Boys Soccer bests Trinity, upends Carlisle in Final

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photos by Sam Getty, For The Sentinel

For the full article and photos of the game, click here.

MECHANICSBURG- The Wildcat boys took their division of the Booster Club Soccer Tournament by scoring two early goals and holding the Thundering Herd scoreless in a 3-0 win at the Northside Pitch.

The Wildcats beat Trinity 4-1 in the opening game while the Herd beat Southwestern 2-0 to reach the championship game. Trinity beat Southwestern 3-0 in the consolation game.

The youthful Herd, who started eight sophomores for coach Brandon Eiserman, had the first chance with a header by Jacob Cheeseborough off a dish from Trevor Weis, but was just wide right.

Instead, a Mechanicsburg corner led to the first goal. Mechanicsburg set up for the corner and the cross was cleared partly out of the box. From the left edge of the box, Joseph Panuccio turned and stuck a volley into the far corner of the cage for the 1-0 lead.

“Panuccio has been on a whole different level so far this year,” said Mechanicsburg coach Tony Lougee. “His decision-making has been outstanding and his passes and shots have been right on. The goal he scored today and the pass he made on the second goal were just great decisions and execution.”

His volley over the top of the defense found Zac Sherman who out ran the Herd defense who were looking for an offside call. Sherman slid the ball past an on-rushing Herd keeper Sandi Kadric and into the net for the 2-0 lead.

Mechanicsburg’s defense just didn’t allow the Herd to finish plays. Preston Gould, Anthony Panuccio, Mike Fowler and Kyle Flemming just continued to frustrate the Herd with their ability to step in with physicality, skill or just a good read on the final pass and send it up the field. Their height allowed them to win head balls as well.

Sherman and Brad Powell were solid up top as Powell continued to some how beat defenders, shield the ball, and find that corner to set up his forwards.

Jacob Huffman scored the third Wildcat goal on a scramble in front of the net late in the contest.

“I was very proud of our effort tonight against a very good Mechanicsburg team,” said Eisermen. “Our young kids came out and played well but we have to do a better job in the offensive third and get shots on goal and create opportunities. It was overall a good day for us. Mechanicsburg is a very physical and solid team and they are going to create problems for other teams this year.”

Girls Soccer defeats Ship, Ties Trinity in Final

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photos by Sam Getty, For The Sentinel

For the full article and photos of the game, click here.

MECHANICSBURG – Mechanicsburg rallied to score two second half goals to tie Trinity at 2 in the championship of the Mechanicsburg Booster Club Soccer tournament at the Northside Pitch Saturday night.

Mechanicsburg beat Shippensburg 7-0 in the first round while Trinity edged Carlisle 1-0 to reah the championship bout. Carlisle beat Shippensburg 5-0 in the consolation game.

Trinity (1-0-1) got a quick attempt in the opening minutes but Brenna Finegan’s restart sailed just over the crossbar.

Midway through the first half, Finegan again set up on a restart foul and her shot sailed over Mechanicsburg keeper Kylie Peters and into the top of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Early in the second half, a Mechanicsburg defender was given a yellow card. With the Wildcats a man down, Trinity took advantage. Ashley Mahaffey found Ashley Rogliano and the latter’s shot hit the back of the net.

“The difference in this game was the senior leadership,” said Wildcat coach Sean Cochran. “Amanda Crecelius and Courtney Andrews just kept encouraging their teammates and wouldn’t allow the girls to quit playing. Erin Jones, Lindsay Humes, Sammy Powell, Nicole Weenick just kept battling and we finally got the first one. So proud of their effort and ability to respond when they fell behind.”

Megan Mansfield found herself one on one with Amanda Knaub and Knaub knocked down her first shot but Mansfield stayed with it and finally knocked it across the line to cut the deficit in half.

Mechanicsburg (1-0-1 overall) got the equalizer late as Kyra Skurcenski was in the way and the shot by Humes appeared to deflect off her hip and into the net.

Neither team could score in the two ten-minute overtime periods and the teams were declared co-champions.

“I thought the girls played very well,” said Trinity coach Terry Mull. “We had the lead but couldn’t close it out. Mechanicsburg really came out strong in that final twenty minutes and we had some girls that were gassed and our bench is not that deep this year. We are trying to fill big holes in the middle of the field- you can’t just replace kids like Micaela Oliverio, Ali Basom, Addy Fitzgerald and Miranda Rogliano- they were senior leaders by example and we are still looking for that this year. I was proud of the effort.”

Football drops season opener to Carlisle

Article by Eric Epler, Pennlive.com/Photos by Mark Pynes, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

For photos of the game, click here.

