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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

4th Down Magazine’s game balls for the week of Oct. 16-17

Each week, our crew will dish out ‘Game Balls” to athletes who turned in impressive performances across our coverage area. Here are our selections for Week of Oct. 16-17 of the regular season. 

Jake Adams’s Game Balls

Defensive backs, Mechanicsburg: Partial credit to a defensive line that was sharp on the pass rush despite not recording a sack. The Wildcats’ defensive backs benefited greatly and set up the potent offense with five interceptions from five different players in Friday’s 40-7 win at Susquehanna Township. Yes … five players picked off Donald Leach in a blowout. Those names: James Anderson, Taylor Shearer, Nick Morrison, Sam DeLuca and Caleb Brubaker. Mechanicsburg has 11 picks already this season. I imagine that leads the Mid-Penn. 

Micah Brubaker, QB, Mechanicsburg: Yes, I’m going with the rare two-fer. It’d be unfair to exclude Brubaker following the best game of his season. He’s been on this list before for lesser performances, so his 16-of-22, 224-yard night passing deserves a game ball. Brubaker fired three touchdowns, all of which were impressive in their accuracy and daring, and ran for another while accumulating more than 70 yards on the ground. He’s been superbly accurate all year and dangerous in so many ways for the unbeaten Wildcats.

Gavin Feliciano, K, Red Land: Let’s give a kicker some props. Feliciano knocked two field goals through the uprights during a 20-7 win over Lower Dauphin, giving him three for the season. His longest of the night was a 37-yarder. He also has six extra points this season, giving him 15 points so far this season.

Andy Shay’s Game Balls

Sy Burgos, RB, East Pennsboro: The 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior exploded in the second half and sparked a dramatic comeback for the now 3-1 East Pennsboro. How ‘bout them Panthers!! Burgos and company trailed Waynesboro 28-14 at halftime and by a point (28-27) heading into the fourth quarter. East Pennsboro won going away after rolling up 26 unanswered in the second half. Burgos scored three of the Panthers’ four second-half touchdowns, including the game winner on a 69-yard scamper with 6:49 to play. He finished with four touchdowns runs on only seven carries ﹘ pretty good touch-to-touchdown ratio, I’d say ﹘ and had 116 yards for a nifty 16.6 yards per carry average. His other touchdown runs covered 8, 12 and 28 yards. Four touchdowns on seven carries always gets a game ball.

Tajae Broadie, DE-FB, Middletown: At 6-4 and 220 pounds the Blue Raiders’ athletic junior is hard to miss on the field watching warm-ups. He’s bigger than a couple of Middletown’s offensive lineman, and the cruel part for opponents is they hand him the ball as a fullback. Broadie is the most diversely talented player on the field most nights, and when a guy performs at or beyond those expectations it’s a joy to watch. His impact for the Blue Raiders is on both sides of the ball, and to beat Boiling Springs the Blue Raiders needed him to deliver. And Broadie did just that by accounting for 84 total yards (62 rushing, 22 receiving) offensively on 12 touches (10 carries, 2 receptions) in the 20-16 victory. He also had a sack, terrorized the Bubblers QB when he dropped back to pass all game, forced a fumble and blocked an extra point on special teams. That’s an all-around game right there.

Brycen Hassinger, QB, Mifflin County: Nobody had run the ball with any success against Hershey this season until the 6-2, 190-pound senior carved up the Trojans for 155 yards. The Huskies still fell to Hershey 24-14, but it took a stellar goal-line stand by the Trojans defense to keep Hassinger and company at a comfortable distance. Mifflin County runs the veer, and with the QB pulling the trigger and making those reads, the offense goes as he goes. Eclipsing the 150-yard mark and scoring a touchdown against a defense that has given up next to nothing on the ground all season is a special game and deserves a game ball. The final result is irrelevant when you are the player on the field who had the biggest impact on the game for your team.

Adam Kulikowski’s Game Balls

Cam Ochs, WR, Camp Hill: This cat has quickly become the favorite target of senior QB Daniel Shuster–and for good reason. The lanky wideout showed off some soft hands with a dazzling one-hand grab on a 62-yard touchdown reception against Steel-High. He finished the afternoon with 174 stripes on five receptions in the 36-26 loss to the Rollers.

Tymir Jackson, RB-DT, Middletown: The Bubblers defensive front seven likely needed ice baths after Friday night’s battle against the Blue Raiders. That’s what happens when you face off against a bruising back like the 5-11, 220-pound Jackson. The senior battered Boilings Springs 29 times for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Blue Raiders’ 20-16 victory against its Capital Division foe. 

Michael Bullock’s Game Balls

Aiden Wiest, RB, Upper Dauphin: One of three Trojans backs to rush for 100 or more yards — there nearly was a fourth — Wiest rolled up 167 yards on just 10 attempts and scored three times as UD outran Halifax 38-28 in Mid-Penn Liberty play. UD’s ground game piled up 483 yards on 42 attempts (11.5 ypc) and totaled five touchdowns. Wiest also caught one pass for 22 yards as the Trojans totaled 600-plus yards of offense.

Manny O’Donell, WR, Juniata: O’Donell was a factor on the flanks, catching four passes for 73 yards and touchdowns covering 24 and 22 yards as the Indians downed Lancaster Catholic 28-20 in overtime. Both of O’Donell’s scores arrived in the first half as Kurt Condo’s bunch opened a 14-10 lead on the road.

Ryan Stahl, WR-DB, Halifax: Stahl showed why he’s Halifax’s Swiss Army knife, as the multi-talented senior caught 11 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown in the Wildcats’ 38-28 loss to Upper Dauphin. Also completed his lone pass for a 19-yard TD while making 14 stops on the defensive side of the ball.

Jackson Yoder, C-ILB, Williams Valley: Yoder totaled 13 tackles from his inside backer spot — including one for a loss — as the Vikings trimmed Schuylkill Haven 22-7 in Schuylkill 2 action. Yoder also was part of an offensive front that opened enough holes so freshman Alex Achenbach could roll up 100-plus yards and one score.

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