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Huskies fail to capitalize on turnovers

MC defense forced two fumbles

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Mifflin County’s Daniel King (8) breaks up a pass intended for Lower Dauphin’s receiver Ty Millhimes, while Isaac Wilson (18) watches from the background, in Lewistown, on Friday night.

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County showcased power football on defense and the Huskies had a stellar night, creating opportunities for its offense with a pair of fumble recoveries and multiple three and outs.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, Mifflin County once again showcased what has been apparent in recent weeks — the team’s formidable defense hasn’t been supported by its offense.

Red-zone turnovers for Mifflin County and three TD runs by Lower Dauphin’s Jacob Kauffman powered the Falcons to a 21-3 victory over the Huskies in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division contest on Friday night at Mitchell Field.

“It was turnovers and bad tackling,” Mifflin County coach Scot Sechler said. “I mean, it wasn’t anything we didn’t practice all week, or anything we didn’t see on film. We saw all of those plays on film and we knew what was coming — we just didn’t execute, and we didn’t tackle well. We were leaving our feet and diving. Still just a bunch of mental errors.”

Kauffman rumbled for 233 yards on 21 totes for the Falcons — the last one being a 26-yard backbreaking TD to give the Falcons a 21-3 lead with 2:03 left to play. Kauffman’s first TD came on his second carry of the night when a gaping hole opened in the middle. Kauffman powered through some would-be tacklers and chugged 75-yards for a touchdown before Mifflin County (0-4, 0-1 Keystone) could catch its breath.

A second quick-strike touchdown by Kauffman coming out of the locker room — a 56-yard TD run less than a minute into the third quarter — proved just as costly.

“It was three plays — three defensive plays that the game really came down to,” Sechler said.

Offensively, Mifflin County’s Logan Parks looked comfortable at quarterback before things started to unravel late. Parks connected with Isaac Wilson up the Huskies’ sideline for a 40-yard play on his third throw of the night, driving Mifflin County all the way down to the Lower Dauphin 18 with 4:00 left in the first quarter.

Parks later hit Josh Cruz with a 6-yard pass to extend the drive on third down before Isaac Parks-Gill came on for a 30-yard field goal to cut Mifflin County’s deficit to 7-3 with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.

The score remained tied at 7-3 entering the locker room, despite a fumble recovery by the Huskies’ Landon Marks that erased a Lower Dauphin scoring chance and a muffed punt by Lower Dauphin that popped into the air and was caught by Mifflin County’s Daniel King with 5:23 left in the first half.

Overall, the Huskies just couldn’t move the ball far enough down the field to make Lower Dauphin (2-1, 1-0 Keystone) pay for its mistakes.

Three second half interceptions, including two in the red zone, ended promising drives for Mifflin County. Mifflin County forced a punt after a big three and out that included Reagan Ettinger blowing up Kauffman for a 4-yard loss with 6:20 left in the third quarter. Immediately following the punt, a pass too deep for Josiah Sechler was picked by Wes Heagy to end the Huskies’ drive.

Two red zone interceptions in the fourth quarter eliminated good scoring opportunities as well. A big run by Deakon Scheaffer in which he shook multiple Falcons’ defenders on a 23-yard carry set up Mifflin County at the Lower Dauphin 11 with 10:27 left, trailing 14-3. Parks was hit as he threw later in the drive and the pass was intercepted by a diving Ryan Angerer to end the threat with 9:15 left.

“I thought that we moved the ball a little bit better today, but we’d get it going and shoot ourselves in the foot again. We’d turn it over, throw some bad passes,” Sechler said. “There was an intentional grounding call when we should learn to take a sack. That just comes from inexperience. Ultimately it just comes back to execution, and we didn’t execute properly.”

The Huskies defense then went right back to work and forced a fumble that Mifflin County recovered in Falcons’ territory. An interception a little over a minute later was the final nail.

Sechler was proud of his defense that has come up big when called upon, despite what the scoreboard has shown at the end of the night.

“I’m exceptionally happy with the defense,” Sechler said. “It was just three darn plays and poor tackling. On all three of those run plays we had hands on the kid and multiple people there, but we couldn’t bring him down.”

Parks finished 8-of-20 for 105 yards and three interceptions on the night, while Scheaffer led the Huskies with 49 rushing yards. Josh Cruz proved himself as a power runner as well, but was quieted after a strong start to finish with 24 yards.

Lower Dauphin quarterback Braden Landis had a solid night, completing 12-of-27 passes for 154 yards including a 44-yard connection to Charlie Fortney late in the third. Fortney led the Falcons with five catches for 89 yards.

Things won’t get any easier for the Huskies next week, as they will travel to face state powerhouse Bishop McDevitt, on a short week no less. The Huskies travel to face the Crusaders on Thursday, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“We will get better, and we are going to keep grinding,” Sechler said. “Obviously we have a tough game next week on a short schedule. It’ll be tough, but we’re fighters and we’re not going to quit.”

Lower Dauphin 21, Mifflin County 3

Lower Dauphin 7 0 7 7 — 21

Mifflin County 3 0 0 0 — 3

First quarter

LD — Jacob Kauffman 75 run (Jake Gesford kick) 9:04

MC — Isaac Parks-Gill 30 kick 0:44

Second quarter

None

Third quarter

LD — Kauffman 56 run (Gesford kick) 11:02

Fourth quarter

LD — Jacob Kauffman 26 run (Gesford kick) 2:03

TEAM STATISTICS MC LD

First downs 8 14

Total yards 162 416

Rushes-yards 31-57 32-262

Yards passing 105 154

Passing (comp.-att-int) 8-23-3 12-27-0

Punts-avg. 6-36.5 4-39.5

Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-3

Penalties-yards 8-55 5-29

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — LD: Jacob Kauffman 21-233 3 TD, Braden Landis 4-23, Tyler Persing 4-6, Ethan Miller 2-2, Ty Millhimes 2-(-2); MC: Deakon Scheaffer 9-49, Josh Cruz 12-24, Reagan Ettinger 1-5, Parker Kearns 1-1, Tyler Hunter 2-(-1), Logan Parks 5-(-9), Jared Lyons 1-(-10).

PASSING –LD: Braden Landis 12-27-0 154; MC: Logan Parks 8-20-3 105; Jared Lyons 0-2, Deakon Scheaffer 0-1.

RECEIVING — LD: Charlie Fortney 5-89, Ryan Angerer 4-36, Jacob Kauffman 2-22, Wes Heagy 1-7; MC — Isaac Wilson 5-75, Kyler Everly 1-14, Josiah Sechler 1-10, Josh Cruz 1-6.

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