Billy Burger said his Carlisle teammates began thinking about this first week of the 2014 high school football season nearly 10 months ago.

Back then the Herd only manufactured one lasting memory when they slid past Harrisburg for their only win of the season. A handful more evaporated under a continuous pressure that Josh Oswalt’s crew was not equipped to handle.

That suffering seems to be over now.

Burger connected on 21 of 32 pass attempts for 295 yards and running back Tyler Greeneetched three scores Friday night at Frederick Field as Carlisle packed away a 43-28 victory over host Mechanicsburg. Burger pitched in two touchdown passes and a designed QB draw that stretched 40 yards, all of it stretching Carlisle’s winning streak to an important two games.

The win also avenged last year’s heart-tugging 24-14 setback to the Wildcats, who kickstarted Carlisle spiraling campaign via 17 fourth-quarter points. With the way Oswalt’s swift assembly played on Friday, no such comeback was possible this time.

“The emphasis all offseason was to get some more offensive production and finish. We have to make sure we finish games,” said Oswalt. “That’s a very good [Mechanicsburg] offense and they’re going to win games. But we put this offense in knowing we have a guy who is very talented at QB and can do it.”

Burger’s counterpart, Wildcats QB Tyler Schubert, did manage 280 yards and three scores, the last a 26-yard dart to Breon Coke in the waning seconds. But Carlisle also picked Mechanicsburg’s senior leader twice. Running back Shyheim Brown had 131 rushing yards on 29 totes for the Cats.

THE BIG PICK

Carlisle snared a 20-14 edge at the break, and it didn’t take long to extend the lead in the second half. Aided by Burger’s deep slant to Deonte Ramsey (6 catches, 112 yards), the Herd went up 27-14 when Greene blasted in the Wildcats 5.

One series later, Burger found Mike Wuestner in the endzone and Carlisle was in cruise control.

“Honestly, it was just a full-team effort. It started all summer after that last victory over Harrisburg,” Burger said. “We’re hoping it continues and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the rest of the team ready to keep it going.”

To Mechanicsburg’s credit, the Wildcats kept plugging away, ending a 12-play drive early in the fourth with Brown’s 2-yard dive. Schubert dialed up four big completions in the 55-yard scoring drive.

Roughly one minute later, Mechanicsburg regained possession and was driving again when Carlisle DB Zion Patterson stepped in an picked off Schubert’s overthrow near the six-minute mark of the fourth.

“I just overthrew it. [Jeray Anderson] ran a great route and got separation so it was my mistake,” Schubert said. “Mistakes are going to happen.”

EARLY MOMENTUM

The Wildcats only needed 97 seconds to take the lead as Schubert targeted Tommy Marlin from 15 yards out. That followed a crisp heave to Brown on Mechanicsburg’s opening play, good for 42 yards.

By the time the first quarter ended, Greene (12 carries, 47 yards) already had banked two TD runs, his first set up by Grant Shughart’s interception. Carlisle receiverGlenn Jackson played a pivotal role for Carlisle, too, catching seven passes for 119 yards and a fourth-quarter TD reception.

Deshawn Millington chipped in 90 rushing yards, on just seven carries, for Carlisle.

THE LOCKER ROOM

“We’ve got guys that have bought in and they are very talented. And they know if they work hard in the offseason, we were going to get them the rock and get them some yum-yum, as we like to call it.” – Carlisle head coach Josh Oswalt.

“I think we just didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities we had. I know I missed a couple of wide open guys.” – Mechanicsburg QB Tyler Schubert

“It was great. I know we started slow and that sometimes happens. But, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish. We kept scoring, we kept moving the ball and it was just a great feeling.” – Carlisle QB Billy Burger

Epler on Twitter: @threejacker

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Article by Jake Adams, The Sentinel/Photos by Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Mechanicsburg’s Tyler Schubert was the quarterback everyone knew about.

But after Friday night’s season opener, it was Carlisle’s Billy Burger who stole the show. The senior signal caller kept drive after drive alive, tossing for 290 yards on 18-for-29 passing and two touchdowns in the Thundering Herd’s 43-28 victory over the Wildcats at John H. Frederick Field in Memorial Park.

Schubert put up impressive numbers, too, completing 25-of-45 passes for 280 yards and three scores of his own, but two interceptions wound up costing the Wildcats.

“They have good quarterback, but I like mine,” Herd coach Josh Oswalt said.

No one could fault him after Carlisle’s impressive spread offense debut at Memorial Park. The Herd worked on it all offseason, hoping to capitalize on the shiftiness and quickness of wideouts Zion Patterson and Deonte Ramsey, as well as tailback Tyler Greene and wildcat quarterback Deshawn Millington.

