By The Daily Item
Mount Carmel ended its three-game losing streak on Friday, tossing its hat right back into the District 4 Class AA playoff race with a 20-point win over previously unbeaten Central Columbia.
The Red Tornadoes' run defense, torched the last three weeks in losses to Southern Columbia, Loyalsock and Montoursville, held Central Columbia to minus-seven yards rushing on 19 carries.
After a tight first half, the Red Tornadoes took the ground to dominate the final two quarters. Mount Carmel, without the services of record-breaking tailback Luke Klingerman who sat out, got 195 yards rushing and three scores from junior quarterback Zach Wasilewski.
Wasilewski, who entered the game with 178 yards and three TDs rushing in the first five games, had TD runs of 20, 20 and 57 yards in the final two quarters to double his season rushing total in 24 minutes.
HONORED: About 20 members of Danville's unbeaten 1962 team were honored on Friday night prior to Danville's Homecoming game with Jersey Shore, along with the team's head coach, Jay Livziey.
The team was recognized for the 50th anniversary of their 11-0 SVC championship team. The closest game for the Ironmen that season came when they edged Sunbury 14-13 in the season opener. The 11 wins that season was tied for the school record until the 2010 Danville team went 12-1.
Among the members of the 1962 team were two of Danville's five Big 33 players, Larry Rudy (1962) and Bob Marks (1963); Jack Curry, who was Penn State's all-time leading receiver after graduating from Penn State, and long-time college football coach Greg Williams.
NEARLY PERFECT: It's is impossible to play a perfect football, any coach will tell you that. Yet Danville came pretty darn close on Friday night.
Quarterback Weston Baylor completed just two passes, but both went for touchdowns, one to Bret Berg and one to Cale Rice.
In addition, the Ironmen did not commit a turnover and also did not a commit a penalty in their HAC-I victory over Jersey Shore.
FAST FRESHMAN: Selinsgrove freshman tailback Juvon Batts has surprised and flustered opposing defensive coordinators with his electrifying runs as well as kick and punt returns.
It didn't take the Southern Columbia brain trust long Friday night to realize that, if they allowed Batts to continue what he was doing early in the game, they could have a difficult time putting the Seals away.
With Batts hauling the pigskin on kicks and punts, the Seals usually started their offense in good field position.
It was kick returns by the 5-foot-6, 156-pound Batts that helped set up the Seals' first two touchdowns as Selinsgrove was matching the unbeaten Tigers touchdown for touchdown.
He returned the first kickoff, after Southern's first TD, from the 3-yard line to the 35 where he was tackled by fellow freshman Blake Marks, possibly preventing Batts from taking it to the house.
On the ensuing scoring drive, Batts picked up 30 yards on six carries, including an exciting 15-yard gain when he seemed trapped in the backfield, but juked a would-be tackler and another where he spun out of a tackle in the backfield and picked up 13. Southern's Joe Kleman made a TD-saving tackle at the Tigers' 6. The Seals scored on the first of two senior fullback Mike Walter TDs to tie it at 7-7.
Southern went back on top 14-7 on the next series, but the Seals, again helped by Batts, tied it at 14-all, on a 5-yard run by sophomore fullback Zach Adams. This time, Batts took the Luke Rarig kickoff at his own 1, headed upfield and toward the left sideline, then back to the center and was again one defender short of a 99-yard TD run. This time Nate Hunter made the saving tackle at the Southern 37.
Two kick returns: 94 yards. After that, zilch.
Southern scored again (the Tigers would score on their first six possessions) to go up 21-14, and Rarig's next kickoff bounced into the end zone and the rest of them were booted away from Batts.
In addition, the Tigers virtually took Batts out of the running game, bringing safeties up with the linebackers to make sure they got enough hats on the elusive freshman.
Batts had 41 yards on his first nine carries and just five rushes for four yards the rest of the way.
GOOD START: Although his final numbers against the tough Southern defense were not impressive, sophomore quarterback Isaiah Rapp showed lots of poise in his first career start. Although under a lot of pressure from the Tigers, Rapp almost always got the pass away, and got sacked only twice, both in the second half. He was the victim of a few drops, but he had four completions for double-digit yards (16, 10, 10, 26) and he spread the ball around to five different receivers.
Rapp got the start in place of senior Tyler Krebs, who is also the starting safety and punter. Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess said earlier in the week the switch was made to get fewer two-way starters on the field.
WORKING HARD, ENJOYING IT MORE: Southern Columbia junior fullback Adam Feudale was a real thorn in the side of the Selinsgrove defense Friday night. He continually broke free of tackles when it seemed like he was stopped, using his leg strength and quickness, as well as his patience to follow his blockers.
"I'm waiting for the blocks, but if someone hits me in the back, I'm going to do whatever I can to off of it and keep running," he said.
Feudale admitted it is those longer runs when he breaks free of tackles are the most satisfying. "Those runs mean more because you have to really work for it. It makes you feel good when you get it."
Southern coach Jim Roth noticed the effort from Feudale and the other backs. "How many yards did we get tonight after the first hit? That's the desire the kids have been running with all year," he said.
PRAISE FOR THE BIG GUYS: Roth said, "Our offensive line deserves a lot of the credit, too. It's not an easy defense to block," he said of the Seals' aggressive 3-5. "There were two things we were looking at tonight: how well are we going to do against a defense that can play at this level, and handle the kind of scheme that they run. They really come after you."