Muncy avenges season losses to win 2nd district title in 3 years
CANTON – Muncy players readily label themselves crazy. They proved it following Saturday’s District 4 Class A championship game, sliding into cold mud puddles.
Forget the frigid temperatures and gusty winds. This was a fitting celebration. Maybe these Indians are a little crazy.
But they also are mighty good. And now they are District 4’s best Class A team.
Christian Good blocked a punt out of the end zone for a second-quarter safety, Mike Kustanbauter ignited a dominant defense and Kolby Moyer scored a touchdown as Muncy captured its second district championship in three years, defeating top-seeded Canton, 9-7 at Miller A. Moyer Stadium.
“We’re Muncy and we’re a bunch of crazy kids. Playing in the mud today we were so fired up. I’ve never seen us that fired up in warm-ups,” two-way starter Dylan Wilt said. “All the work we put in during the summer, all the guys coming into the weight room and those endless hours paid off. To come out on top in our senior year is just the best feeling ever.”
Muncy (9-3) won its third straight game and will play District 3 champion Halifax in the state tournament’s opening round Friday at West Perry High School. The Indians also have their most wins in a season during the 21st century and became the first Class A team that defeated Canton (10-2).
Muncy started the season 5-0, but an 18-0 loss at Canton started a stretch in which it lost three of four games. Following a Week 9 loss at Sayre, the team gathered together and labeled the remaining of its season “The Redemption Tour.”
It started by rallying past Hughesville for its first win against its rival since 2012. Muncy next exacted revenge on Sayre, downing it, 19-7 in the semifinals. And now the tour is complete.
“When we went 6-3 we stayed on the kids. They looked at the schedule, they looked at the standings and we said our season is not over. We have to get through these last couple games and get No. 8 (Coleman Good) back in the lineup and we dare any team to beat us twice and it showed in the playoffs.”
“It’s a really great feeling. We were able to come out here against a really great team and pull it out,” two-way lineman Donvoan Diehl said. “A lot of us have been in this situation before. We needed to take it from the last game to this one and do what we had to do.”
That meant owning the line of scrimmage for a second straight week. The defense surrendered just 101 yards, including 35 rushing yards on 22 carries. Conversely, the offensive line helped Muncy pile up yards and burn clock throughout the first half.
Muncy held the ball for 17 minutes during the opening half, outgaining Canton 188-39 and running 23 more plays. Diehl, Dakota Hauesien, Coty Steele, James Yordy and Josiah Meza blew defenders off the ball during a 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive that Moyer capped with a 1-yard touchdown run, giving Muncy a 7-0 lead.
Moyer made some excellent throws on the move. Including a 26 third-down pass to Wilt that extended the drive. Coleman Good (75 yards) and Ty Nixon (57 yards) both had more than 50 first-half yards and both ripped off big runs, setting the stage for Moyer’s score.
“They (the linemen) lost their way a little bit at the middle of the season and we went back to basics, firing low and hard,” Tetreault said. “Our kids decided it’s time to eat. They love that mantra and it was great to see them clicking.”
As much as Muncy dominated the opening half statistically, it appeared Canton might get to halftime trailing by just seven after it recovered a fumble at its 9-yard line late in the first half. Instead, Christian Good made one of the game’s biggest plays, busting through the line and blocking the punt through the end zone and making it a two-score game.
Nate Palmatier blocked a fourth-quarter punt and Muncy threatened a few times in the second half, but Good’s play provided enough.
The defense saw to that. Hauesien, Steele, Gavyn Eisenhowser, Mason Hillman and Cael Hembury shined up front, bottling up the run, pressuring the passer and opening linebackers to make plays. Kustanbauter swarmed all over the field, consistently blowing up plays and the secondary provided lock-down coverage with Wilt and Christian Good intercepting fourth-quarter passes.
“Our game plan going in was to try and shut down the run game. If we did that we would be good to go and that’s exactly what happened. Our front line did their job and made it happen,” Coleman Good said. “It’s a lot of fun. We had a lot of chances to make some big plays and thankfully we came up big on some of those situations. We had guys all over the field making big plays at key times. It’s great to see everyone joining in and making big plays.”
Canton played in its first district final since 1997 and its 10 wins are its most in more than 20 years. The Warriors were a second-half team throughout the season, rallying for fourth-quarter wins against Towanda, Wellsboro and Troy.
It looked like Canton might be poised for another dramatic comeback when Uriah Baillie hit Dennis Saar with a 34-yard pass late in the third quarter. Levi Gaiotti scored from 1 yard out a play later as Canton cut the deficit to 9-7.
While the Warrior defense, led by Gaiotti’s three tackles for loss, repeatedly made big plays throughout the second half, the Muncy defense dropped the hammer and stopped the comeback from there. Wilt and Good ended fourth-quarter series with their interceptions and Muncy forced two punts before forcing three straight incompletions to clinch the championship.
“We have come out the past two games very hyped and energetic. That’s translated into how we’ve played,” Diehl said. “It’s just a great feeling to have it come down to the final seconds and win the championship.”