And it worked. Carlisle torched the Wildcat defense for 448 total yards.

“The emphasis all offseason was to get some more offensive production, help the defense out a little bit,” Oswalt said.

Glenn Jackson and Ramsey were the biggest beneficiaries. Ramsey snagged six balls for 111 yards, including a 47-yard burner down the right sideline that set up one of Greene’s three TDs, a five yard scamper to make it 27-7.

“Billy’s just going to be Billy this year,” Ramsey said. “He got a lot better this year and I’m proud of him.”

Jackson hauled in six passes for 129 yards and a score, routinely carving through the defense on seem routes. His final catch was a thing of beauty, as Burger led him perfectly down the left hashmarks just as a defender collided with him. Jackson simply bounced off and took it to the house for the 37-yard dagger to all but seal the contest.

“We put this offense in knowing that we got a guy who’s very talented. I love Billy on both sides of the ball,” Oswalt said. “He had a heckuva player… He’ll be fun this year.”

Another facet of the spread came in the form of change-of-pace QB Millington. The sophomore stepped in a handful of times in the first half, and again in the third when Burger hurt his ankle diving for a possible interception in the third.

Millington used his feet to cause havoc, handling the rock seven times for 90 yards. He also completed his lone pass for 11 yards. Mechanicsburg had no answers for him, especially on a 75-yard run to the five in which he ran right, broke a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, then cut all the way back to the left. But an illegal block was called at the Mechanicsburg 25. Greene eventually made up for it with a 4-yard score.

“If he needs to come in and get us a couple yards, by all means put him in,” Burger said of Millington.

Mechanicsburg nearly made it a game despite trailing 33-14 entering the fourth quarter. But down 33-21 with less than seven minutes to go, Schubert fired a pass into traffic in the middle of the field, only for Patterson to pick it off. Burger found Michael Wuestner from eight yards out for Carlisle’s final touchdown.

“I just overthrew it, it was a bad ball,” Schubert said.

“The big F-word, finish,” Oswalt said. “We gotta make sure that we’re finishing games… Luckily Zion comes up with a big interception late.”

The win is now the Herd’s second straight going back to last season, when they stunned Harrisburg in the regular-season finale to end a 20-game losing streak.

“It feels great,” Ramsey said. “Coming out, knowing that we got this first dub, carried the momentum, we just gotta move forward now.

Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

Football scores come-from-behind Victory over Susquehanna Township on Senior Night

Article by Andy Shay, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

In its previous four games prior to Friday night’s contest, the Mechanicsburg defense had surrendered 377, 376, 411 and 412 yards of total offense.

That’s six yards shy of 400 a game over a full month.

And the Indians squad visiting John H. Frederick Field for senior night was coming off its best offensive output in weeks – rolling up 54 points and more than 400 rushing yards in a victory over Hershey.

Yes, the Mechanicsburg offense did its part by rolling up more than 400 yards of total offense and scoring four touchdowns.

But this much-needed victory over the Indians falls to a defense that limited the Indians to fewer than 140 total yards and only two offensive touchdowns in a 31-28 Mechanicsburg victory.

“This was all about effort and attitude,” Wildcats coach Chris Hakel said. “Earlier in the year they didn’t have the right attitude and it showed in their effort. But they’ve turned it around. The whole key to this is in high school football you have to believe.”

The Wildcats’ defense only gave up one scoring drive of any measurable distance. On the opening drive of the second half, Susquehanna Twp traveled 56 yards in five plays to open up a 28-17 lead at the 8:16 mark of the third quarter.

And it was the last points the Indians would put on the board.

The first two Susquehanna Twp touchdowns came on long kickoff returns. And its other score in the first half came after a bad snap on a punt that set the Indians up at the Wildcats’ 11-yard-line.

And that goal-line stand to open the fourth quarter swung momentum to the home side for the remainder of the final quarter.

“We got guys to the football. They have some shifty backs,” Hakel said. “And one guy isn’t going to bring them down. The focus this week was staying in our lanes and getting to the football.”

SHAY ON TWITTER: @APShay


Article by Chris Johnson, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Mechanicsburg’s senior night provided the halftime fireworks, however the football game at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park between the Mechanicsburg Wildcats and the Susquehanna Township Indians had plenty of excitement for the capacity crowd in attendance.

In a game that featured a rarity with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the first quarter by the same team, it was the Wildcats that overcame this early hole to finally grab back the lead in the final quarter. Coming down to the wire in the fourth quarter, the Indian offense ran out of time and fell at the horn 31-28 to the Wildcats.

