Huskies bedevil State College, DuBois to win second season

LEWISTOWN – Some say that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

State College and DuBois probably thought they knew the Huskies.

Both teams faced a Mifflin County in the regular season with State College winning 26-21 at Mifflin County and Huskies earning a 21-17 season-opening win against the Beavers on the road.

Back then, the Huskies featured primarily a power running attack.

The Little Lions and DuBois saw an entirely different team in the playoffs.

And that, the Huskies coach says, is why his team is practicing this week for the state tournament while the other two are done for the year.

State College wasn’t ready for Heath Hidlay in an 11-on-11 setting that the vaunted “wildcat formation” entails.

“I think with the wildcat incident in State College, they were running so much jet sweep and they practice it, they didn’t think we could run it,” Mifflin County coach George Miskinis said. “It was one of those things when we lined up and ran the jet sweep, then we turned around ran the counter off it.”

Mifflin County certainly had no trouble running out of it.

During the third quarter in State College, Miskinis let the cat out of the bag.

Hidlay carried for a 7-yard gain and a first down that really got the Huskies going.

Later in the same drive, Hidlay used some of the holes he created to score on a 13-yard touchdown scamper and give Mifflin County a 20-14 lead.

“I think those are plays that we’ve had in,” Miskinis said. “It was just one of those things where we needed the right time to use it.”

Mifflin County also showed the same kind of unpredictable nature against DuBois in its 41-21 thumping of the Beavers to win the Districts 6-9 Class AAAA championship.

“I just think we had more stuff ready to go offensively,” Miskinis said. “We got a substantial amount of breaks early in the game with turnovers.”

Where did the turnovers come from? What seemed like the most unlikely place for Mifflin County when the Huskies wrapped up the regular season: a kickoff.

The Huskies had some trouble with kick coverage in the regular season, so when the playoffs started, they began to sacrifice field position to keep points off the scoreboard.

This worked in favor for Mifflin County against DuBois.

The Huskies squibbed a kick that bounced off the helmet of an unsuspecting DuBois up back and caromed right back to Mifflin County.

Recovering the kick turned the field position in the Huskies’ favor and allowed them to take a 21-7 lead into the half against DuBois.

What allowed them to take that lead was another strong start – a Huskies trait in the playoffs.

After an opening drive touchdown drive that featured six straight runs, Mifflin County went about its second score rather differently.

John Michael Maclay on a halfback option threw a perfect pass that found the outstretched arms of Jared Michaels for a 26-yard touchdown.

“The pass play that Maclay had was set up because of what we did against State College,” Miskinis said. “We ran the motion away from it against State College. We came back with it. It’s one of those plays that we put in and you never know when the right time to use it. It was the right time because we had field position and we were able to make a great play and a touchdown on it.”

The play was put in during practice last week and the first pass Maclay had thrown all season, so DuBois definitely didn’t see it coming.

“When there’s a need and a time, you use it,” Miskinis said. “Sometimes you gamble and it’s the right time and sometimes it’s not. In both situations, it was the right time to go to those formations and those plays.”

DuBois didn’t see it coming.