Big-play Huskies drive past Dover
Defense is key in Mifflin County victory
LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County played its best game of the season on defense and discovered the big play on offense to hand Dover a 37-21 defeat in a nonleague football game Friday night at Mitchell Field.
The Husky defense scored a touchdown and allowed only two offensive scores by the Eagles. Not to be outdone, the Mifflin County offense had three touchdowns of more than 50 yards and racked up 439 yards of total offense, including a season-best three passing TDs.
“We played a pretty darn good game tonight. We were disciplined and didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes as far as penalties go,” Mifflin County coach Scot Sechler said. “The kids played their heart out tonight. They came out with a lot of intensity and effort. The seniors stepped their game up. We had everything clicking tonight. It took the run game awhile to get going, but I’m proud of the kids and how they played.”
Brycen Hassinger threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns and had an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown to slam the door on Dover in the fourth quarter.
“Hassinger had a phenomenal game. He was all over the field. He’s a heck of an athlete,” Sechler said. “Brycen is a naturally gifted athlete but the hard work he puts in far exceeds the natural ability he has. He’s a great leader. I’m blessed to have him on my team.”
The defense played its best game of the year, limiting Dover to 118 yards rushing and the two scores. The Eagles had a 95-yard kickoff return for their third score.
“The defense has been there all year long, we just haven’t executed it well. We talked this week about bend don’t break. Don’t give up the big plays,” Sechler said. “I’ll give up four or five yards at a time, I’ll give up the underneath passes but make them earn it. The guys were bringing it and punishing guys when they made a catch and that takes a toll in the fourth quarter.”
Gage Schaeffer rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The first came on a screen pass that went 84-yards and his second on a 70-yard dash to daylight.
“It felt great to get the big plays going. We got our stuff down in practice and it finally worked out today,” Schaeffer said.
Mifflin County (2-6) opened the scoring on Schaeffer’s TD reception. Facing a second-and-11 from their own 16, Husky offensive coordinator Christian Hassinger dialed up the perfect play with a screen pass that caught Dover off guard.
The Eagles (2-6) answered 14 seconds later on a 95-yard kickoff return by Teziah Howard to even it at 7-7.
A five-play, 68-yard drive by the Huskies ended with the 12-yard strike from Hassinger to Cody Bickhart on the slant for the score. A fake field goal was unsuccessful making it 13-7 with 7:27 to go in the half. Hassinger had the key play of the drive with a 30-yard run putting the ball on the Eagle 12.
Dover took its only lead of the game when Luis Ortiz-Lopez crossed the goal line for the five-yard score and a 14-13 advantage.
The Husky big-play magic struck again before the half when Hassinger hit Jayden Jackson in stride on the seam route for the 54-yard touchdown. Schaeffer caught the two-point conversion giving the home team the 21-14 lead at intermission.
“Our guys are like sponges. They watch film and listen to what the coaches have to say. We’re trying to get them into position to be successful and they are listening,” Sechler said. “The kids deserved this win.”
Schaeffer made it 27-14 with his 70-yard burst with 30 seconds left in the third. Reese Carter made it 30-14 with a 24-yard field goal with 7:43 left in the game. Hassinger ended any Eagle hopes by jumping the route of Tanner Linker for the interception and score with 1:50 left.
Dover scored late when Matt Hoffman, who was 6-for-11 for 179 yards, threw a 39-yard TD toss to Drake Kosky with six seconds left.
Mifflin County hosts Greencastle-Antrim in a must-win Mid-Penn Colonial game on Oct. 18.
“We need to keep doing what we are doing, ramping up the intensity at practice and keep the positive vibes going,” Sechler said. “The stands were awesome tonight. There was positive energy flying. The kids feed off it, they love it and we need to keep the momentum going.”
Mifflin County 37, Dover 21
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Dover 0 14 0 7–21
Mifflin County 0 21 6 10–37
MC– G.Schaeffer 84 pass from Hassinger (Carter kick), 8:57
D– Howard 95 kick off return (Burrage kick), 8:43
MC — C.Bickhart 12 pass from Hassinger (run failed), 7:27
D — Lopez 5 run (Burrage kick), 3:17
MC — Jackson 56 pass from Hassinger (G.Schaeffer pass from Hassinger), 1:43
MC– Schaeffer 70 run (kick failed), :30
MC– Carter 24 FG, 7:43
MC– Hassinger 80 Int return (Carter kick), 1:50
D — Kosky 39 pass from Hoffman (Burrage kick), :06
First downs 18 18
Total yards 406 439
Rushes-yards 30-118 40-209
Yards passing 288 230
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 15-31-2 9-17-0
Punts-avg. 3-30.7 2-38
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-60 5-50
RUSHING: D– Lopez 13-40 TD, Johnson 10-52, Kosky 2-3, Hoffman 5-23; MC– G.Schaeffer 10-107 TD, Hassinger 8-53, R.Henry 10-29, Krepps 2-1, Sheetz 3-0, Pennebaker 1-6, C.Bickhart 3-3, Hunter 3-10.
PASSING: D– Johnson 9-20-109-1, Hoffman 6-11-179-1; MC– D.Schaeffer 1-2-34-0, Hassinger 7-14-207-0, Sheetz 2-3-23.
RECEIVING: D– Klinedinst 3-99, Linker 3-56, Cesky 2-43, Hoffman 4-38, Lopez 1-3, Howard 1-10, Kosky 1-39 TD; MC– Bender 2-25, Schaeffer 1-84 TD, Krepps 1-9, Jackson 2-81 TD, McCalips 2-19, C.Bickhart 1-12 TD.