The dynamic return duo of Chris Ciotti and Lorin Butler had kick return touchdowns of 98 yards and 75 yards respectively, however, outside of those big plays, the Susquehanna Township offense was quelled by the focused and determined Mechanicsburg (5-4, 2-4 Keystone) defense.

On the opposite side of the ball, the quick offense of the Wildcats led by quarterback Tyler Schubert and the family air and ground attack of Swahneek and Shyheim Brown were at the forefront of the game throughout and especially in the second half.

“It keeps them off-balance,” Mechanicsburg coach Chris Hakel said of the Wildcats dual-attack offense. “There were a couple times where I saw that we caught them before they were actually ready.”

Swahneek Brown caught three touchdown passes from the arm of Schubert, none bigger than the 17 yard strike that put the Wildcats ahead for good with 7:27 remaining in the game. Swahneek finished with 7 catches for 119 yards and Shyheim toted the ball 29 times for 119 yards in a very active effort.

Unfortunately, the Susquehanna Township (4-5, 2-4) passing attack was not as effective and, after a strong start on the ground, the Mechanicsburg defense stiffened up and limited the drives of the Indian offense.

While the penalties were few and far between in the first half, in the second half the game got a bit more scrappy and many calls played an important role in determining the field position of both teams.

“They see a formation and maybe they line up the wrong way,” Hakel said. “You exploit what is there. These kids are believing in what we are doing and that is the exciting part.”

Next week, Mechanicsburg heads on the road to Camp Hill on Friday night to face Cedar Cliff while Susquehanna Township hosts Red Land.

Boys Soccer falls to Hempfield, Ends Season

Article by Michael Bullock, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

LANDISVILLE — When Mechanicsburg’s soccer-playing Wildcats take a look back at how their season came to an abrupt close — whether today, tomorrow, sometime next week or even six months from now — some may rue the missed opportunities that might have carried them at least one round deeper.

Others, of course, will focus on the number of goals Tony Lougee’s club conceded to an outfit that doesn’t find the back of the net all that often.

Yeah, it was one of those games featuring plenty of odd circumstances — for both sides. And yet, when those final seconds finally ground to a halt Tuesday night, the guys playing at home were the ones who somehow found a way.

Zach Lockley’s headball finish with 10:52 remaining — the high-arching ball actually may have spun in off defender Zach Brunner’s gourd — proved to be the difference as a resourceful Hempfield side collared a 3-2 victory over a gritty Mechanicsburg outfit in a District 3-AAA round-of-16 dustup at chilly Georgelis Law Firm Stadium.

Nathan Haile and Seamus Fitzpatrick also connected for Mark Ashley’s Black Knights (12-3-6), who zipped to a 2-0 lead with just under 17 minutes gone only to see Lougee’s Wildcats put on a determined rally that pulled the Mid-Penn Keystone Division co-champions (15-4-0) into a 2-all tie early in the second half.

And surrender a multiple-score lead is something Hempfield just doesn’t do.

That’s exactly what happened, however, as Ryan Wolf turned a pair of Brad Powell services into a first-half score that made things interesting and a headball finish just 49 seconds into the second half that had the Wildcats even.

Wound up, too.

“We were put in a position tonight that we haven’t been in all year,” said Ashley, whose Black Knights have conceded just nine scores in 21 contests. “We’ve rarely had a two-goal lead all season, so to give up two the guys started to question themselves I’m sure. And some may have been wondering, ‘These guys are on our heels here, OK, can we regain some momentum or get some possession back?’

“Early on I thought we possessed really well, but as the half went on they began to get more of the play,” Ashley continued. “And obviously with their speed and their attack, we had trouble with their speed. The key there was just not losing our composure after that second goal because it would have been easy to do that.”

And even though Mechanicsburg’s Joseph Panuccio peppered the crossbar with some 17 minutes to play — Powell popped each upright in the opening half — that near-miss was just one of several that would not fall for the Wildcats.

Then, with just under 11 minutes to go, center back Ryan Wilson stood over a restart not far from the midfield stripe. A moment or two later, Wilson flighted a ball into the crowd jostling for position not far from the top edge of the six.

One touch off a head later — whether Lockley’s or Brunner’s — the Black Knights were sitting on a 3-2 lead that allowed several of Ashley’s players to exhale.

But only momentarily.

Zach Sherman, who was effectively bottled up by center backs Wilson and Colby Smith, had a shot roll wide just after Lockley’s go-ahead score — but a Wildcats club that put so much into finding an equalizer was unable to locate a second.

