As the seven football programs that call the Mid-Penn Liberty Division home ready for their respective league openers, only one can say they’re going in on a winning note.
And – drum roll, please – that club is Earl Mosley’s youthful Halifax Wildcats.
That’s right, only Halifax (1-2) is heading into Mid-Penn Liberty play on a one-game winning streak. And Mosley’s Wildcats generated all sorts of positive waves by walloping Hancock (Md.) by a 53-0 score. By the way, all 53 of those points arrived before halftime.
Halifax encountered little to no resistance on the ground, rolling up 441 rushing yards against its Maryland visitors while watching two runners crack the 100-yard barrier. Freshman Cohen Bechtel needed just six carries to amass 188 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior hammer Isaac Miller added 100 rushing yards on eight attempts while scoring twice, while Peter Ranck chimed in with 65 yards and one score on a mere three totes.
Halifax attempted just three passes in its lopsided victory, completing one as freshman QB Teegan Carroll hooked up with Ranck on a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Miller also was a beast defensively, totaling 10 tackles, including one for loss. Carroll booked the ‘Cats’ lone quarterback sack, but he also fell on one of Hancock’s three lost fumbles.
Well, making the lengthy journey to northern Dauphin County is a James Buchanan contingent (2-1) that defeated York County Tech and Clear Spring (Md.) in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, yet were upended 21-14 by a Biglerville side that rushed for 204 yards against the Rockets.
Seth Lady caused much of the damage for the Canners (2-1), rushing 14 times for 161 yards and touchdowns covering 3, 56 and 63 yards. Lady’s final TD, which snapped a 14-14 tie and turned out to be the game-winner, arrived with 8:22 to play in the third quarter.
Conversely, Jacob Frey spearheaded a JB rushing attack that totaled 205 yards on the ground by picking up 119 yards on 29 attempts. Frey’s 41-yard TD pulled JB even 63 seconds before Lady’s game-winning score, but Cliff Pine’s club couldn’t convert the 2-point try and take the lead.
John Stoner added an 8-yard TD run for JB.
Stoner completed 7 of his 11 pass attempts for 134 yards – with five throws going to Spencer Line for 115 yards. JB also was pestered by racking up 12 penalties for 88 yards.
Trojans, Blackhawks looking to open league play in winning fashion
Unable to get its potentially combustible Pistol Wing-T cranked up and humming on every possible cylinder last weekend, Upper Dauphin (1-2) is hoping to rejuvenate its offensive attack this weekend when Susquenita (1-2) motors into Elizabethville.
Yet despite its inability to cash in repeatedly, Kent Smeltz’s Trojans trailed undefeated by just two points (14-12) heading into the final quarter. UD, however, never could get closer as the pass-happy Lions trucked home after pocketing a 26-12 triumph.
Although Branden Fetterhoff (11-53) and Brady Morgan (15-46) paced the Trojans’ run game, UD’s lone rushing score came from Konner Walker. UD’s other touchdown came through the air as Aidan Bingaman found Landon Mace. Regardless, the Trojans totaled just 213 yards.
UD’s defense held up fairly well against Camp Hill’s vaunted passing attack, limiting the Lions to 150 yards while yielding three TDs. Caleb Snyder led the Trojans with eight tackles – including three behind the line of scrimmage – and added one quarterback sack.
The Trojans finished with six sacks and 11 tackles for loss, although those numbers didn’t impact the final result. Four lost fumbles also proved problematic for Smeltz’s bunch.
Susquenita was roughed up at home for the second time in as many tries, surrendering 384 offensive yards to a Schuylkill Valley club that was winless when the Panthers arrived in Cove. Schuylkill Valley picked up 250 yards on the ground, which might have UD salivating.
Derek Gibney threw one touchdown pass – twin brother Drew latched on – and crashed over for the Blackhawks’ other TD. Those two may need to play big against the host Trojans.
Juniata and Newport to renew lengthy rivalry … in Mifflintown
Undoubtedly steamed after dropping its second straight outing, Kurt Condo’s Juniata squad (1-2) will be trying to rebound from consecutive setbacks to Selinsgrove (17-14) and West Perry (24-0) when winless Newport (0-3) strides into the Kling for the umpteenth time.
Todd Rothermel’s Buffaloes conceded 461 offensive yards one week ago in a 47-0 loss to Big Spring – with 334 coming on the ground. Conversely, the ‘Port managed just 157 total yards, with Aiden Dishman rushing 16 times for 83 lengths. Two fumbles also stung the Buffs.
Juniata struggled mightily when it had the ball, totaling merely 99 yards against the undefeated Mustangs. Steady senior Waylon Ehrenzeller picked up 48 rushing 48 yards on 11 attempts and caught one pass, but he was all over the place defensively (15 tackles/one fumble recovery).
In case anyone needs a timely reminder, Condo’s Indians are the reigning Mid-Penn Liberty Division champions after skipping through the 2021 regular season with a perfect 6-0 mark.
One more non-league scrap awaits Line Mountain
With everyone else in the Mid-Penn Liberty engaged in divisional play this weekend, Line Mountain (0-3) will try to break into the win column when Marian Catholic (2-1) steams into lower Northumberland County’s Glenn Ressler Field.
Brandon Carson’s Eagles were originally scheduled to entertain Middletown, but a Week 4 opening in Line Mountain’s schedule developed when a hazing incident led to the Blue Raiders scrapping the 2022 campaign and sending lots of folks scrambling to find opponents.
While Line Mountain’s opponents thus far have a combined 9-0 mark, the Eagles nearly dealt Tri-Valley its first setback – but the Bulldogs used a Jake Scheib short-yardage blast with just over 50 seconds to go to take their first lead and pull out a 35-28 victory.
Nolan Baumert rushed for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Carson’s Eagles, while Chandon Maurer and Ian Bates also cashed in on short TD runs. Line Mountain also received production from Tharon Wagner (3 carries, 26 yards/2 receptions, 42 yards), who was making his first varsity appearance since the 2020 season.
Maurer and Max Johnson paced the Line Mountain defense with nine tackles and 2.5 stops for loss, while Quinn Dunkelberger chipped in a handful of hits, one tackle for loss and a QB sack. Johnson and Brayden Boyer also posted sacks while sharing a handful of hurries.
Marian outslugged Catasauqua 12-7 in a matchup of Colonial-Schuylkill League squads that play in different divisions. Bruce Hopeck’s 16-yard touchdown pass to giant tight end Michael Gelatko (3-34) accounted for one score, while Jesse Rodino’s blocked punt in the final two minutes set up Matt Martin’s game-winning 10-yard TD run.
Martin is the Colts’ top rusher with 355 yards on 76 carries (5 touchdowns) – he finished with 62 yards on 18 carries against Catty – but Stan Dakosty’s club has only attempted 22 throws. Martin (35), Joe Walco (32) and James Rodino (29) are Marian’s top three tacklers.