STATE COLLEGE - Win or lose, Friday's Districts 6-9 Class AAAA playoff game between Mifflin County and State College was one the Huskies weren't going to let go easily.
With something to prove after losing six straight games leading up to the district tournament, the senior-laden Huskies made one thing clear Friday - they would not close the books on this season with a seventh-straight loss.
Led by running machine Heath Hidlay, Mifflin County topped the Little Lions 27-26, broke the skid and advanced to the championship game against Dubois.
"It's wonderful - it's wonderful. No more losing streak," Mifflin County coach George Miskinis said. "It's over. Now we can concentrate on just being ourselves."
The seniors might have been one step ahead of Miskinis, though. As of kickoff Friday, they had already begun to play just like themselves.
Hidlay's outstanding running night yielded all four of Mifflin County's touchdowns, as the senior collected 155 rushing yards on 24 carries. However, he wasn't the only Husky senior to make a major impact on the outcome of the game. To name a few, Colton Craig and Curtis Jerzerick were part of a defense that kept State College battling all night long, and John Michael Maclay and Isaac Strohecker were both key receivers for junior quarterback Hunter Walker.
The apex of the seniors' performance was the last scoring drive of the game, which was kick started by a 46-yard scamper from Hidlay to put the ball on State College's 18-yard line. Maclay, Strohecker and Kyle Kahley then each got their hands on the ball on either a rushing or passing play for small yardage before Hidlay finally rushed it in for the final 27-26 lead with 1:20 left in the game.
"It feels great since (State College) beat us in the regular season," Hidlay said of the win. "It's definitely an awesome feeling to beat them on their home field, that's for sure."
Miskinis gave credit to players throughout his team - both seniors and underclassmen - for their part in the game, pointing out Kyle Kahley's blocking and Strohecker's receiving. Another big man for Mifflin County was Craig, who was part of a defensive line that held strong despite State College's pressure.
Speaking of his class, senior wide receiver Maclay lauded the team's ability to come back after the six-game losing skid.
"We lost six games in a row, and it was really rough, but in the end our ultimate goal is still there, and it's to win a District 6 championship, and we're going to go do that next week," he said.
The Huskies beat Dubois 21-17 in their season opener, but both Hidlay and Maclay shared the same sentiment - next week's matchup should be a tough one.
"I don't think they're a bunch of pushovers, so we'll have to come ready to play," Hidlay said.
It will be a battle for the championship - and one the Huskies undoubtedly hope to win - but regardless of next Friday's outcome, Miskinis' words about the win over State College will always be true: "It's wonderful - it's wonderful."