Ironmen blank Indians
DANVILLE – It was a gutsy performance by Coach Jim Keiser’s defense.
The Ironmen – who entered the game allowing just over 18 points per game on the season – were able to shut down the visiting Shamokin Indian offense in a 17-0 shutout in District 4 Class 3A semifinal playoff action Saturday evening in Danville.
The shutout was the second on the season for the stout Danville defense. The team also shut out Milton in a week 5 matchup back in September.
“That’s probably one of the best defensive game’s we’ve had,” stated senior safety/tight end Shane Kozick. “We only allowed 142 total yards. We came out ready. We set the tone early and we were prepared for everything (Shamokin) had.”
Helping lead the defense to a shutout wasn’t the only big impact the senior had on the game, as he also hauled in a pair of first quarter touchdown receptions for the only two touchdowns scored by either team in the game.
Kozick’s two touchdowns gave the Ironmen an early cushion and helped the team get in position to pound the run in the second half.
Kozick scored the game’s opening touchdown on Danville’s third drive of the game. After a play-action fake from Danville quarterback KJ Riley, Kozick found himself behind the defense as he hauled in a lob pass from the sophomore QB.
On Danville’s next drive Kozick scored again when Riley hit him on a crossing route in the middle of the field. Kozick took off up the field for a 27-yard catch-and-run score to give Danville a 14-0 advantage.
As the second half rolled around, the Danville offense attempted to take control of the game.
“The second half game plan was different for us,” Stated Kozick. “We were just trying to choke the clock.”
The Danville offense did so, as the team ended up rushing the ball 47 times for 206 yards.
Despite being shut out Shamokin had its chances. The Indians almost flipped the game’s momentum late in the first half, but the Danville defense stood strong as it had all night and erased the scoring opportunity.
Down 14-0, Shamokin quarterback Collin Bowers began the drive by dropping back and hitting tight end Matt Knowles for a 30-yard gain. The Indians cracked off a few more big plays, namely an 8-yard run by Max Madden and an 11-yard run by Bowers.
However, facing a fourth-and-1 at the Danville 21-yard line, Bowers handed off to Madden and the freshman back was stuffed behind the line for a Danville turnover on downs.
“That was a huge stop for us late in the first half,” said Coach Keiser. “Who knows what happens if they score there and then come out with possession of the ball in the second half. Getting them stopped there was a huge play in the game.”
Shamokin nearly scored again on the team’s second possession of the second half. After taking over with great field position at its own 47-yard line, junior running back Bryson James ripped off a 24-yard run to put the Indians at the Danville 29-yard line. Five plays later the Indians faced a fourth-and-9 in a 17-0 hole. Bowers launched a ball toward the endzone where senior Nate Miller came down with it out of bounds to force a turnover on downs.
“(Bowers) made a nice throw there,” Keiser said. “It was just a little bit too long. The receiver came down with his foot right on the white line.”
The final Danville defensive stand came with 4:22 remaining in the game. Bowers dropped back to throw again and launched a deep ball down the middle of the field that hit his receiver in the hands and fell to the turf.
In all, the Danville secondary allowed just a single completed pass in the game, forcing Bowers to go 1-for-10 passing for 30 yards.
The Danville secondary also came up with a pair of interceptions, both by senior cornerback Austin Millar.
On offense the Ironmen racked up a total of 351 yards.
Though star senior wideout Peyton Persing was bottled up by the Shamokin defense, he still combined to supply over 100 yards of offense for the Ironmen. Persing led the team in rushing with 89 yards on 16 carries and added a pair of receptions for 19 yards.
“(Shamokin) started to key in on (Persing) and that opened up some other routes for us,” said Kozick. “KJ (Riley) did a great job finding it and the coaches did a great job calling plays.
Danville advances to the District 4 Class 3A championship game this coming Friday where the team will host Montoursville (10-2). The Warriors will likely be looking for payback after the Ironmen trounced them in Week 7 in a 52-26 Danville home victory.
Shamokin’s season came to an end as Henry Hynoski finished with a 6-6 overall record in his inaugural season at the helm of the Shamokin program.
Danville 17, Shamokin 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Shamokin0 0 0 0 — 0
Danville14 0 3 0 — 17
D—Shane Kozick 12-yard reception from KJ Riley (Peyton Riley PAT Good), 6:08.
D—Kozick 27-yard reception from K. Riley, 3:26.
D—S. Kozick 33-yard field goal, 5:16.
S—Nate Schon 13-yard run (Ruhl PAT Good), 0:35.
First downs 7 16
Total yards 142 351
Rushes-yards 30-112 47-206
Yards passing 30 145
RUSHING—Shamokin: Bryson James 9-61, Max Madden 6-26, Mark Wetzel 3-13, Nate Miller 2-9, Collin Bowers 10-3. Danville: Peyton Persing 16-89, Joey Harris 14-49, Eric Sees 5-44, Austin Millar 7-31, Kozick 1-7, TEAM 2-(-2), K. Riley 2-(-12).
PASSING—Shamokin: Bowers 1-10 30 yds, 2 INT. Danville: K. Riley 10-17 145 yds, 2 TD.
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