Goal line stand, injuries bite Huskies
Hassinger hurt, Huskies fall to Hershey
HERSHEY– There aren’t too many football games where you can pinpoint the biggest moment in the entire game, especially if it comes in the first half.
However, a failed third-and-goal on the one-yard line proved to be that moment for the Mifflin County Huskies in their 24-14 loss to Hershey on Friday night at Hershey High School.
Trailing 17-7 with just under seven minutes left in the first half, the Huskies got the ball on their own 20-yard line and proceeded to methodically march down the field. The culmination of a 13-play drive gave the Huskies a first-and-goal on the two-yard line. Huskies quarterback Brycen Hassinger ran three straight QB Sneaks, all of which were unsuccessful.
Hassinger appeared to get in on his third attempt but after the ball was spotted just short and with no timeouts remaining, there was nothing the Huskies could do but watch the clock hit zero. Mifflin County went into halftime knowing it had left seven points out on the field.
“It comes down to who has more guts at that point… when you’re inside the 10, it comes down to who wants it more,” Mifflin County coach Scot Sechler said. “They wanted it a little more than we did tonight.”
To the Huskies’ credit, they came out of the break with a short memory of how the first half ended. Mifflin County received the kickoff and went on another long drive, running the football down the Trojans’ throats. At one point in the drive, the Huskies rattled off four consecutive rushes for first downs. Schaeffer had a 19-yard run and a 12-yard run, while Trey Kibe and Hassinger added rushes of 12 and 10 yards, respectively.
Before the Trojans had time to think, Gage Schaeffer bowled his way in for a five-yard rushing touchdown, cutting Hershey’s lead to three points.
Just when it looked like the Huskies would tip momentum to their side, the Trojans answered immediately, putting a halt to any tides that may have been turning.
A good return set the Trojans up around midfield and on their first play, quarterback Jackson Bounslough found Joey Corado for a 56-yard score, restoring the Trojans’ 10-point lead.
“I thought we had really good momentum going,” Sechler said. “We might not have 80 kids (on the roster), but we have 40 kids that have guts and they don’t ever give up.”
Perhaps the toughest blow of the night was during the third quarter when Hassinger was injured and was removed from the game. Hassinger took the snap, dropped back and started hobbling. Instinctively, the injured quarterback fell to the ground and needed help walking off of the field.
Hassinger, who led the Huskies with 141 rushing yards and a touchdown, did not return for the rest of the game and the offense could not find its footing. Pair the injuries with the fatigue in the late stages of the game, and the Huskies found themselves in an uphill battle.
“Tonight, you saw a little bit of the depth issues that we had. We started to gas a little bit towards the end,” Sechler said. “Obviously, losing Brycen hurt a lot. I think Kibe tweaked something there, so we kept him out as a precaution.”
Even with all the misfortune that Mifflin County endured on Friday, the winless Huskies have now faced three tough opponents, including two of the toughest teams in the state.
Coming just a few plays shy of picking up their first win, Sechler wants to take this game as a positive moving forward–even though the Huskies did not play their best, they were competitive against a team that now sits at 4-0.
“Just a few big plays and a couple of bad calls, in my opinion, and I think that is a very different game in the second half,” Sechler said.
Mifflin County will look to get in the win column when they host the 0-4 Palmyra Cougars on Friday at Mitchell Field.
HERSHEY 24, MIFFLIN COUNTY 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mifflin County 0 7 7 0–14
Hershey 10 7 7 0–24
H–David Loyd 24 pass from Bounslough (Joey Corado kick), 8:42.
H–Corado 32 Field goal, 11.8.
MC– Hassinger 13 run (Keller kick), 9:16
H– Bounslough 7 run (Corado kick), 6:37
MC– Schaeffer 5 run (Keller kick), 9:53
H– Corado 56 pass from Bounslough (Corado kick), 9:32
First downs 21 16
Total yards 318 311
Rushes-yards 51-261 34-147
Yards passing 57 164
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 2-6-57 7-11-1
Punts-avg. 1-43 0-0
Fumbles-lost 4-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 5-34 4-45
RUSHING: MC– Hassinger 19-141 TD, Schaeffer 14-62 TD, Kibe 10-43, Lyons 3-12, Rishel 3-7, Hunter 2-8, Team 3-(-12) ; H– Paniagua 13-57, Bounslough 5-44 TD, Lopez 5-25, Berrier 5-7, Kaperna 3-14.
PASSING: MC– Hassinger 1-4 32, Lyons 1-2 25; H– Bounslough 7-11-1 164 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: MC– McCalips 1-32, Jackson 1-25; H–Carado 2-91 TD, Loyd 2-40 TD, Koperna 1-15, Lopez 1-5 Peck 1-13.