By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
COAL TOWNSHIP —
While Selinsgrove was playing its game with rival Shikellamy on Monday night, the coaches for this week’s opponent, having played three nights earlier, were on hand to watch Selinsgrove.
The Seals won 37-0, but have to strap it up again after three days later when they visit Shamokin for a Heartland Athletic Conference Division I game.
“It does cut down your preparation time and Shamokin has certain things they do very well that we want to prepare for,” Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said.
But Hess said, “We spend a lot of time breaking down film and working on basic fundamentals. It really doesn’t take that mental preparation time away from us.”
Hess said Shamokin was willing to move the game back a day, but the Seals thought it better to keep it on schedule.
Last season, the Shamokin game, also at Kemp Memorial Stadium, was the Seals’ lone win. That Shamokin team recovered with a strong second half and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals.
“They are better than they were last year,” Hess said. “From the time we played them until the time they finished in the state quarterfinal they became a different football team. They really got their stuff together and were fundamentally sound.”
Hess said he sees a continuation of that success in this year’s Shamokin team.
“They are a force to be reckoned with. I have a lot of respect for Dan Foor and I think he’s got that team moving in the right direction. The two losses they had were to two pretty good football teams (Pottsville and Danville),” Hess said.
They are a physically tough football team and (fullback Draven) Miller is a tough runner and they play physical. They are tough on the line of scrimmage.”
The Indians, hit hard by injuries this season, lost another starter, 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior tight end Kevin Carsto, for the season from injuries sustained early in last week’s game. Several other players were questionable at mid-week.
“We lost a good one in Kevin Carsto Friday night,” Foor said, but noted that injured senior linebacker/tight end Andrew Hasuga is close to returning to the field, and could get a few snaps this week.
Foor said he doesn’t worry about what happened last year, but, he added that Selinsgrove, even in going 1-9, played good defense, and are solid on that side of the ball again this season.
“They play defense so well. They are so aggressive and you just don’t know where they’re coming from,” he said.
But Foor was also impressed Monday night with the Selinsgrove offense. “(Quarterback Tyler Krebs) really threw the ball well and that is going to keep teams off balance, with the way he’s throwing and the way they’re capable of running the ball now,” he said.
Foor also said the Seals have exceptional athletes this year, not just at a couple positions, but all over the field. He said the linebackers can run as can the wide receivers and running backs and there are very athletic players in the secondary.
“They just have a bunch of good athletes on the field for them on both sides of the ball,” he said.
Hess believes the Indians have some as well, noting that junior fullback Draven Miller is a tough runner and sophomore quarterback Tucker Yost is efficient, having completed more than half his passes on the year (he has completed 28-of-55 for 352 yards and 2 TDs).
“They have more yards throwing than we do, and he has only thrown one interception in three games. He is someone we have to be concerned about and they have some kids that can catch the ball,” Hess said.
Aside from the personnel, Foor said his biggest concern this week is the mental mistakes that the Indians have been making, such as jumping offsides and not taking care of the ball.
“The little things right now are hurting us on offense because our defense has been playing real solid. I don’t want to say it’s as simple as that, because Selinsgrove presents some different challenges, but, for us, we’ve got to seriously take care of the little things.”
He said turnovers and penalties, which contributed to the loss to Danville, are drive-breakers “and that’s what’s really been hurting us; we’ve really got to clean that up.”