Huskies can’t solve Waynesboro’s D
Offense fizzles in season’s final contest
WAYNESBORO — Waynesboro proved too much for Mifflin County to handle Friday, ending the regular season in convincing fashion, winning 35-5 in the Mid-Penn Colonial football game.
Waynesboro’s running game was a force against the Huskies, putting up more than 350 rushing yards.
The Indians’ offense came out soaring, stringing together two impressive drives to put the pressure on early. Waynesboro’s hot start was due to its strong running game, as the Indians found lanes of open space to put Mifflin County back on its heels.
Waynesboro stormed down the field with continuous short-yardage gains and halfway through the first quarter reached the 1-yard line. The Huskies tried to pull off a goal-line stand, but running back Forrest Rhyne was able to shoot the gap to give Waynesboro a lead it would not surrender for the rest of the night.
The Indians again ate up the clock with another lengthy drive toward the end of the first quarter. Waynesboro kicked off the second quarter in a big way, as running back Brady Beckner ripped off a 39-yard touchdown run just five seconds into the second frame.
Beckner terrorized Mifflin’s defense, racking up 249 rushing yards on the night with a pair of touchdowns.
Mifflin County’s special teams played a big role, often giving the Huskies great field position, but the team was not able to capitalize. Mifflin County gained some momentum on a strong kick return by Cole Peachey, but a Waynesboro linebacker brought the offense to a thundering halt with a timely sack.
Toward the end of the first half, back-to-back fumbles forced the teams to trade field position a few times, but neither was able to penetrate the other’s defense for a score. With fewer than two minutes remaining in the half, Waynesboro quarterback Brady Riddell managed to lead his team down the field, eventually handing the ball off to Rhyne for another insurance marker from two yards out.
The Indians led 21-0 at halftime.
The Indians continued to roll through the second half, putting up another touchdown on a 39-yard run in which Beckner was able to bounce to the outside and turn on the jets for the score. The Huskies played notably better on defense to open the third quarter, but consistency is something coach Brent Hartman was preaching at halftime.
“We have to be more consistent and believe in ourselves,” Hartman said.
The Indians’ offense was relentless at times, but Mifflin County’s defense was able to force three fumbles, recovering all of them. Quarterback Drew Williams was able to engineer a respectable drive, but once again, the Indians’ defensive line sent a full blitz, collapsing on Williams and the Huskies.
Penalties mounted up against Waynesboro, backing the Indians up to their own goal line. Several Husky defenders were able to break through the offensive line, smothering Riddell in the end zone for Mifflin County’s first points on the board, a safety.
But the Indians were just able to put too much pressure on the Huskies, forcing nine punts throughout the game.
“Waynesboro played a good game and they were aggressive and we couldn’t handle (them) with our offensive line,” Hartman said.
Waynesboro held quarterback the team to just a few yards of offense, limiting the team to zero total passing yards.
“They were in our backfield all night,” Hartman said. “You can’t run any offense with five (defenders) laying on your QB.”
Waynesboro’s final drive amounted to a fourth-and-inches goal-line stand in which the Huskies were able to prevent Waynesboro from scoring, but the Indians covered enough ground to get the first down less than a yard from the end zone.
The Indians scored on a short run by Hunter Clever, one of his two carries on the night. As the clock drained, Mifflin County found itself in a fourth-down situation within field goal range, so the Huskies elected to put more points on the board, booting a 29-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the game.
Mifflin County finishes its first season in the Colonial at 3-7. Hartman is optimistic that his team can get the job done better next year.
“We have a good group. We’re getting better, but it’s an uphill climb, and I think we fell short,” he said.