“It was close, but in the end I think we just had to do a better job [defensively],” Lougee admitted. “You can’t give up three goals, however they came.

“Against Hempfield, that’s not gonna work,” added Lougee, whose Wildcats strolled confidently into Georgelis lugging a sparkling 10-game winning streak. “These guys have done a real nice job this year, they came along.”

And even though Lockley’s through ball put Haile in on goalkeeper Brandon Diehl some nine minutes in — and Haile’s slotted shot promptly put Hempfield in front — Lougee’s Wildcats didn’t seem to be fazed by their early deficit.

Powell, who had a terrific night on the right wing until Ashley opted to bring on the smaller, athletic Alex Pink and move Kyle Suchar up, found space and skipped a shot that glanced off the left post and spun down the line before a Hempfield clear.

Ashley’s Black Knights also had plenty of success frustrating Mechanicsburg’s energetic midfield duo of Panuccio and Joe Lewis, as Lockley and Raiyu Ayanto fashioned terrific two-way play throughout the 80-minute exercise.

Moments later, Hempfield keeper Brian Gately (2 saves) cleanly handled a Brunner headball that was generated off a corner. Yet another charge put Powell in position, but his shot was stiffed by the right post and the Wildcats were denied yet again.

Even after Fitzpatrick’s volley at the 16:57 mark upped the Knights’ lead to 2-0 — Benjamin Groff served the ball from the right corner — the Wildcats kept digging and digging until Powell’s dish from the end line skipped across the crease to Wolf.

With time, Wolf was able to settle, pick a spot and finish with 6:14 to go.

Powell’s efforts in the right corner early in the second half also proved profitable as he outworked Suchar, then flighted a terrific ball toward the near upright that an airborne Wolf promptly nodded home for the equalizer.

“These guys have shown that resilience and certainly getting a goal in before the half and coming out for the second half ready [was big],” Lougee said. “It just seemed that after we did that, we just sort of lost our … sort of our rhythm.

“It became sloppy I thought and that set piece was just sort of a bad little bounce and that was that.”

And it was.

“Anything can happen when you get the ball on the frame in a crowd of guys,” Ashley remarked. “It’s just difficult for a keeper to handle that with just bodies and deflections and whatever.

“Too often you see guys — and we’re guilty of it — putting balls over the top because they’re trying to get that perfect ball with the topspin and drop it in,” Ashley continued. “This was smart. [Wilson] put it right on frame and said to our guys, ‘Go get it. Go get a piece of it.”

Safely past Mechanicsburg for the second straight postseason, Ashley’s Black Knights will try to go get a piece of top-seeded Cumberland Valley on Saturday (5 p.m.) at Hersheypark Stadium. They met earlier this season — they also met in last year’s 3-AAA final with Hempfield prevailing 1-0 — when CV won 1-0.

“This is where you depend on your senior leadership, the guys who have some experience from the year before,” Ashley admitted. “Hopefully, we can rely on that a little bit. But the young kids have stepped up well for us and I know they’re hungry and they’ve heard about Cumberland Valley.

“We played them early in the year and we know how good they are and we respect them and now it’s just a matter of coming out and trying to execute.”

BULLOCK ON TWITTER: @thebullp_n

Football Falls to Hershey

Article by John Tuscano, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

Michael Gadd, who already had two interceptions to his credit Saturday afternoon, went with his gut and anticipated where Mechanicsburg quarterback Tyler Schubert was going on his 38th and final pass attempt.

“We knew they were going to pass, so it was up to the secondary to make something happen,” Gadd said.

“I had an opportunity to step up and make a play and I did.”

Gadd stepped in front of wideout Swahneek Brown at the goal line and picked off Schubert for the third time, averting a fourth quarter collapse and preserving Hershey’s 35-32, Mid-Penn Keystone victory at Milton Hershey’s Henry Hershey Field.

It wasn’t just a smart, heady play by Gadd, it was a momentum killer for Mechanicsburg that seemed to come out of nowhere.

The momentum was at Mechanicsburg’s back in the fourth quarter, even after Jesse Campbell’s 53-yard touchdown run made it 35-25 with 6:44 left.

While the Wildcats leaned heavily on tailback Shyheim Brown for the first 2 1/2 quarters, Chris Hakel’s club rallied through the air. Schubert found a rhythm with Swahneek Brown, Breon Coke and Takeno Scales.

It resulted in an 11-play, 71-yard drive that was led by six Schubert completions, the last coming on a terrific catch in the back right corner of the end zone by Swahneek Brown.

Trailing 35-32, the ‘Cats had the ball again after they recovered an onside kick.

