Eagles-Indians: A classic matchup
When Line Mountain plays at Shamokin tonight, it will mark the first time the area schools, which share a geograpical boundary, have ever played each other in varsity football.
More than that though, it offers an intriguing, basic football matchup - Line Mountain's size against Shamokin's quickness.
The Eagles have eight starters back both ways, and feature such imposing upfront people as Garrett Kieffer (6-4, 270), and Chad Mace (6-4, 260), as well as smaller, but more experienced players such as Elijah Zablosky, Clint Riehl and Hunter Masser.
Shamokin is nowhere near as big upfront, but the Indians hope to counter the size disadvantage with quickness. Line Mountain head coach Rodney Knock says that quickness applies not only to Shamokin's skill players, but to its linemen as well.
"Up front, they're not very big but they have some speed," Knock says. "They really fire off the ball well and use their quickness of offset their lack of size."
And one player the Indians do have with good size is senior quarterback Tucker Yost, who has bulked up to 6-3, 215.
"Their quarterback is a big, bruising guy," Knock says. "We have to worry about him. He not only can throw the ball, but with that size, he's going to be a threat when he runs."
The two top likely ball carriers for the Indians, senior John Demsko, the returning rusher, and junior Preston Burns, who missed last season with a knee injury, are both smaller guys who will use their shiftiness and quickness to their advantage, Knock says.
"They definitely have some elusive skill players."
Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons. The Indians were 0-10 and have a 14-game losing streak, and Line Mountain had a 3-7 record.
Line Mountain's defense played very well in the Eagles' scrimmages, according to Knock, but a comparatively young offense was a little behind.
"Overall, I thought we played well," he says. "The defense played very well. Offensively, we saw a couple of things that we need to be a little more concerned about."
Shamokin heach coach Pat DiRienzo expects freshman CJ Reichard to start at quarterback for the Eagles, and said while his lack of playing time may initially be a plus for the Indians' defense, it may not turn out that way.
"He's a good athlete," DiRienzo says.
Knock says Line Mountain is healthy coming off the scrimmages.