4th-quarter comeback lifts Cougars
LEWISTOWN – The Huskies couldn’t make the one play to put them over the top as they fell 38-34 to Harrisburg in a Mid-Penn Conference football game Friday at Mitchell Stadium, the Huskies’ first loss of the season.
“There are five critical plays in the game,” Mifflin County coach George Miskinis said. “We made two; they made three. One more play is the difference in a game like this.”
Harrisburg’s Darius Davis-Raye ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the night including the game-winning score with 53 seconds left in the game.
The Huskies fell to 4-1 on the season and will have to wait another week for their chance to punch their playoff ticket.
Mifflin County started off strong defensively, inducing a three-and-out from Harrisburg.
On the ensuing drive, Mifflin County lined up and ran the ball right down Harrisburg’s throat with a combination of rushes from Heath Hidlay and Kyle Kahley.
Kahley put an exclamation point on the drive with one-yard touchdown plunge, putting the Huskies up 7-0.
Harrisburg got the ball back and immediately turned it back over to Mifflin County when quarterback Mikell Clark got 20 yards on a run but fumbled fighting for the extra yardage.
Mifflin County picked up the fumble and did much of the same in terms of scoring on its second possession as it had in its first.
Hidlay took the first carry from scrimmage 44 yards all the way down to the Harrisburg five-yard line.
Two plays later, he finished it off with a two-yard touchdown run, putting his team up 14-0 less than nine minutes in.
Harrisburg responded on its next possession when Clark scored on a keeper from a yard out. Davis-Raye added most of the damage for Harrisburg that drive, as he piled up 58 yards on the drive including three 15-plus yard runs.
Mifflin County quarterback Brice Christine added a 60-yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 21-6 lead.
Harrisburg answered back with 12-straight points on a three-yard Davis-Raye touchdown and a 57-yard touchdown pass from Clark to De’Quan Ware, closing it to 21-18 with two left in the half.
Mifflin County quickly responded with a healthy dose of Kahley, who finished the night with 83 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The big running back ripped off runs of 12, 13 and 15 yards, including the 12-yard touchdown run to put the Huskies up 27-18 going into the half.
Mifflin County held a slight advantage in the half, gaining 210 yards to the 208 of Harrisburg.
The Huskies started the second half the same way they did the first; the tough downhill running game.
A tough goal-line stand by Harrisburg kept the Huskies off the board on its first possession of the half.
“We got down there the first drive in the second half,” Miskinis said. “We don’t make a play on third-and-one from the one going in. We get a four-yard loss and we opt for the field goal and we miss it.”
The Huskies returned the favor with Harrisburg inside the Mifflin County 10-yard line when Jesse Rodgers sacked Clark for a 10-yard loss, making a fourth-and-goal opportunity much more difficult.
It worked for Mifflin County as the Huskies were able to turn Harrisburg over on downs the following play.
They took the ball back and drove 88 yards for another score as Christine hit Jared Michaels for a 36-yard touchdown strike to make it 34-18.
In a blink of the eye Joseph Adams returned the kickoff 63 yards for a touchdown on the following play, drawing it to 34-24 Mifflin County.
After a Mifflin County fumble, Clark hit Ware again for a 76-yard touchdown, the second connection between them on the night, closing it to 34-31 Mifflin County.
Following a Mifflin County three-and-out, Harrisburg got the ball back and drove 67 yards for the game-winning score by Davis-Raye.
“You’ve got to talk about the physicality of both teams,” Miskinis said. “They stopped us in critical situationsThird-and-short, fourth-and-short.”
The power running game was working all night for the Huskies with Kahley and Hilday combining for 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m real impressed with our line,” Miskinis said. “They’re doing really well. We just have to get a little bit better execution wise.”
Mifflin County (4-1, 1-1) travels to Central Dauphin Oct. 4.