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Area High School Football Games to watch in 2014

July 21, 2014 - Chris Masse
Sun-Gazette Area Games to Watch in 2014

Week 1äMontoursville at South Williamsport: The opening weekend's marquee game features a renewal of a terrific rivalry. Montoursville and South

are meeting for the first time in more than 20 years and even though this is the opener, it will have quite a big-game feel. South has reached the last two

District 4 Class A championships and has won 10 games in each of the last two seasons. A strong core returns from last year and South is hoping to make a

statement against a perennial Class AA title contender. Montoursville lost 18 seniors from last year's district semifinalist and 10-win team and will be eager to

show that it has not experienced a drop-off despite those losses. It is a measuring stick-game for both teams and also is the return of South lineman Sam Buck

was off to a great start in 2013 before tearing his ACL in Week 3 against CMVT. These rivals have won a combined 38 games the last two seasons.

Week 1äCentral Mountain at Williamsport: Both teams could use a win at Millionaire Stadium to spark what they hope are turnaround seasons.

Promising Williamsport quarterback Christian Diggs makes his first varsity start after drawing rave offseason reviews. Central Mountain has a new coach but

has a lot of good offensive players to replace. These two have played exciting games in the last two openers. Expect another thriller Aug. 29.

Week 1äLoyalsock at Mount Carmel: How great is opening night around here? This is the third outstanding game of the night. Loyalsock has won two

dramatic games over the Tornadoes and won for the first time ever in the Silver Bowl two years ago. The last two games have featured enough big plays to

make a video-game blush and this could have District 4 Class AA playoff ramifications. Loyalsock has used close wins over Mount Carmel to jump-start its last

two seasons and this is a matchup between the last two HAC-II champions. One of these teams starts the year on a big high.

Week 2äMuncy at Wellsboro: Muncy is one of several Class A teams hoping to take advantage of Southern Columbiaás move up to Class AA and capture a

championship. The Indians have a tough task in Week 2, going to the defending NTL Big School champions and trying to find a way to stop one of 2013ás most

prolific offenses. Wellsboro quarterback Mike Pietropola set a District 4 record with 39 touchdown passes last season and earned all-state honors. He and the

Hornets lost some good players but again should be a tough team to beat. Wellsboro too is hoping to make a run at a Class A championship so this game could

have big implications as the season progresses.

Week 3äDanville at Loyalsock: Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet does not have to worry about motivating his team for this game. In fact, he might have

to try and keep it from being too up. Danville has won four straight over Loyalsock in the last two seasons, including ending its year in the playoffs both times.

Last year especially hurt the Lancers as it lost two heart-breakers by nine combined points at Danville. Loyalsock watched a 21-7 first-half lead turn into a

28-21 loss in the district semfinals. Loyalsock is hoping to get a boulder off its collective shoulders in this one.

Week 4äMontoursville at Jersey Shore: Jersey Shore shocked the District 4 world last year when it went from 0-10 to becoming District 4 Class AAA

champions. The Bulldogs overcame a 2-6 start, beat the top two district seeds on the road and captured the program's first championship since 1997. And that

might have just been the start. Jersey Shore has an excellent nucleus back from last year and now knows that just about anything is possible. That includes

possibly beating Montoursville, something no Jersey Shore team has done since 1985. Jersey Shore has come close its last two times at home against

Montoursville and led 7-3 at halftime in last year's game before losing 31-14. Montoursville again has a measuring stick game in the seasonás first half and will

be trying to show that while some of the names have changed from last year, that the results will not.

Week 4äLoyalsock at South Williamsport: Give South coach Chris Eiswerth credit for helping South restart some great rivalries. Three weeks after his

Mounties host Montoursville, South welcomes Loyalsock. The rivals are colliding for the first time since 2007 and the Mounties again are hoping to show a

perennial area heavyweight what they are all about. This game is fun too because it features two of the stateás premier players on the same field. South

running back Dominick Bragalone is the reigning Class A Player of the Year and shattered area records with 3,286 yards and 47 touchdowns last year. Datres,

an all-state safety, dazzles at quarterback and threw for 1,490 yards and 14 touchdowns with just seven interceptions, while running for 1,165 yards and 18


Week 5äSouth Williamsport at Bloomsburg: This is an exciting game between teams that have played thrillers in season openers the last two years.

