Eagles run through Wildcats
HERNDON – The Line Mountain Eagles were unstoppable on the ground Friday night as the senior duo of quarterback Jacob Feese and running back Garrett Laudenslager ran for over 220 yards apiece in a 42-34 Line Mountain win over Mifflinburg to close both team’s seasons.
Laudenslager ended up toting the ball 16 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the game, while Feese added 222 yards on one less attempt and finding the endzone on a pair of occasions.
The Feese/Laudenslager duo also accomplished each becoming a 1,000-yard rusher for the team in a short eight-game season.
“The line was blocking amazing. Garrett and I were able to do what we do.” said Feese. “I was worried about not getting to 1,000 yards because of the eight-game season. I couldn’t have done it without our line and my fullback Beau Keim.”
The win closed out a 5-3 season for the Eagles, while Mifflinburg ends its 2020 campaign with a 5-5 record.
Mifflinburg quarterback Jacob Reitz gave his best effort to keep up with the Line Mountain rushing attack as he threw for 324 yards and a score, while rushing for four touchdowns of his own in a 50-yard rushing performance.
“We watched a lot of film on these guys last week against Penns Valley.” said coach Jason Dressler. “We wanted to go back and do what they did. We exploited a few areas passing the ball. It was nice to see.”
Scoring happened early and often in this one, and it was started by the home Eagles. Line Mountain forced a three-and-out on defense to begin the game and promptly scored on its next possession on a five-play drive that ended with a 29-yard rushing score by Feese.
A botched snap would take away an opportunity at the extra point, and the Eagles took an early 6-0 lead.
Mifflinburg fought right back, putting together a methodical 10-play drive that covered 68 yards for a score. The drive ended with Reitz’s lone passing touchdown on the night, as sophomore tight end Lucas Whittaker caught a seven-yard dart for the score. The Wildcats knocked the extra point through and took a 7-6 lead in the first quarter.
Line Mountain took the lead back just two plays later when Laudenslager notched his first of three rushing scores on the night. Laudenslager took the ball 56-yards on a second-and-10 with 1:48 remaining in the opening quarter. The run put him over the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season and gave the Eagles a 13-7 advantage.
The Line Mountain lead stood for some time before Mifflinburg scored shortly before the close of the opening half. Reitz scored his first of four rushing touchdowns to put the Wildcats up 14-13, which would wind up being the halftime score.
Line Mountain was making plays in the opening half, but head coach Brandon Carson was not quite satisfied entering the break with a one-point deficit.
“In the first half we did some good things, but we just didn’t put the ball in the endzone as much as I thought we needed to.” said the coach. “We told them at half time that we needed to come out in the second half and assert ourselves. On the line we needed to stop playing straight up and down and start running downhill. Get on blocks and keep moving our feet. Everyone stepped up and delivered on that in the second half.”
What Carson said in the locker room sparked the Eagles offense into another gear as the team scored touchdowns on four of five possessions in the second half.
Opening the second half, Feese still needed over 100 rushing yards to break the 1,000-yard mark on the season. On the second play from scrimmage in the half, he carried the ball 78 yards for a score to make the feat much easier.
Feese would break the 1,000-yard mark on the ensuing drive on a 37-yard run. The very next play Laudenslager would score from 29 yards out to give the Eagles a 27-14 lead less than five minutes into the second half.
Mifflinburg continued to keep things close, never letting the Eagles get too comfortable. On the drive following the Eagles going up 27-14, Reitz led the team right back down the field on a 13-play drive that took six and a half minutes off the clock. He eventually scored the rushing touchdown with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it a 27-21 game.
On Line Mountain’s next drive it was Feese and Laudenslager again fueling the offense. This time Laudenslager ripped off another long run for a score, this one from 76 yards away. The Eagles faked the point after attempt, as holder Nolan Baumert popped up from his crouching position and lobbed the ball to a wide open Laudenslager in the back of the endzone. This game Line Mountain a much more comfortable 14-point advantage.
“We’ve been preached to the last two weeks that we had to execute.” said Feese. “We hadn’t been fast and physical like we had been the whole year. Tonight, we did what we needed to.”
Line Mountain would end up going up 21 points, but Mifflinburg scored twice in the final five minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, it was too little too late.
“Defending the option is tough,” said Dressler. “Especially when you don’t see it very often. It wasn’t a lack of effort tonight, that’s for sure. I’m very proud of the team. They all battled hard.”
Reitz scored his fourth and final rushing touchdown of the night as time expired in the game. A point after opportunity was not attempted, and the Eagles locked up a season-ending 42-34 victory.
“5-3 is a much better feeling than 4-4.” said Coach Carson of his team’s season. “I thought we deserved a winning season for our seniors and for ourselves to come out and give the kind of effort we needed to tonight to finish the year on a positive note was really big.”
The winning season was Line Mountain’s first since going 7-5 back in 2017.
Coach Dressler was also proud of the 5-5 record his Wildcats were able to put together on the season.
“This has been one of my most memorable seasons.” he said. “At the beginning of the season a lot of people didn’t expect much out of us. Everybody looks at names and returning starters, but our kids just showed up every week. The effort they gave made this team awesome. They gave everything they had. It was a good season.”
The Wildcats’ .500 season is the team’s first full season (regular season and playoffs combined) at or above .500 since 2011 when the team went 8-3.
Line Mountain 42, Mifflinburg 34
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mifflinburg 7 7 7 13 — 34
Line Mountain 13 0 14 15 — 42
LM—Jacob Feese 29-yard run (PAT No Good), 7:42.
M—Lucas Whittaker 7-yard reception from Jacob Reitz (Gabe Stetler PAT Good), 2:44
LM—Garrett Laudenslager 56-yard run (Cameron Smeltz PAT Good), 1:48
M—Reitz 9-yard run (Stetler PAT Good), 4:45.
LM—Feese 78-yard run (Smeltz PAT Good), 11:17.
LM—Laudenslager 29-yard run (Smeltz PAT Good), 7:01
M—Reitz 2-yard run (Stetler PAT Good), 0:32
LM—Laudenslager 76-yard run (2 pt. conversion good Laudenslager reception from Nolan Baumert), 10:57.
LM—Smeltz 12-yard reception from Feese (Smeltz PAT Good), 7:41
M—Reitz 1-yard run (Stetler PAT Good), 5:12
M—Reitz 6-yard run (No PAT Attempt), 0:00
TEAM STATISTICS M LM
First downs 24 13
Total yards 496 497
Rushes-yards 36-172 43-486
Yards passing 324 11
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 22-33-1 2-2-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 4-42 8-69
RUSHING—Mifflinburg: Andrew Diehl 13-78, Reitz 14-50 4TD, Cade Dressler 5-26, John Darrup 2-10, Tyler Foltz 1-5, Aaron Hackenburg 1-3. Line Mountain: Laudenslager 16-225 3TD, Feese 15-222 2TD, Beau Keim 10-38, Chandon Maurer 1-1, Dominick Bridi 1-0.
PASSING—Mifflinburg: Reitz 22-33 324 yards, TD, INT. Line Mountain: Feese 2-2 11 yards, TD.
RECEIVING—Mifflinburg: Hackenburg 5-104, Jacob Bingaman 6-96, Diehl 6-56, Cannon Griffith 3-51, Whittaker 2-17 TD. Line Mountain: Smeltz 1-12 TD, Laudenslager 1-(-1).
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