sports editor Harold Raker covers high school football for The Daily Item. Email comments to

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