This time, the visitors drove from their own 32 to the Hershey 5 with Schubert completing three passes to Shyheim Brown and one to Coke. On 3rd-and-goal from the 6, Mechanicsburg had time to take one last shot at the end zone.

Complete the pass and the ‘Cats would have pulled off an improbably victory. An incompletion would have meant a chip shot field goal by the reliable Ben Dubas to tie the game and likely send it to overtime.

Instead, Gadd made sure neither of those scenarios came to pass.

“That last play, I felt like it was snowball going downhill on us,” Hershey coach Mark Painter said.

“That play was a huge highlight and the second half is kind of a blur. It was good fundamental football by [Gadd]. He anticipated the ball and got in front of it.”

Boys Soccer defeats Hershey, moves in to First Place

Article by Michael Bullock, Pennlive.com

For the full article, click here.

Fully aware they were parked in a three-way logjam atop the Mid-Penn’s extraordinarily messy Keystone Division when they stepped off the bus, Mechanicsburg’s soccer-playing Wildcats knew they were facing an opportunity they couldn’t whiff on.

Plus, it was one of those chances that just demanded an effort.

Not just any kind of workmanlike effort, but one of those all-out, high-pitched performances Tony Lougee’s clubs have become accustomed to cranking out when squaring off against a formidable adversary — home and/or away.

That’s what happened Monday night at chilly Hershey, where Lougee’s Wildcats parlayed a blistering first half filled with terrific soccer into a 4-2 victory over the host Trojans that popped the visitors into the Keystone Division lead.

By themselves.

For at least one day.

Zach Sherman authored two finishes, while Ryan Wolf and Brad Powell checked in with one apiece as Lougee’s determined Wildcats (13-3, 10-3) moved in front of idle Lower Dauphin while stretching their winning streak to eight games.

Lower Dauphin visits Palmyra Tuesday night.

Ben Haines and Dalton Awde pocketed second-half scores for Les Heggan’s Trojans (13-3, 9-3), who dropped into third place after beginning the day with a share of the Keystone lead tucked away amongst their travel gear.

And while Mechanicsburg was able to get the better of Hershey by setting a blistering pace throughout the opening half and cashing in repeatedly, it was merely three-plus weeks ago when the Trojans bounced out of the Northside Cage with a 4-0 victory that left the Wildcats disheartened and discouraged.

They haven’t lost since.

“When you lose games like that, they’re tough, but they definitely build your character,” Sherman said of Mechanicsburg’s earlier skid. “You want to come out and win games. So we got in that lull where we lost those three games, but coming out of that we came out strong and we came out to win.

“And that’s what we’re trying to do for the rest of the season here.”

Zach Sherman (10) didn’t have any aerial challenges with Hershey goalkeeper Matt Johnson — as he did earlier this season — but he did beat him for two scores.(Harvey Levine, For PennLive.com)

Since that earlier to the Trojans put the Wildcats two games back of Keystone frontrunners Hershey and Lower Dauphin — in mid-September — Lougee’s club needed to find its rhythm and fairly quickly. They also needed some help.

Although defeating Lower Dauphin in overtime (2-1) last week at home was a massive positive stride, once those same Falcons turned around several days later and toppled Hershey to set up the three-way tie, the Wildcats had their chance.

And they didn’t swing and miss.

“At that point, the minute you stop talking and worrying about that kind of stuff is the minute where it starts taking care of itself,” Lougee said. “Back then, we thought we could get some early and we started worrying about it.

“We’ve just been out playing, and that’s really a good thing. We just figured it would take care of itself if we hopefully played our games.”

Out hard from the start and moving the ball swiftly from player to player, Lougee’s Wildcats took control from the opening whistle by just going after Heggan’s Trojans.

One-touch passing with plenty of off-the-ball movement.

Concentrated defensive play when needed, with special emphasis on knowing where the potent Haines and Jordan Wix Rauch were. When it was over, those two players had combined for one shot.

That wasn’t all of it.

“At the start of the game, we were just flat for some reason,” Heggan said.

“Big game and you tell them you’re still in the hunt for at least part of the title. You’ve got to come out [and play]. They beat us to every 50-50 ball. … It was like a track meet for them and we were just standing and watching.

“Gotta give your hat to them.”

While the Wildcats had several early opportunities, Sherman finally popped the visitors in front at 14:02 when his blast from the middle of the penalty area glanced off Matt Johnson’s outstretched fingertips and whistled in. A dandy through ball from Eugenio Demarin put the hard-working junior in on Johnson.

