Won and oh!
Mustangs fast out of gate in football debut
HOMETOWN — After a 16-year co-op program with East Juniata came to an end, Midd-West made a long trip to Schuylkill County to take on Marian Catholic in its first football game in program history.
While one brand-new program took the field for the first time, Marian opened the 2018 season with its 700th in school history. How would Midd-West respond to all of the anticipation?
The Mustangs took the ball and went fourteen plays for 80 yards and seven quick points, the first touchdown being scored by quarterback Marc Piccioni on a two-yard effort.
Midd-West methodically chunked away at Marian, which set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Mustangs charged to a 43-20 non-league victory over Colts.
“They typically have good football teams,” Midd-West coach Brad Hatter said. “We knew we were going to have to play a physical football game and I challenged our kids to do that — and for the most part we did.”
If you want to talk physical, look no further than Mustangs’ fullback Trey Lauver. The sophomore made his presence felt on both sides of the ball, bulldozing his way through the Colts early in the game, while racking up 124 yards on the ground.
“The physicality that he brings — that’s what football is to me,” Hatter said. “It’s a physical game and he brings that. I’m pleased with his effort. We were very vanilla last week in the scrimmage and he didn’t get as many carries as he normally would, but he made up for that tonight.”
Marian quarterback Mason Miller hooked up with senior Keith McCall for an 11-yard score with 10:32 left in the second quarter to even things up.
However, the Colts wouldn’t pick up their next first down until the 26-second mark of the third frame, and that was thanks to a Mustang penalty.
“I think we did a lot of nice things for about a quarter-and-a-half,” Marian coach Patrick Morgans said. “But they just outmatched our physicality. They had a good game plan. They came in and spread us out. We have to find the answers to some questions, and we will.”
Along with Lauver, seniors Piccioni and Kameron Kline paved the way for the Mustangs throughout the contest.
In the second quarter, Kline took a pitch 39 yards to the house to break the early tie. Piccioni, the quarterback, hit Kline in stride down the sideline for a 24-yard score later in the quarter. Piccioni then added another impressive 14-yard scamper right before halftime, giving Midd-West a commanding 27-7 advantage.
“They’ve been tremendous,” Hatter said of his seniors. “For everything that they’ve gone through — they weren’t even sure if they’d have football this year. Not only do they have it, but we were able to come out and beat a good football team on the road and really play well.”
Takeaways were another big story for the Mustangs.
Gabe Regester hawked a tipped Miller pass in the third quarter, while teammate Christian Levan picked off Miller in the third quarter and exploded 18 yards to the house.
“We were able to take advantages of some turnovers and that was good,” Hatter said. “I was pleased that we came out in the second half and kept going, and really finished the job. That, to me, is the sign of a good football team.”
The Colts tagged on two fourth quarter touchdowns. Zach Boyer scored on a five-yard run and Colin Hasara made a two-yard plunge as the final siren went off.
Marian’s Matt Doherty made some impressive runs, which included a 40-yard burst in the first frame. He finished with 105 yards on the ground.
ALL OVER THE FIELD: The Colts had a trio of tackling machines. Nick Falls recorded 20, Zach Boyer had 14 and Nick Goff tallied 13.
TO BE EXACT: The opening Piccioni two-yard quarterback keeper with 6:26 left in the first quarter will forever stand in Mustang history as the program’s first touchdown. He agreed with Hatter that the early score was important.
“It showed that we had the preparation down and we could do it,” Piccioni said. “It set the tone. It was amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better game.”
PLAYING A NEIGHBOR: Next week, Blue Mountain will make the two-hour trip to take on Midd-West.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Hatter explained that he just stared installing his offense in June.
“We were behind the eight ball until we got everything going,” he said. “The kids really bought into it. I’m proud of the kids and coaching staff; they did a tremendous job.”
Midd-West 43, Marian Catholic 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Midd-West 7 20 16 0–43
Marian Cathloic 0 7 0 13–20
MW–Piccioni 2 run (Sauer kick)
MC– McCall 11 pass from Miller (Stroia kick)
MW– Kline 39 run (Kick failed)
MW– Kline 24 pass from Piccioni (Sauer kick)
MW– Piccioni 14 run (Sauer kick)
MW– Lauver 7 run (Pass failed)
MW– Sauer 21 FG
MW– Levan 18 INT return (Sauer kick)
MC– Boyer 5 run (Stroia kick)
MC– Hasara 2 run (Kick failed)
First downs 15 11
Total yards 290 167
Rushes-yards 42-256 32-111
Yards passing 34 57
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 2-7-0 8-15-2
Punts-avg. 2-32 3-34
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 5-55 3-35
RUSHING: MW– Lauver 20-124. Kline 8-62, Piccioni 10-72, Hunsberger 3-6, Bishp 1-(-8); MC– Doherty 15-105, Boyer 4-9, Hasara 4-15, N.Falls 2-5, Miller 6-(-16), Streisel 1-(-7).
PASSING: MW– Piccioni 2-7-0-34; MC– Miller 8-15-2-57.
RECEIVING: MW– Kline 1-24, Levan 1-10; MC– McCall 3-30, Goff 1-22, Doherty 4-5.