Wildcats shutout Spartans
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MIFFLINBURG – A strong defensive performance and the ability to run the ball for big chunk plays led the Mifflinburg Wildcats to a 28-0 home shutout against visiting Hughesville Friday night.
The Mifflinburg defense forced four turnovers in the game – three interceptions and a fumble recovery – and ran the ball for over eight yards per carry in the victory.
The win was the third in a row for the Wildcats and their fourth of the season, improving the team to 4-3 on the year.
“Having momentum going into playoffs is great.” said coach Jason Dressler. “Just the wins for us is great for the boys. The season started off rough but finishing so far at 4-3 is really good for the players, the team, the school and the program.”
The game began with Mifflinburg turning the ball over themselves. After forcing a three-and-out and a punting situation for the Spartans, Mifflinburg muffed the punt and gave the ball right back to the Spartans in plus territory. The Mifflinburg defense stepped up and delivered again, halting a five-play drive, and forcing another Hughesville punt.
The two drives to open the game by Hughesville resulted in -5 yards of total offense, as the Mifflinburg defense sacked Hughesville quarterback Joseph Swink three times in the first eight plays of the game. Emmanuel Ulrich, Quintin Doane and Josh Antonyuk were responsible for the three sacks.
A coffin corner punt set Mifflinburg up deep in its own territory for its first offensive drive of the game. The Wildcats started at their own five-yard line, and in an attempt to get some breathing room from their own endzone, Colin Miller broke a 95-yard run up the right sideline for the opening score of the game.
“They had a good punt. They pinned us all the way back at the five-yard line.” said Miller. “Our line stepped up and opened the hole for me. It got us all pumped up and ready to go for the rest of the game.”
On the ensuing Mifflinburg drive the Wildcats struck again. This time the team pieced together an eight-play drive, mixing run and pass plays equally before John Darrup broke away on a 35-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the second quarter. A missed extra point put Mifflinburg up 13-0.
It was the defense stepping up yet again on the following drive. After forcing a third three-and-out in four drives for the Spartans, a bad snap on fourth-and-eight sailed way over the punter’s head and into the Hughesville endzone. The Hughesville punter picked the ball up and threw it out of bound, but with no receiver in the area and the ball not making it back to the line of scrimmage, intentional grounding was called in the endzone, earning a safety and two points for the home team.
The result of the safety put Mifflinburg up 15-0 and gave the home team the ball back with 9:51 remaining in the opening half. Once again the offense made it look easy, driving the field in just under four minutes to pick up a third touchdown in the game.
With 6:04 on the clock, and facing a second-and-eight, Mifflinburg quarterback Jacob Reitz dropped back and sailed a long pass into the endzone for Cannon Griffith. Griffith came down in the endzone for the score to put Mifflinburg up 22-0 which would be the halftime score.
At the half Mifflinburg was firing on all cylinders, outgaining the Hughesville offense 273-23 in total yardage.
The Spartans’ best chance to score came on the team’s opening drive of the second half. The visitors recovered a Mifflinburg fumble near midfield and was able to drive all the way down to the Mifflinburg nine-yard line. The nine-play drive ended on third-and-goal when a trick play went awry for the Spartans, ending in the team’s second interception thrown of the night.
Mifflinburg took back over at their own nine-yard line and drove the length of the field for their final score of the game. An eight-play drive culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by fullback Cade Dressler.
The next two Hughesville drives also ended in turnovers, with the Mifflinburg defense forcing a third interception and a fumble recovery. Carter Breed picked off a pair of the three interceptions with Emmanuel Ulrich adding one himself.
All the turnovers kept Hughesville off the scoreboard and preserved the shutout win for Mifflinburg.
“This is what I wanted to see out of the defense tonight,” said Dressler of the shutout performance. “More aggressive ball playing. Much better than we’ve seen the last two weeks. Stepping up with good sound defense. I’m proud of the stuff the defense did for us tonight.”
“I’m proud of the defense,” added Miller. “They all stepped up tonight. We wanted the goose egg and we got it because everyone put their hearts out on the line.”
Miller finished the game as the leading rusher and receiver for the Mifflinburg offense. He ran the ball 10 times for 172 yards and caught three passes in the game for 34 yards.
“All week coach said, ‘run game, run game, run game’ and he was right. If you dominate the run game, you dominate the game.” said Miller of the team’s performance. “Our line stepped up. They opened up some beautiful holes for us.”
The win puts Mifflinburg at 4-3 on the season as they prep for a playoff run.
“Oh yeah. Love the momentum,” said Miller. “Everyone is very excited. We’re all pumped up and ready to go in the playoffs.”
Hughesville’s leading offensive producer in the game was fullback Colton Yocum. Yocum ran the ball 14 times and accounted for 68 of the Spartans’ 81 rushing yards in the game.
Hughesville dropped to 1-6 on the season with the loss.
Mifflinburg 28, Hughesville 0
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hughesville 0 0 0 0 — 0
Mifflinburg 7 15 6 0 — 0
M—Colin Miller 95-yard run (Gabe Stetler PAT Good), 5:49.
M—John Darrup 35-yard run (PAT No Good), 11:51.
M—TEAM run -26 yards, SAFETY, 9:51
M—Cannon Griffith 18-yard reception from Jacob Reitz (Stetler PAT Good), 6:04
M—Cade Dressler 2-yard run (PAT No Good), 3:32.
TEAM STATISTICS H M
First downs 10 21
Total yards 120 475
Rushes-yards 36-81 44-368
Yards passing 39 107
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-12-3 9-12-3
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 4-30 3-8
RUSHING—Hughesville: Colton Yocum 14-68, Brenden Knight 4-25, Michael Dylina 3-9, Devin Swank 5-7, Joseph Swink 6-2, Aiden Barlett 2-(-3), TEAM 2-(27). Mifflinburg: Miller 10-172 TD, Tyler Foltz 15-88, Darrup 5-62 TD, Camden Smith 4-20, Reitz 7-14, Quintin Doane 2-10, Cade Dressler 1-2 TD.
PASSING—Hughesville: Swink 4-11 39 yards, 2 INT, Swank 0-1, INT. Mifflinburg: Reitz 9-12 107 yards, TD, INT.
RECEIVING—Hughesville: Justin Fowler 2-27, Dylina 2-12. Mifflinburg: Miller 3-34, Barlett 1-20, Griffith 1-18 TD, Jacob Bingaman 2-15, Lucas Whittaker 1-11, Carter Breed 1-9.
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