Ironmen and Lancers meet again

Sep. 15—Any worries that Carl Majer had about his team and its first test on Friday night in a rematch of last year's District 4 Class 3A championship game with Loyalsock have been answered this week by his Ironmen squad.

"We've had a great week of practice," Majer said. "I didn't have to say anything in practice (this week). You can see it in their eyes. We still hit during the week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I didn't really have to push them.

"They pushed themselves."

And it's easier to understand, the Lancers fell to Southern Columbia last week, but didn't fall below the Ironmen in the statewide rankings. Loyalsock will enter the game ranked sixth, while the Ironmen are ranked eighth in the state rankings.

That's despite Danville beating Loyalsock twice last season, and starting the 2023 season 3-0 and averaging 53 points per game. The teams Danville did it against are a combined 1-8 in the young season.

"I don't think many people are giving us respect, yet. It takes athletes, and pretty good execution to score more than 50 points per game," Majer said. "Whether it's against a good team, or not."

Some of those offensive numbers are amazing. Danville's thrown 58 touchdown passes since the beginning of the 2022 season, and just four interceptions. Quarterback Madden Patrick threw for six TDs in last week's victory over Central Columbia, and the offense hasn't missed a beat despite graduating its lead passer, receiver and rusher from last year's 12-1 squad.

Five different receivers have at least two touchdowns through three games, and Patrick's season-low in passing yards is 235 in the opening win over Bloomsburg.

It will provide a tricky stop for a Loyalsock defense that's struggled in two of its three games, allowing a combined 57 points to Berks Catholic and Southern Columbia. The Saints averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground, while the Tigers also averaged nearly six yards per carry and 33 yards per completion against the Lancers.

Returning all-league linebacker Logan Bastian leads the team with 30 tackles.

The Lancers will also provide the sternest test for the Danville defense so far this season. Some of the names are quite familiar to fans — quarterback Tyler Gee and receiver Jaylen Andrews. The two were limited last week against the Tigers — Gee by the ferocious Southern pass rush, and Andrews by Jake Hoy in coverage.

Danville's defense has allowed just 571 total yards in three games — 207 of those came via the Line Mountain running game in the second contest of the season. Cameron Kiersch leads the team in tackles with 22, but one of the few newcomers on the defense — sophomore Landon Kehoe — is second with 15.

Loyalsock's running game has become reliant on Gee as he leads the team with 30 carries on the year.

"We have to play our responsibilities on defense," Majer said. "We have to contain him in the running game."

Of course, Andrews — the all-state receiver — can't be counted out either. He has 15 catches for 285 yards and three touchdowns but was limited to four catches for 36 yards against Southern Columbia.