Mustangs earn first win of season
Halfback Hunter Wolfley becomes the first player in Midd-West history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
MIDDLEBURG – Coming into Friday night’s matchup with the visiting Hughesville Spartans, Midd-West running back Hunter Wolfley needed roughly 100 yards to crack 1,000 rushing yards on the season.
Coming off a 452-yard performance the previous week those 100 yards seemed like child’s play, and they were. Wolfley eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the early second quarter and finished the game with 32 carries for 243 yards and two scores as the Midd-West Mustangs earned their first win of the season in a 31-20 victory over Hughesville.
“It feels pretty good,” said Midd-West coach Brad Hatter about the team’s first victory of the season. “The kids have never given up. We’ve asked them not to do that and they’ve kept persevering.”
The 1,000-yard feat was extra significant for Wolfley, as he becomes the first player in Midd-West school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
“It’s something not many people get to accomplish,” said Wolfley on becoming the first player in school history with a 1,000-yard rushing season. “We’ve only had our football team for three years, but somebody has to be the first one and I’m glad it was me.”
The night began being dominated by the Mustangs in time of possession, but the scoreboard told a different story. Through one-quarter of play, Hughesville had possessed the ball for less than three minutes, but the game remained scoreless.
Midd-West started with the ball and put together a 10-play drive that eventually stalled out in Hughesville territory at the Spartans’ 36-yard line.
Hughesville took over from there but lost a fumble on the sixth play from scrimmage while driving deep in Midd-West territory.
Midd-West got the ball back, but a turnover of its own – an interception on the fifth play of the drive – halted the home team’s momentum yet again.
Midd-West would get the ball right back, as on the opening play for Hughesville, a botched snap ended up rolling around on the ground and was recovered by the defense, putting Midd-West in Hughesville territory with possession.
Things started opening up for both offenses after that. On the opening play of the second quarter, fullback Trey Lauver rumbled in from two yards out for the opening score of the game. Hughesville was able to respond quickly. On a third-and-20 from the Spartans’ own 16-yard line, quarterback Joseph Swink rolled left and dropped a dime to a wide-open Brenden Knight deep down the middle for a pickup of 54 yards.
Knight ended up getting his number called to cap off the drive four plays later, diving into the endzone on a three-yard rush. The PAT was no good and Midd-West clung to a 7-6 lead.
On the Mustangs’ ensuing drive, Wolfley eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the game and the 1,000-yard mark on the season when he broke a 49-yard touchdown run for his first of two scores in the game. The score put Midd-West up by eight with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half.
Hughesville wasn’t finished scoring in the opening half, as the team used another pair of big plays to push the ball down field quickly. Devin Swank opened the drive with a 36-yard run and then three plays later was on the receiving end of a 43-yard catch and run.
Swank capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run, putting Hughesville down 14-12. The Spartans decided to go for the game-tying two-point conversion despite the game still being in the first half. Hughesville quarterback Swink dropped back and delivered a dart to Justin Fowler in the endzone to knot things up at 14-apiece, which would be the halftime score.
Midd-West didn’t mess around reacquiring the lead in the third quarter. After forcing a three-and-out to begin the frame, the team drive right down the field covering 55 yards on five plays. Wolfley capped off the drive with a 14-yard run and the Mustangs went up 21-14.
The Mustangs scored again on the ensuing possession, this time on a time-consuming drive that put the team up two scores.
The Mustangs drove 77 yards on a 12-play drive that took 5:54 off the clock as the third quarter became the fourth. Eli Swan found the endzone on the drive, scoring on a 16-yard reception.
Swan was the only player to catch a pass for the Mustangs in the game as he hauled in six receptions for 70 yards and a score.
Needing a score, the Hughesville offense never got a chance to take the field. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the Mustangs the ball in field goal range to essentially put the game away. The fumble was the fourth of the game lost by the Spartans.
“I don’t know what the statistics are about turnover ratio and winning games, but I know it’s not good when you have four,” said Hughesville coach Adam Gehr. “That was our Achilles heel tonight. We were in a position to score early and we fumbled inside the 20. It’s things like that we just can’t do.”
The Mustangs ended up settling for a field goal, as freshman kicker Ryland Portzline knocked a 26-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Mustangs a three-score advantage at 31-14.
Hughesville scored with five minutes left on a four-yard run by Swink but never came close to scoring again as the Mustangs earned their first win on the season in a 31-20 game.
“We needed this,” said Hatter, “I don’t think we turned the ball over at all on offense. We’ve preached to take care of the football and tonight we were able to do that and take advantage of some stuff.”
Midd-West won the turnover battle in the game, taking the ball away four times and not giving it away at all.
Hatter also praised his talented running back following his record-breaking performance.
“(Wolfley) deserves it,” he said, “He comes to work every day. He battles through injuries, he leads by example and we’re just thankful every day that he’s on our team because of what he brings to our program, because of what he brings to our team, and how he can change a game.”
Wolfley’s 243 yards led all players by far in the game.
Midd-West (1-5) travels to Bloomsburg (3-3) next week to take on the Black Panthers. Hughesville (1-5) hits the road to take on Mifflinburg (3-3) who is looking for a third consecutive win.
Midd-West 31, Hughesville 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hughesville 0 14 0 6 — 20
Midd-West 0 14 7 10 — 31
MW—Trey Lauver 2-yard run (Ryland Portzline PAT Good), 11:56.
H—Brenden Knight 3-yard run (PAT No Good), 8:13
MW—Hunter Wolfley 49-yard run (Portzline PAT Good), 5:34
H—Devin Swank 3-yard run (2 pt. conversion good. Justin Fowler reception from Joseph Swink), 2:55
MW—Wolfley 14-yard run (Portzline PAT Good), 8:11.
MW—Eli Swan 16-yard reception from Christian Regester (Portzline PAT Good), 10:42.
MW—Portzline 25-yard field goal, 8:01
H—Joseph Swink 4-yard run (PAT No Good), 5:09
TEAM STATISTICS H MW
First downs 12 18
Total yards 302 327
Rushes-yards 27-83 47-257
Yards passing 219 70
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 10-18-0 6-12-1
Fumbles-lost 4-4 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-26 4-48
RUSHING—Hughesville: Swank 5-76 TD, Colton Yocum 9-25, Michael Dylina 2-6, Knight 1-3 TD, Swink 8-(-10) TD, TEAM 2-(-17). Midd-West: Wolfley 32-243 2TD, Lauver 9-33 TD, Christian Regester 4-(-14), TEAM 2-(-5).
PASSING—Hughesville: Swink 10-18 219 yards. Midd-West: Regester 6-12 70 yards, TD, INT.
RECEIVING—Hughesville: Swank 5-119, Knight 1-54, Justin Fowler 3-40, Angelo Ferrigno 1-6. Midd-West: Swan 6-70 TD.
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