Some 15 minutes later, Mike Fowler’s restart from the right wing was flighted into the mixer and the ball ricocheted to Sherman. Using second effort, he was able to slip a shot underneath Johnson (5 saves) for the Wildcats’ second score.

“It was real critical to come out and put a whole bunch on them, get them down early cause that’s what they did to us when they came to our home field,” Sherman said. “We all came out here and wanted to put on a show for the people that come out and watch us. I think we did.

“I think we came out pretty well, we jumped on them and ended up with a win, too.”

Mechanicsburg would tack on two more scores before the halftime break, converting well-paced counterattacks into timely finishes. Joseph Panuccio, who performed with energy and aplomb all night long, set up both scores by sending slicing balls through the Hershey D at a full gallop.

One set up Wolf’s finish at 33:17. The other led to Powell’s score at 36:17.

“That whole junior class is really key,” Lougee admitted. “Wolf and [Joe] Lewis are gonna bring it every game, they’re gonna be there. [In fact], Wolf blew himself out by just going crazy and creating chaos early on.

“Powell and Sherman and Panuccio, [Zack] Heller, those guys when they play like that they’re just a tough, tough group. It’s just that consistency and that’s a step we’ve worked on since the beginning of the year and I’m happy for them.”

Although Hershey would answer after the break on Haines’ chip at 45:24 and Awde’s rebound of his own shot at 70:06, the damage had already been done and the Trojans didn’t have enough to climb out of a four-goal abyss.

“Basically, we lost the midfield in the first half,” Heggan remarked.

“Like I said, they just ran right through us.”

Like a team determined to jump into the division lead. And with games remaining against Susquehanna Twp. and Middletown, the Wildcats hope to stay there.

Let everyone come to them.

“We’ve got to win these games coming up, finish out this week strong and we’ll see where that goes with the rest of the teams playing,” Sherman said.

“This team has a lot of young players on it that had to grow and had to face some adversity,” Lougee said. “That gave them a chance to be who they are this week. We talked bout that being a good experience and having to take our lumps and learn from them. They really did [want this one].

“They had a great attitude tonight, they came out ready.”

BULLOCK ON TWITTER: @thebullp_n

Boys Soccer beats Falcons in OT

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photos by Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

For the full article and pictures of the game, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Sitting in third place with both teams ahead of them on the schedule in the next week, the Mechanicsburg Wildcats had the prime opportunity to get themselves back in the hunt for the Keystone Division title. Zach Sherman scored in overtime to lead the Wildcats to a 2-1 win over Lower Dauphin on Tuesday at the Northside Soccer Pitch.

Trailing 1-0 with just about six minutes left in regulation, Wildcat keeper Brandon Diehl fielded a cross and laid the ball off to Joe Lewis just outside the penalty box. Finding some open space, Lewis dribbled the ball up the field, cut around one defender and ripped a laser into the net for the tying goal which seemed to spark the Wildcats.

The Cats (10-3, 8-2 Keystone) had two opportunities in the final three minutes, but a corner and two headers by Zach Brunner didn’t find the mark, sending the contest into overtime.

Lower Dauphin (9-3, 8-2) controlled the first minute of overtime but couldn’t get a shot on goal. The Wildcats took possession and started up the field and Jo Panuccio lifted a through ball over the top that Zach Sherman ran onto and somehow slipped the ball into the near corner for the game-winner. It was Sherman’s 13th goal of the season.

“This was a great effort and a big win for us,” Sherman said. “They are a very good team and we knew it was going to be a battle. We had to battle from behind and focus on that first goal by Lewis and then try to get that finish. Jo played a great through ball over the top, and I was able to run onto it and slip it past their keeper. It was a huge goal for us and I will remember this one for a long time.”

The Wildcats controlled the ball early in the game and had several opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. Falcon keeper Isaiah Pettis made two super saves — one on Sherman and another on a blast by Brad Powell. He came sliding out to take a shot off the foot of Panuccio as he ran onto a dish by Lewis.

Lower Dauphin had several chances late in the first half but the height of Brunner and the toughness of Reed Alioth and Mike Fowler, who took shots off their bodies, kept the contest scoreless.

Early in the second half, J.T. Donnelly slid an angular through ball to the foot of Colten Nagy, whose rip sailed past Diehl. The score came just three minutes into the second half.

The game went back and forth over the next 30 minutes but neither could dent the net.

“I thought we played very well in the first half and then gave up that goal,” Wildcat skipper Tony Lougee said. “I thought we didn’t play with the same intensity over about a 20- or 25-minute period of the second half. Joe Lewis just doesn’t quit and he made that play and then I felt the intensity come back. Panuccio played a nice ball and Zach finished it. It was good win for us.”

