District 4 Class 4A championship game
Selinsgrove at Jersey Shore
The Seals have wanted a second chance at the Bulldogs and assumed they would get it. I mean how could they not assume that. This is the seventh straight season the two teams have met in both the regular season and in the playoffs, along with the third time in four years they’ve played for the district title. Neither team is going to do anything to surprise the other in tonight’s contest. The big key for Selinsgrove is getting more of an offensive effort in this contest. Jersey Shore limited the Seals to just one first down. It felt like the Selinsgrove defense was on the field for the entire second half on a hot August evening. Tonight’s weather forecast is the exact opposite of a late August Friday night. The cold and wind might make it tougher to for Jersey Shore quarterback Tanner Lorson to throw the ball properly. This game comes down to whether the Seals can play better up front on both sides of the ball than they did in the first meeting.
Jersey Shore 21, Selinsgrove 20.
District 4 Class 3A semifinals
Warrior Run at Montoursville
This game was closer back in September than the final score of 28-7 indicated. The Defenders spent most of the second half within one score of the Warriors, before Montoursville pulled away late. Warrior Run’s defense — after a slow start against Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech — hasn’t allowed a point in the last six quarters. Lewisburg’s only TD last week came on a fumble return. The defensive line has been outstanding, and Ahmahd Keyes had the best game of his career against Lewisburg. The senior defensive end had 10 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles in the victory. Warrior Run’s defense will need that kind of performance if they want to pull off the upset. The Defenders defense played pretty well in the first game, holding the potent Warriors to nearly 300 yards. Where the issue came in that game was Warrior Run’s inability to generate any offense. Warrior Run had just 118 total yards, and its only score came on a Riley Daubert kickoff return to open the second half. I haven’t been right about the Defenders lately, so hopefully I’m wrong about this one.
Montoursville 28, Warrior Run 7.
Central Columbia at Loyalsock
The one bracket I didn’t think the seeds would hold was in Class 3A. Montoursville was a clear favorite, but I felt anybody from two through seven could have filled any of the three other spots in the semifinals. Turns out none of the games were close and the losing teams combined for zero offensive touchdowns. So heck, what do I know? That being said, this could be the most entertaining game of the weekend and could be anything from a great defensive battle to an offensive shootout. The way both teams have been playing lately I think the former is a better bet. The Lancers have been outstanding since losing to Selinsgrove, winning five straight games, and only a 29-21 victory over Warrior Run was even close. The Blue Jays did a great job of shutting down potent Danville for a second time this season and have found a spark in Jacob Reifer. The senior has been used a change-of-pace quarterback, generating rushing yards when Central Columbia has needed it most. I think Loyalsock’s defense is just a bit stouter than the Blue Jays.
Loyalsock 14, Central Columbia 10.
District 4 Class 2A semifinals
North Penn-Mansfield at Southern Columbia
It always seems when Wellsboro is set to head to Catawissa for a game with the Tigers, something gets in the way. This time the 9-1 Hornets got beat by a Panthers’ squad that had fallen to Wellsboro 21-7 the previous week. In fact, North Penn-Mansfield had dropped three straight games before the win over Wellsboro, including a loss to Towanda. Yes the same Towanda that lost to the Tigers 75-0 last week in the quarterfinals. I find it hard to believe the Tigers’ seniors are going to give less than their best effort in one of their final two games at Jim Roth Field.
Southern Columbia 42, North Penn-Mansfield 0.
Mount Carmel at Troy
Well, we know one thing. The Red Tornadoes are well-rested after getting a forfeit from Bloomsburg last week in the quarterfinals. The Trojans had some problems with Line Mountain before pulling away for a two-score win. You could win a bar bet if you asked who leads District 4 in rushing yards and touchdowns? Hint: it’s not a Southern Columbia Tiger. Troy sophomore Damien Landon has runs for 1,934 yards and 27 touchdowns, both district highs. Caleb Binford topped 1,000 yards in last week’s win over the Eagles. If you remember the strong Troy teams from the early part of this decade, including a district title team in 2013, it’s the same option offense with a big offense line. This offensive line is keyed by two-time all-stater Jack Imbt, who’s headed to Marist. This game is going to be a classic smash-mouth contest, but the Red Tornadoes have one big advantage — four-year starter Tom Reisinger’s ability to throw the football. The Trojans have thrown just 74 passes this season. Mount Carmel overcomes a long road trip to win.
Mount Carmel 28, Troy 14.