Huskies stumble, fall in second half
Mustang QB sets yardage record in win
ELLIOTTSBURG — Mifflin County entered its game with West Perry losers of two straight Mid-Penn Colonial battles and looking to right a ship that held much promise after a 2-0 league start.
The perfect remedy for the Huskies came in the form of the Mustangs — losers of 26 of their last 27 games. The only problem — West Perry had plans of its own.
Mustang quarterback Dom Salinetro torched the Mifflin County secondary for a school record 365 yards and four touchdowns as West Perry shocked the Huskies in a 38-35 Mid-Penn Colonial win on Friday, despite a career-high 175 yards from Aaron Smith.
“Dom has steadily improved all season and tonight he played and amazing game,” West Perry coach Bob Boden said. “Our defense played bend but don’t break and our offense looked the best it had all season long. It’s nice to win two in a row.”
Mifflin County (2-6, 2-3) held a 28-17 lead after consuming almost six minutes off the clock to start the second half, culminating in an eight-yard scoring toss from Noah Wright to Isaac Maclay with 6:07 to go in the third.
It looked like the Huskies had control of the game, but looks can be deceiving. The Mustangs scored 21 unanswered points to grab a 38-28 lead, one they would never relinquish.
Salinetro started the West Perry comeback with his second touchdown of the game, this one for 10-yards out to Joey Reisinger. The two-point conversion failed, making it 28-23 Huskies with 1:38 left in the third.
Touchdown pass No. 3 came on a 37-yard strike to Cameron May. The two-pointer was successful and the Mustangs led 31-28 with 10:59 left in the contest. May finished the game with 10 catches for 154 yards and two scores.
West Perry (2-6, 2-3) ended the scoring barrage when Salinetro tossed his fourth touchdown pass to tight end Gabe Puchalsky from 15 yards, making it 38-28 with 7:48 left in regulation.
“We got our running game going like last week, but this time our defensive secondary was the problem,” Mifflin County coach Brent Hartman said. “It seems that we take a step forward and then two steps back. Once again, I think we were over-confident believing we had West Perry beat before we stepped on the field. I think we relaxed a little when we had the 28-17 lead. You can’t do that and expect to win games in the Mid-Penn. We have to go back to the drawing board and try to straighten things out these last two games.”
Mifflin County started the game on a high note, scoring on its first drive of the night; The Huskies went 72 yards on four plays with Nathan Bargo snagging a 26-yard touchdown pass with 6:38 to go in the first quarter. The key play of the drive was a 46-yard run by Smith on the jet sweep.
“This game was the reverse of what happened last week. Against Northern York, we had a bad first half and played much better in the second. Tonight, we had a solid first half and a nice start to the third quarter, but fell apart in the final 12-13 minutes of the game,” Hartman said. “We have our fair share of injuries but that’s no excuse. The next man has to step up. That’s the nature of the game.”
A Terrance Quaker one-yard run and a Jake Quaker 19-yard field goal gave the Mustangs a 9-7 lead with 2:42 to go in the half.
The excitement reached a crescendo with three touchdowns scored in the final 80 seconds of the first half. Smith broke free up the gut for a 59-yard score giving the Huskies a 14-9 advantage. West Perry answered with a 76-yard bomb from Salinetro to May, making it 17-14. Mifflin County responded on the ensuing kickoff when Kross Tadaro broke a tackle, found a crease and scampered 67 yards for the score, giving the Huskies a 21-17 halftime advantage.
“Aaron Smith did a great job tonight. He stepped up in a big way,” Hartman said. “You have steps forward and steps back and this was a step back. This is a learning process. As I said last week, we aren’t going to fix this overnight. Make no mistake this is a disappointing loss. We should have won this game.”
Mifflin County ended the scoring on Bargo’s second touchdown of the night, this one from five-yards out. Bargo finished with six catches for 114 yards.
The Huskies host Big Spring on Oct. 28.