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By Brian Hess
Sports Editor 

NB, C-K Alive in High School Football Postseason

Panthers in D-5 Title Game; Bulldogs in D-6 Quarters

 

November 7, 2019

Gary M. Baranec

Windber's Dylan Tomlinson goes up the middle and is brought down by Northern Bedford's Dalton Smith Saturday, Nov. 2, at Northern Bedford High School. The Black Panthers defeated Windber, 28-14, to advance to the District 5 Class 1A title game.

Northern Bedford and Claysburg-Kimmel both survived the first weekend of postseason action Nov. 1 and 2.

The second-seeded Black Panthers (8-3) have their sights fixed on their first District 5 Class 1A title since 2017, and second since 1995, when they travel to Hollidaysburg on Friday, Nov. 8, to tackle rival and top-seeded Tussey Mountain (10-1). Kickoff at Tiger Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs (8-3), meanwhile, seeded fifth, will travel to fourth-seeded Saltsburg (7-3) for a District 6 Class A quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9.

NB vs. Tussey

Friday's matchup between Northern Bedford and Tussey Mountain will be the second meeting this season between the two squads. The Titans earned a hard-fought 32-22 home victory Sept. 13.

Since that game, Northern Bedford has won six of its last seven games, including the last five. The Black Panthers' lone loss in that stretch was to Bellwood-Antis, 20-13, on Sept. 27.

Tussey Mountain's only loos of the season was to Bellwood-Antis on Oct. 18, 20-0.

Northern Bedford earned a spot in the district title game with a 28-14 victory over third-seeded Windber on Nov. 2. Tussey Mountain dropped fourth-seeded Shade, 48-20, on Nov. 1.

"We are really excited about the opportunity to play Tussey Mountain for a district championship," Northern Bedford coach Garry Black said. "They are one of our rivals, so this will be a fun atmosphere that both communities can be excited about. We played in Week 4 and it was a great football game with a championship type atmosphere, so that was great preparation for this week."

Tussey Mountain is averaging 35.4 points per game to Northern Bedford's average of 34.4. The Titans have outscored their opponents 389-151, while the Black Panthers have a 378-173 scoring edge against their foes.

Tussey Mountain has averaged 450.1 total yards per game, while Northern Bedford enters with an average of 347 total yards per game.

Junior Kaden Lucko leads the Titan ground game that is averaging 345.6 rushing yards per game. Lucko is averaging 129.3 yards per outing, having run for 1,422 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

Junior Dalton Smith is the workhorse for the Black Panther rushing attack, averaging 123.2 yards per game. He has run for 1,355 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Northern Bedford as a team is averaging 211.2 rushing yards per game.

Junior Thad Leidy has thrown for 127.7 yards per game, helping Northern Bedford to an average of 135.8 passing yards per game. Leidy has thrown for 1,405 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. Junior Cadin Ebersole is the team's leading receiver with 26 receptions for 415 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Tussey Mountain senior Matthew Leonard is averaging 104.5 passing yards per game. He has thrown for 1,149 passing yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions this year. Senior Tyler Rhodes is the Titans' leading receiver with 33 catches for 555 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, Tussey Mountain has 29 quarterback sacks in 2019. Junior Chad Morningstar has 10 of those sacks.

Northern Bedford has 14 quarterback sacks this season, led by senior Lucas Wentz's four.

"Tussey runs the ball well," Black said. "They have a big, physical line and they have multiple backs who can hurt you from anywhere on the field. They are also very efficient when it comes to passing the ball. We have to play assignment football and limit big plays against us.

"Defensively, they are very tough also. Their offensive line pretty much becomes their defensive line and their backs pretty much become their linebackers, so they are tough and physical. We have to make sure that we maintain blocks and take care of the football on offense. The game could hinge on special teams, so we have to spend some time focusing on that area of the game this week."

Friday's winner will advance to the first round PIAA playoffs to be played Nov. 15 or Nov. 16 against the champion from District 10.

"Games like this are the reason you sign up to play this great game," Black said. No matter what happens, Friday night will be an experience that these young men and their communities won't soon forget. That's pretty special."

C-K vs. Saltsburg

C-K will be playing its second Heritage Conference opponent in as many weeks. The Bulldogs defeated 12th-seeded Penns Manor in the first round of the district playoffs, 45-8, Nov. 1 at Bulldog Stadium. Saltsburg was a 34-20 victory over Penns Manor in the regular season on Sept. 20.

Following a 35-6 defeat to Northern Bedford on Oct. 11, C-K has won its last three games. The Bulldogs are averaging 28.2 points per game and have outscored their opponents 338-234.

Saltsburg, which started 2-2, has won five of its last six games. The only loss was 64-30 to Purchase Line on Oct. 18.

The Trojans are averaging 30.2 points per game, having outscored their foes 302-289.

"Going into this Saturday's matchup with Saltsburg, they have a team similar to ours," C-K coach Matt Bilchak said. "They can throw the ball and put a lot of points on the board."

C-K is averaging 285 total yards per game – 155.5 on the ground and 129.5 through the air.

Gary M. Baranec

Claysburg-Kimmel's Seth Musselman drags Penn'' Manor's Dimitri Lieb into the end zone Friday to score Claysburg's first touchdown of the night on Nov. 2 at Claysburg High School. C-K advanced to the District 6 Class 1A quarterfinals with the win.

Senior Seth Musselman leads the Bulldogs with 638 rushing yards and has run for seven touchdowns.

Junior Corey Chamberlain has thrown for 1,419 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.

Three Bulldogs each have more than 300 receiving yards this season – senior Kobe Harr (347 receiving yards and six touchdowns), junior Preston Bush (317, four) and senior Zach Claycomb (312, four).

Defensively, the Bulldogs have 16.5 quarterback sacks this season. Senior Cade Keithley has five quarterback sacks and senior Levi Brown 4.5.

Saturday's winner will match up with the winner of Friday's game between top-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and eighth-seeded Bishop McCort Catholic.

"For us to be successful this week, we need to control the clock and keep the ball away from their play makers. If we can continue limiting penalties, turnovers and playing with good technique, I am confident we can have success in a hostile environment," Bilchak said.

 

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