Indians hope to recapture magic
It was a game Shamokin should have won.
The Indians trailed Selinsgrove by just a point in their regular season matchup before a bad snap on a punt was recovered by the Seals and turned into a 13-6 lead. Then after Shamokin scored to tie it, the Indians allowed the Seals to score with less than 15 seconds remaining in regulation.
All that resulted in Shamokin's third loss of the season already and set the tone for a series of close losses that turned a promising 1-1 start into a 2-8 debacle.
Still, the Indians persist and are on even standing with the Seals as far as records go; this is the playoffs, after all.
"I'm my own biggest critic and I'm not happy with the season," Foor said. "But I told our kids that when bad things happen, you normally don't get a second chance and we are getting that chance now. We're 0-0 and Selinsgrove is 0-0."
What's changed to allow Shamokin to swoop into Harold Bolig Stadium in Selinsgrove tonight and start the same type of run as the Indians had last year?
The Indians are the healthiest they've been all year. They'll still be without the services of Brody Young and Kevin Carsto, who both suffered season-ending injuries, but some of the dings the Indians' players had at the beginning of the season have had a chance to heal.
Last year, Tucker Yost seemed to play his best ball of the season in the playoffs. This year, the sophomore quarterback will need an even better run against a stronger field than last year.
During the regular season, Yost completed 95 of 187 passes for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns.
The ball control passing attack to Sean McLaughlin and Zach Tillett has allowed Yost to be careful and throw just five interceptions.
Shamokin did a good job of keeping Yost upright against the Seals' active 3-5 defense.
"Defensively, you just don't know where they're coming from," Foor said. "We know what to expect, but it's a matter of being patient and executing our blocking to give Tucker time to throw. We did a good job the last time of picking their blitzes up."
While Selinsgrove's defense looks the same, the Seals' offense is considerably different than it was in mid-September.
On offense, Selinsgrove starts a new quarterback and the Seals' leading rusher for the season didn't even play in the first game between the teams.
Isaiah Rapp took over for the Seals two weeks after Selinsgrove and Shamokin met on the Kemp Memorial Field turf. Since then, he's completed 37 of 76 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns to four interceptions.
Rapp's main backfield option has changed as well from Mike Walter, who had 89 yards against Shamokin, to freshman speedster Juvon Batts.
Batts didn't have a single carry against the Indians. He's more than made up for it in the games he's played for the Seals.
Batts has 96 carries for 540 yards and six touchdowns. He also has eight kickoff returns for 191 yards.
"Batts brings a whole new wrinkle to their offense," Foor said. "They're running the same plays but he can take it the distance any time he gets his hands on the ball.
"We really worked on pursuit angles this week in practice."
The move to a younger backfield combination has allowed one-time starters Tyler Krebs (at quarterback) and Walters to focus on defense. Krebs has 81 stops to lead the team and an interception. Walter isn't far behind with 55 tackles and two sacks.