Shikellamy Sends Central Mountain into Mercy Rule before ending with a 35-7 win.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Eastern/WesternPAfootball Senior Writer
MILL HALL — The scoreboard at Don Malinak Stadium had the final at Shikellamy 35, Central Mountain 7, but for the first 36 minutes of the game, it was anybody’s for the taking.
The Braves held the 14-0 halftime lead on the strength of a pair of rushing touchdowns, a 3-yarder by Gabe Tilford and a 1-yard effort by Joe Folk.
That’s the way it stayed until the Braves went on the warpath to explode for 21 unanswered points in the fourth period to put the game into Mercy Rule with 6:09 remaining before the Wildcats finally got on the board when Cameron Ishler plunged in from one yard out with nine ticks of the clock to set the final.
Going into the game on the heels of a 35-0 shutout of Mount Carmel last week, Shikellamy head coach Todd Tilford was somewhat leary of a possible letdown by his club.
“We told them about it all week and I think we convinced them that they (Central Mountain) are a good football team,” said Tilford. “With a kid like Neff, they are going to be in every ball game. I thought we were playing well and it was scary because it never felt comfortable until we went up 21-0. It was a tight game and with a guy like Neff, he can just go the distance at any time. I think our kids did a good job of handling the bus ride by remaining focused. We just got a good all-around effort.”
Although the game left the Wildcats of coach James Renninger looking for their initial win of the campaign, the first-year head coach liked the way his players battled.
“I thought our kids fought really hard,” said Renninger. “Defensively they played their guts out because Shik has some really explosive athletes. Those two wing-backs can take it to the house at any given time. We had a couple of breakdowns in the second half, had some costly penalties and missed some tackles, but for our kids, it is a process. They (Shik)took Montoursville to the brink and Montoursville is a great team.”
Another factor that Tilford and his coaching staff were quite concerned about was the outstanding ability of do-everything Wildcat Justin Neff and the shifty Neff proved Tillford’s concern to be well-founded as he gave the Braves all kinds of problems for much of the game.
“We talked all week about containing him the best way we could because I don’t there are too many guys who can bring him down one-on-one,” said Tilford. “I have been coaching a for a long while now and I don’t ever remember a coach saying that you couldn’t kick off or punt to a certain player. He is that good.”
For the game, Neff finished with 69 yards rushing, 16 yards passing and 27 yards receiving.
“Justin is a great player and there are no two ways about it,” Renninger said. “He always plays so hard and he is always the focal point of every team the defends us. Our job as coaches is to come up with ways and other players so we can find some space for him. We have to do a better job of that because he plays his heart. He is just a great football player.”
Unlike the Wildcats, the Braves had more than one athlete step up in the win.
Gabe Tilford played his usual solid game on both sides of the ball and finished with 43 yards on nine carries and one touchdown plus a bunch of tackles on defense.
However, complementing Tilford on offense was a trio of backs who combined for 241 yards rushing in Joe Folk (96), Lemier Mitchell (80) and Pierson White (65). Folk also scored a pair of touchdowns for his fine game.
“We like to think that we have three or four guys who can make some plays,” said Tilford. “The last couple of years we kind of got away from a base wing-t team and with a wing-t you can’t really key on any one back. I like the balance we have in our running game I think that Tate (Krankoskie) can make some big plays when he gets a little more experience. We had the one bad decision, but I guess we have to live with that.”
Now 0-3, Renninger and his staff are hoping that they can come up with that elusive first win sooner rather than later.
“They have been working hard every week and they have remained positive,” said Renninger. “We are going to come back to work Monday and keep searching for that win.”
Shikellamy 7 7 0 21 — 35
Central Mt. 0 0 0 7 — 7
S — Gabe Tilford 3 run. (Dylan Snyder kick). 2:42
S — Joe Folk 1 run. (Snyder kick) 4:39
S — Josh Krieger 36 pass from Tate Kronkoskie. (Snyder kick) 11:52
S — David Munoz 1 run (Snyder kick) 9:05
S — Folk 56 run (Snyder kick) 6:08
CM — Cameron Ishler 1 run (Austyn Carson kick) :09
Team Statistics S CM
First Downs 18 12
Rushes-Yards 37-300 37-90
Passing Yards 112 75
Passing 6-12-1 5-23-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-36 4-30
Shik: Joe Folk 12-96, 2 TDs; Lemier Mitchell 9-80, Pierson White 4-65, Gabe Tilford 9-43, Evan Bingaman 1-9, Tate Krankoskie 1-6, David Munoz 1-1, 1 TD.
CM: Justin Neff 19-69, Cameron Ishler 12-17, 1 TD; Austyn Carson 2-10, Mahlik Houtz 1-minus 2, Tanner Weaver 3-minus 4.
Shik: Tate Krankoskie 6-12-1, 112 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception.
CM: Austyn Carson 4-10, 59 yards, 1 interception; Justin Neff 2-12, 16 yards, 1 interception, Asher Corl 0-1.
Shik: Josh Krieger 1-36, 1 TD; Hunter Dodge 2-30, Joe Folk 1-24, Gabe Tilford 1-12, Chris Tasker 1-10.
CM: Mahlik Houtz 1-30, Justin Neff 2-27, Zach Eck 2-16, Isaiah McCann 1-2.
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