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Signs of growth for West Shamokin football

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By William Whalen
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011

West Shamokin's losing streak has reached 38 games, but there are reasons for optimism.

In the Wolves' 40-14 loss at Allegheny Conference foe Summit Academy on Saturday, freshman running back Zac Horner had his second 100-yard rushing game, gaining 121 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns. And in the second half, the Wolves put together two productive drives that could give them the confidence to break the long skid.

The Wolves (0-4, 0-2), who hadn't scored in double figures since Week 1 of 2010, are a loss shy of matching the WPIAL's longest losing streak, set by Geibel from 1996 to 2000.

"They are getting better," Summit Academy coach Steve Scherer said. "We were there at one time. I understand how (coach Josh Gilliland) feels and what he's going through."

Down 16 points at halftime, West Shamokin forced Summit Academy (2-2, 2-0) to punt on the opening drive of the third quarter. The offense moved the ball with purpose: On fourth-and-14, Horner rumbled 17 yards to the 1-yard line before powering in for a touchdown four plays later to cut the Wolves' deficit to 24-14.

"West Shamokin has some big kids up front, and they know what they're doing," Scherer said. "You have that size coming after you every play, it will wear you down."

On Summit Academy's ensuing drive, the Knights again went three-and-out. West Shamokin took the ball close to midfield, but a fumble led to a 55-yard return for a touchdown by Summit Academy's David Carter.

"We shot ourselves in the foot a lot," Gilliland said. "They're a big-play team, and that's how they score."

The Knights struck again when Sean McCausland found receiver Cyneil Hinton for a 37-yard TD pass for the game's final points.

"We'll get in there, we'll keep building," Gilliland said, "and I think we'll get our (win) here soon."

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