BELLEFONTE — When Mifflin County made its first-ever visit to Rogers Stadium Friday night, it marked the first chapter of a new era in Central Pennsylvania football.
Although Bellefonte had played both Indian Valley and Lewistown in previous years, it was the first time the Red Raiders would face the “new” jointure on the gridiron.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Redmen are not going to be real anxious for the second meeting in two weeks at Mitchell Field as the Huskies belted the Raiders, 56-11.
“We played pretty well up to a point in two of the facets of the game,” said Bellefonte head coach Duffy Besch. “We are not making plays and making stops and right now, we aren’t jelling very well defensively. We aren’t tackling very well and although we have been working on it, it is not jelling the way it needs to.”
Mifflin County wasted no time asserting itself offensively as the Huskies scored on their first two offensive possessions for a quick 14-0 lead. Doing the honors for MC were Harry Lowber on a 5-yard run followed by a 41-yard scamper by David Yale.
Not to run away and hide, the Raiders set up shop at the Mifflin County 13 thanks to an 82-yard kickoff return by Bill Thompson. Three plays later, quarterback Jordan Fye called his own number and took it seven yards to the house for the only Raider touchdown of the night. A Fye to Tyler Haslet pass cut the Mifflin County lead to 14-8.
“Our defense wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it to be early in the game,” said Mifflin County head coach Steve Hayes. “Bellefonte made some real nice plays and that ‘2’ kid (Malik Breon) can play. He really knows how to set up his returns.”
Like most games, Hayes felt that the game was won at the line of scrimmage.
“I think physically we just got hot tonight,” he said. “They made that touchdown to come back, but we responded to the challenge and even though they were down, I thought Bellefonte played real hard right to the end.”
After John McClay picked off a Fye pass in the red zone in the first period, McClay’s teammate, Harry Lowber, also came up with a pick in the MC end zone to turn the Raiders away from the well with an empty bucket.
“Right now, Harry Lowber is playing really well,” praised Hayes. “He is getting a good read on the ball and is judging it really well. He anticipates where it is coming down and is really doing a good job getting to the spot. He is probably our best corner(back) and might be one of the best in the area. Right now he is playing very well on both sides of the ball.”
Still holding on to a precarious 14-8 lead, the Huskies exploded for three scores in the second period to go on top 33-8 at halftime and they never looked back.
Igniting the Husky explosion were Yale with a 13-yard run, Nick Lauver with a 62-yard punt return and Yale again from three yards out for his third of four scores on the evening. For the night, Yale finished with 192 yards on 21 carries good for the four touchdowns.
“The big guys took charge of the front and David ran real well,” said Hayes. “He got a little tweak at the end, but he’ll be OK and I am real happy for him. This was his biggest game of the season thus far. He uses his whole body, he runs hard and he just doesn’t go down. He stays on his feet and just pounds the rock and that is good stuff.”
Just when Besch and his crew thought things couldn’t get worse, they did as a snap from center went out of the end zone for a safety and 13 seconds later, Yale completed his scoring for the night from seven yards out for the TD.
Timmy Beck hauled in a 59-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Nathan Martin and following a 33-yard field goal by Bellefonte’s Adam Johnson, Husky reserve running back Michael Presha capped the scoring in the game with a 17-yard touchdown jaunt.
Although disappointed with the defensive play of his Raiders, Besch did see some bright spots when his squad had the ball.
“I thought we played pretty offensively,” he said. “We were able to run the ball and pass the ball a little bit and as a result, we were able to generate some drives. From that standpoint, we had some positives. We need to really find an identify right now, but given where we are at, we are looking at it as a new season. We have five games left and if things turn around, we could finish five-and-five and right now, that would be a big success for us.”
As for the three interceptions, Besch felt it was largely due to the youth of his players.
“It comes down to young kids trying to make plays,” he said. “I preach to them all year about trying to make aggressive plays. If they are being aggressive in trying to make plays, mistakes are going to happen. It is really hard to hold it against them when they are trying to make plays and things don’t go as planned. What it boils down to is that we have to find some continuity that leads to consistency every time we have the ball. We show the sparks, but as I told the kids, you can have all the sparks you want, but you have to light the fire and let it burn. If you do that, things will come together.”
Mifflin County (3-2) 14 19 16 7 — 56
Bellefonte (0-5) 8 0 0 3 — 11
MC — Harry Lowber 5 run (Alex Leight kick)(8:34)
MC — David Yale 41 run (Leight kick)(3:05
BEL — Jordan Fye 7 run (Fye to Tyler Haslet pass)(1:16
MC — Yale 13 run (kick failed)(6:24)
MC — Nick Lauver 62 punt return (Leight kick)(3:27)
MC — Yale 3 run (kick failed)(:07)
MC — Team Safety (snap went out of end zone)(9:26(
MC — Yale 7 run (Leight kick)(9:13)
MC — Timmy Beck 59 pass from Nathan Martin (Leight kick)(1:53)
BEL — Adam Johnson 33 DFG. (7:51)
MC — Michael Presha 17 run (Leight kick)(6:38)
Team Statistics MC BEL
First Downs 20 9
Rushes-Yards 42-306 25-6
Passing Yards 59 101
Passing 1-2-0 12-24-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-47 2-20
MC: David Yale 21-192, 4 TDs; Harry Lowber 4-39, Kyle Kahley 4-28, Shane Whalen 5-27, Cody Dunmire 4-14, Nathan Martin 1-6, Heath Hidlay 1-2, Timmy Beck 1-minus 1; Neil Martin 1-minus 1.
BEL: Jordan Fye 8-16, 1 TD; Colin Turner 9-7, Brian White 2-3, Alex Kaltenbach 2-3, Nick Leiter 1-2, Cody Hartle 2-2, Team 1-minus 27.
MC: Nathan Martin 1-1, 59 yards, 1 TD; Shane Whalen 0-1.
BEL: Jordan Fye 12-21, 83 yards, 3 interceptions; Nick Leiter 0-2.
MC: Timmy Beck 1-59, 1 TD.
BEL: Malik Breon 4-27, Tyler Haslet 2-21, Colin Turner 3-18, Brandon Shuey 1-18, Jesse Hocker 2-17.