By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — Just how dominant was Selinsgrove against Shamokin in their Heartland-I matchup Friday? The numbers kind of speak for themselves.
And with a big non-conference game versus Berwick looming next week, Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess was glad to see that his team is ready to take on the Bulldogs in what will be a state-wide televised contest.
But don’t ask any of Shamokin’s players whether or not Selinsgrove is ready for Berwick, because the Indians will be licking their wounds for a while after suffering a 42-13 defeat at Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field.
“It was a good bounce-back (from last week’s loss to Shikellamy). No question it was a good game and the kids performed well. I’m proud of them,” said Hess. “First of all, this (win) is a confidence-builder for our kids. And No. 2, it sets the stage for a big game next week and that’s how we’re looking at this.
“This is a game that’s going to be televised. A lot of people will be watching and it’s a big one for us,” added Hess. “We’re looking forward to the game. We’re ready to get on the field with a good Berwick team,” added Hess.
Selinsgrove (3-1, 2-1 HAC-I) held Shamokin (0-4, 0-3) to less than 150 yards of total offense on the night and only four first downs — the first one coming late in the third quarter.
The Seals defense also produced the first points of the game as John Daku tackled John Demsko in the end zone for a safety with barely two and a half minutes off the clock.
“That was big. Anytime you get a safety early in the game like that it’s a huge momentum swing in your favor,” said Hess.
The Seals just took off from there.
Conner Liesenfeld scored on short touchdown runs of 2 and 4 yards at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second to give the Seals a 16-0 lead.
Following an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown by Shamokin’s Shane Williams, Selinsgrove tacked on two more touchdowns before the half on an Angelo Martin 18-yard run and a 3-yard run by Zach Adams to lead 29-6.
After showing what they can do on the ground in the first half, the Seals opened up the passing game in the second half.
First, Ben Kahn caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Rapp early in the third quarter before Dylan Beaver had an 8-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth.
Rapp completed 14-of-20 passes in the game for 202 yards and no interceptions. As a matter of fact, Selinsgrove had no turnovers in the game, which was the first time this season the Seals had been able to do that.
“It was one of our goals not to turn the ball over, and I really wanted to redeem myself from last week’s loss because that was just awful,” said Rapp. “We needed a comeback from last week, and I think this will help us to move forward.
“We knew we could run the ball, but we also knew that Shamokin piles a lot of guys on the line,” added Rapp. “If we had time we would throw it. Our line did a great job and the receivers ran good routes.”
In addition to the 202 passing yards and no turnovers, Selinsgrove also racked up 187 yards on the ground. You can’t get more well-balanced than that.
“We tried to open things up a little bit there and get Rapp to throw the ball, and obviously our running game worked well,” said Hess. “Not turning the ball over is a big thing. The last three weeks we’ve had some turnovers at pretty bad times. Tonight we cleaned that up and that was a big emphasis this past week.
“Obviously we still have work to do. We saw a lot of things we need to clean up, especially when you have Berwick coming up,” added Hess. “But I think we found some things we can build on (Friday).”