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Shamokin over Lewisburg

Written by: on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


SHAMOKIN – There is an undeniable excitement around the Shamokin football program that has not existed in quite a while. That excitement has been building ever since the Indians’ thrilling comeback win back in Week 1 against Milton.

And although the Indians dropped games to North Schuylkill and Southern Columbia, who are a combined 10-0, since then, and also topped an 0-5 Central Mountain team, those associated with Shamokin have still been much more optimistic about their team’s prospects that most in recent years.

That level of optimism and excitement likely reached a whole different level with Friday’s convincing 27-7 upset over Lewisburg. The Green Dragons had entered the game with a 3-1 record, tied with the Indians for first place in the PHAC I at 2-0, and with a convincing win of their own on their resume over perennial District 4 4A contender Selinsgrove, as well as wins over Milton and Central Mountain, much like the Indians.

But like most things in sports, the resume meant nothing once the game kicked off, and Shamokin took advantage of two early interception returns for touchdowns and never looked back, scoring all the points they would need to win the game before they even had an offensive possession.

“Each week, everyone has a chance to win and we like proving doubters wrong,” said Shamokin coach Henry Hynoski. “This was an important game and it puts us on top of our division (PHAC I) and gives us some great momentum as we head into the second half of the season and it puts us in a good spot hopefully for playoffs moving forward, so we just need to carry this momentum into next week.

“There are still some areas we can improve in. We just want to get that tough guy mentality back that Shamokin always had and we’re definitely on our way there.”

Brycen James scored three touchdowns for the Indians, running for two on 98 yards and getting the other on one of those two early interception returns. He also recovered a fumble later in the first half that further stunned what appeared to be an already shell-shocked Green Dragon squad.

Lewisburg had what looked like promising drives on both of its first two possessions before Indians got the two pick 6’s. They had picked up two first downs on their first drive before James picked off Nick Shedleski and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown on the seventh play of the drive. The next drive also ended with an interception return on the seventh play, this one by Joe Masser for 43 yards.

“From an energy standpoint, getting those two interceptions early was huge,” said Hynoski. “That set the stage for this game and then to come back on our second play on offense with another touchdown was huge.

“We shot ourselves in the foot early. Two pick 6’s and a fumble inside the 10 will cause anyone to lose a game,” said Lewisburg coach Marc Persing. “We also didn’t tackle well on defense. We prepared like we did for any other Friday, and I’m not sure if the kids are starting to feel a little overconfident but we’re going to bring them back down to earth on Monday.”

The Green Dragons did managed to briefly rebound after the second interception return as they put together a 14-play, 84-yard drive, which featured seven rushes by Max Moyers and ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Spaulding to Ethan Dominick to cut the Shamokin lead to 13-7.

But the Indians seized the momentum right back in just :22, as on their first official offensive play of the night following a defensive pass interference penalty, James bounced outside and got loose for a 55-yard touchdown run to put Shamokin up 20-7, despite and over 10-minute disadvantage in the time of possession at that point in the game.

From that point, Lewisburg would only get close to the end zone once more, and that drive ended in a fumble. The Green Dragons’ next drive went three-and-out, and Shamokin took over at its own 40 early in the second quarter. From there, the Indians put together their own long drive, this one going 15 plays and nearly six minutes, capped by James’ second touchdown of the game to go up 27-7.

That would be all of the scoring for the evening, as the Green Dragons fumbled away a chance to score on the Shamokin 5 on their next drive, and would advance no further than the Shamokin 31 for the rest of the game. Lewisburg actually outgained Shamokin 326-202, as Shamokin only had 67 yards in the second half and also had all 80 of its penalty yards in the second half, which featured a combined six punts, including four by the Indians, and Shamokin stopping Lewisburg three times on downs as neither team could get much going. But the Green Dragons’ three first half turnovers proved impossible to overcome.

Although Moyers had another solid night on the ground for the Green Dragons with 136 yards on 27 carries, despite leaving the game with a hamstring tweak in the second quarter only to return in the second half, and the rushing yards were nearly even for both teams, it was Shamokin that won the battle up front on both sides.

“Hats off to Coach Hynoski and his defensive staff. They scouted us pretty well and they beat us up up front,” said Persing. “I told the kids this week that this may be the only team up front that’s as big as us physically. They matched us size for size and won the line of scrimmage and that’s what typically wins a football game.”

“That’s the name of football right there. If you win the battles up front and get penetration on defense, knock them back on the offensive line it makes things a lot easier,” said Hynoski.

Shamokin will have an opportunity to make another statement next week and further take control of the PHAC I when it travels to Jersey Shore (2-3), another perennial District 4 4A contender in recent years. Lewisburg will look to rebound when it travels to Bloomsburg (3-2).

Shamokin 27, Lewisburg 7
Lewisburg (3-2)        7    0    0    0 –   7
Shamokin (3-2)       20    7    0    0 –  27

First quarter
9:22 – (S) Brycen James 54-yard interception return (Jameson Kramer kick)
6:38 – (S) Joe Masser 43-yard interception return (kick failed)
1:00 – (L) Ethan Dominck 21-yard pass from Ethan Spaulding (Dakotah Snyder kick), 14-84, 5:38
:38 – (S) Brycen James 55-yard run (Kramer kick), 1-70, :22

Second quarter
6:04 – (S) Brycen James 1-yard run (Kramer kick), 15-60, 5:41

L                    S
First downs                               16                  13
Rushes-net yards                  42-163           37-166
Passing yardage                     163                  36
Passing                               12-30-1-2        5-11-0-1
Fumbles-lost                            2-1                 5-0
Penalties-yards                       4-40               7-80

RUSHING: Lewisburg: Max Moyers (27-136), Ethan Dominick (6-18), Ethan Spaulding (4-12), Nick Shedleski (4-(-3)), Draven Doebler (1-0); Shamokin: Brycen James (19-98-2), Collin Bowers (8-66), Mark Wetzel (5-3), Max Madden (3-0), Matt Schiccatano (2-(-1))
PASSING: Lewisburg: Nick Shedleski (10-26-134-0-2), Ethan Spaulding (2-4-29-1-0); Shamokin: Collin Bowers (5-10-36-0-1), TEAM (0-1-0-0-0)
RECEIVING: Lewisburg: Romale Brown (5-76), Ethan Dominick (3-70-1), Andrew Ramirez (2-2), Ronald Lentz (1-9), Brett Newcomb (1-6); Shamokin: Mark Wetzel (1-16), Brycen James (1-9), Joe Masser (1-6), Jahleke West (1-5), Matt Schiccatano (1-0)

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