Week 5äDallas at Williamsport: The Millionaires dominated defensively against Dallas last year. A win here could be a springboard toward a strong second half.

Week 5äLewisburg at Central Mountain: The Green Dragons are on their third coach in four seasons and have to replace a lot from last year. They are

trying to reach the Class AA playoffs for a seventh straight season and getting a win here and earning the Class AAAA points that go with it would be big.

Week 6äBloomsburg at Muncy: The Indians are hoping to reach the playoffs for a third straight year and this would help in that pursuit. Muncy also is

seeking its first win over Bloomsburg since 2005 which also is the last year it reached the district championship. Muncy has some good size and the offensive

line will try making a big impact here.

Week 6äTroy at Wellsboro: While Troy captured the District 4 Class AA championship last year, the NTL title belonged to Wellsboro. The Green Hornets

thumped Troy 26-17 in Week 2 and are hoping to flex their NTL muscles again in this rematch.

Week 7äJersey Shore at Milton: Jersey Shore experienced a turning point in Milton last year. The Bulldogs overcame frequent deficits in one of the year's

most exciting games and won, 42-39. They never looked back, winning the next three weeks to and capturing the district championship. Milton has not forgot

that game and will be hoping to exact revenge. Doing so for the young Panthers, however, could be tough against the experienced and hungry Bulldogs.

Week 8äBloomsburg at Hughesville: Looking for a potential sleeper for a District 4 Class AA playoff berth? Look to Hughesville. The Spartans have some

exciting playmakers and lots of starters back from last year's team. First-year coach Dan Tucker is hoping to help Hughesville return to its winning ways after

consecutive 1-win seasons and the Spartans appear poised for a big turnaround. Hughesville led Bloomsburg until the fourth quarter last year and is hoping

to beat the Panthers for the first time since 2011.

Week 9äMontgomery at Muncy: Montgomery had 36 players sign up for this year's team, by far the most numbers they have had in the last three seasons.

Excitement is high and the Raiders have some solid players back from last year's team that nearly stunned Muncy before losing late, 19-6. Montgomery is

hoping to capture the Old Shoe Trophy for the first time since 2004.

Week 9äWyalusing at North Penn Mansfield: Wyalusing could be a sleeper, bringing back a lot of good players, including 1,400-yard rusher

Luke Jennings. North Penn Mansfield has the look of a potential District 4 Class A title contender, bringing back most of the starters from last year's 6-5 team.

Quarterback Bo Burleigh had one of the best seasons in North Penn history, throwing for 1,679 yards and throwing 22 touchdowns while Bryce Zaparzynski

ran for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns and linebacker Noah Corwin was a tackling machine.

Week 10äHughesville at Muncy: A playoff berth or two could be on the line here. Plus, these rivals live for this game. Hughesville won its only game in

Week 10 against Muncy last year. The Indians will be eager to erase those memories but Hughesville will be just as anxious to maintain its dominance in this


Week 10äWilliamsport at Wyoming Valley West: The Millionaires are seeking their first win over Valley West since 2002. They have struggled to be

competitive against the Spartans in recent years so a strong showing here could be signs of big-time progress and a potential sign of good things to come.

Week 10äLoyalsock at Montoursville: These rivals have played some outstanding games over the years and this annual grudge match usually has big

implications. A year ago, Loyalsock ended Montoursville's perfect season and won the HAC-III title when it defeated Montoursville, 14-10. Both teams could be

fighting for a playoff spot or playoff positioning and exciting playmakers will be all over the field on both sides. This game is as good as it gets.


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