Lewisburg Overcomes Mifflinburg
LEWISBURG: The 2011 version of the “Little Brown Jug Game” featured a strong 7-2 Green Dragon team hosting a scrappy 8-1 Wildcat squad from Mifflinburg. The Union County rivals were playing not just for bragging rights, but for potential home-field advantage through the District IV playoffs. In Heartland Conference Division I & II crossover play they faced two common opponents in Milton(5-5) and Central Columbia(3-7) with very similar outcomes. So, as with most rivalries, you had to just throw out the records and see what happened on the field, and what happened there was not to the liking of the Wilcats…
Mifflinburg opened and closed this game with an interception. The first one, at 9:51 of the opening quarter, by Caleb Saffell put them in a hole,. The second, by Jared Laino with less than 2 minutes to play, insured they would have no chance of climbing out of that hole. In between were 17 penalty flags for over 100 yards, miscues, and lots of spirited play from both sides. In the end, the difference was due to great field position for Lewisburg after an interception, a fumble, a shanked punt, and a fumbled punt snap. The Green Dargons scored on three of those Wildcat miscues and kept the Miflinburg offense from gaining any traction for most of the night.
Lewisburg’s first drive only required them to travel 29 yards, and was capped by a 13 yard reverse by Brandon Smith. The 2-point conversion failed leaving the score 6 – 0. Next Saffell recovered a fumble, giving the Dragons a 55 yard field. Merle Moscarello broke loose for 20, and Cam Cassels gained ten more before he drew an interference call which yeilded a first & goal at the one yard line. Moscarello punched it in and a toss to Smith for two brought the score to 14 – 0.
The Dragon defense was stout and kept Mifflinburg pinned back. This led to the short punt and a 39 yard drive for Lewisburg’s final score of the first half. Cassels connected with Moscarello for a nine yard gain, then Smith for another 18. Laino fought his way 12 yards to within inches of the goal before Moscarello dove in for his second touchdown making it 21 – 0.
Mifflinburg was able to respond with the longest drive of the night, traveling 63 yards on 13 plays before Kyle Failor crossed the line on a one yard score. The teams hit the lockers with 21 – 7 on the board. After the break, both defenses took center stage. The Wildcats forced the Dragons to punt from their own end-zone, when a low snap caused the punter to have to reach for the ball and his knee touched the turf. This gave Mifflinburg a safety and a free kick. The Wildcats were unable to take advantage of the resulting field-position and both squads battled back-and-forth with little advantage. Lewisburg tacked on one more touchdown at the close of the third quarter after Cassels hit Laino in the flat and he broke tackles and fought his way 57 yards to the two yard-line, being drug down by his face-mask. Coach Tilford rewarded Laino’s effort by giving him the call on the one yard TD run.
The Dragons had one more scoring chance late in the game, when a bobbled snap on a punt gave them the ball at Mifflinburg’s 22. However, a fumbled exchange gave the Wildcats the ball at their own four. Three plays later Failor’s pass was picked-off by Laino and the Green Dragons ran out the clock to end the game at 28 – 9.
MIFFLINBURG(8-2) held the top spot in District IV “AA” until their overtime loss to Athens(8-2) in week eight. With this second loss they find themselves somewhere in the middle of a very tight pack for the playoffs. There is a good chance they will have to face Lewisburg again in a week or two. In all, they were only able to muster 150 yards of total offense in their final regular-season game. 89 yards came on the ground with 35 rushing attempts (2.54 yds./carry avg.), and passing was 7 of 16 for 61 yards and two interceptions.
LEWISBURG improved to 8-2 and possible home-field advantage. They gained 229 yards of total offense with 145 yards and all four touchdowns on the ground, and three of four passing for 84 yards. More importantly they controlled the ball and the tempo of the game. Their only two loses were close ones to state ranked teams, one of which they will likely meet again in top-seeded Mount Carmel(9-1).
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