By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — The Selinsgrove football team learned a hard lesson last Friday night.
The good news is time is short from the Seals’ 14-7 loss to Shikellamy to this week’s contest.
“If it’s going to happen, it’s certainly better for it to happen in Week 3,” Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said. “It’s not something you want to happen in Week 12.”
The Braves entered the contest at 0-2 and an undefeated Selinsgrove team looked at Shikellamy’s record and didn’t notice that mistakes hid a team certainly capable of beating the Seals.
“We weren’t mentally prepared. You could tell all week and the kids tried to put it together a couple of hours before the game,” Hess said. “It was too late by that point.
“You have to hand it to the Shik kids, they beat us.”
The Seals get a chance to wipe that taste out of their mouths Friday night when they host Shamokin in a Heartland Athletic Conference-Division I matchup.
After the loss to the Braves, Hess and the Seals coaching staff went back to basics this week in practice.
“When you have a mental letdown like that, the first thing that goes is fundamentals. You start to leave your feet to make a tackle,” Hess said. “You get too high in your blocks. Your feet don’t get set and throws go high. Your patterns get sloppy.”
Needless to say neither Monday’s film work nor Tuesday’s practice were very pleasant for Selinsgrove.
“We looked at the film closely and picked out every mistake,” Hess said. “Then we spent all practice on Tuesday correcting those mistakes. We did nothing but fundamentals work.”
Another costly result of the loss to the Braves is that Selinsgrove is going to need some help to win the HAC-I title.
“If we’re fortunate to win the rest of our games and we get to that Danville game at the end of the year, at best we can only tie for the league title now,” Hess said. “We’re going to need some help.”
Friday night’s opponent, Shamokin, enters the contest with an 0-3 record, 0-2 HAC-II, but hung close with Danville before falling 28-7.
Under first-year coach Yaacov Yisrael, the Indians have moved to an option attack and it’s not something the Seals have seen very often.
“We don’t have a whole lot of time to learn how to defend the option,” Hess said.
The Indians also have a decent passing attack with receiver Sean McLaughlin. The senior wide out has 15 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown this season.
However the bigger concern to Hess and his coaching staff is the different style of defense that Shamokin plays.
“They play an odd front like we’ve seen the first three weeks, but they walk the outside linebackers up to the line,” Hess said. “It can cause some problems. Our line will have to be on their toes and be alert and think on their feet.”