“I thought it was a very good game on both sides,” Falcon coach Gerry Lynch said. “We both had chances, but they were able to get the finish. You have to worry about their speed and that got us in the end. We just have to focus on each game and get the results we need the rest of the season.”

Ryan Wolf and Brad Powell created problems for the Falcons by being able to beat their outside defenders to the corner and send crosses into the box.

For the Falcons, Nick Sincavage, Donnelly and Luis Cervantes created problems for the Wildcat defense. Kevin Mondi battled hard against Wolf on the wing.

Football falls to Lower Dauphin on Homecoming

Article by Andy Shay, Pennlive.com/Photos by Mark Pynes, Pennlive.com

For a full slate of articles and photos of the game, click here.

QUICK HIT: Lower Dauphin made it look so easy Friday night it was almost scary. The undefeated Falcons ran over a listless Mechanicsburg side by rolling up nearly 400 yards on the ground in a 35-0 Mid-Penn Keystone victory Friday night in front of a packed house at John H. Frederick Field.

KEY MOMENT: The first series of the game for the Falcons offensively. Seriously, once each team had one offensive series under its belt reading the tea leaves wasn’t difficult. The Falcons knew exactly what they wanted to do. Mechanicsburg looked uninspired. Lower Dauphin (5-0, 2-0) quarterback Troy Spencer set the table for a monster night by carrying eight times for 67 yards on the Falcons’ opening drive, including a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0. Spencer was far from done, though.

STARS AND STUDS: Spencer ran the Falcons’ veer offense like a surgeon. The senior amassed 287 rushing yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns.

*The Lower Dauphin defense recorded its fourth shutout in five games, limiting the wide-open offense of the Wildcats to only 20 rushing yards and 159 total yards.

*The Falcons’ offensive line of J.R. Borelli, Quentin Horting, David Wuestner, Omi Ramos and Corey Atkins – plus 6-5, 260-pound tight end Trey Klock -  simply dominated up front. It was a huge mismatch all night.

NUMBERS GAME: By halftime it was 21-0 and the story was almost complete except for the final chapter. Lower Dauphin had 236 total yards to only 71 for The Wildcats. And the Falcons ran only six more plays from scrimmage than Mechanicsburg (3-2, 0-2). Lower Dauphin finished with 412 yards of total offense.

BIG PICTURE: Lower Dauphin’s offense is blissfully simple with an emphasis on execution. What was good to see from head coach Rob Klock on this night was very little tinkering. Until Mechanicsburg stopped what was working – it never did – Klock saw no need to open the playbook. Page 1 was good enough. So he stayed there. Mechanicsburg put up a good effort last week against Bishop McDevitt. Yes, the Wildcats lost the game but they kept after it. Friday night the Wildcats went away … and quietly. You can get beat soundly. But to go down without throwing a real punch back is something that needs addressed going forward.

WHAT THEY SAID: “Lower Dauphin is a physical team that comes right at you. And we couldn’t stop them. What they do, they do extremely well.” – Mechanicsburg coach Chris Hakel

RAPID REACTION: One team showed up ready to win its fifth football game in a row. The other squad just showed up.

SHAY ON TWITTER: @APShay

Girls Soccer defeats Cougars

Article by Chris Fidler, Gametimepa.com/Photos by Charles Grove, Lebanon Daily News

For the full article, click here.

PALMYRA – Consistency has plagued Palmyra for most of the 2013 girls’ soccer season. The Cougars’ roller-coaster campaign continued Tuesday evening.

Palmyra’s playoff hopes took a major blow with a 2-0 loss to Mechanicsburg under the lights Tuesday night at In The Net Sports Complex.

The Cougars never got to show their claws against the Wildcats, who have won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings between the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division rivals. Mechanicsburg’s Megan Mansfield and Meghan Ross scored goals, and goalkeeper Kyle Peters made four saves to register the shutout.

The loss leaves Palmyra two games out of third place in the Keystone Division and on the outside of the District Three Class AA playoff picture. The orange and black (5-6 overall and 3-4 in the Keystone) entered the week ranked No. 17 in the most recent district rankings. Only the top 16 teams qualify for the postseason.

“We definitely needed this win in league play,” said Cougars head coach Amber Miller. “We’re still going to try to perform the best we can the rest of the season to have the best possible outcome. But we got to finish strong.”

Despite beating Donegal 3-0 on Monday, Palmyra started slow Tuesday by allowing the Wildcats to take the lead 7:11 into action. Challenged by Cougar keeper Katy McClellan on the left side of the box, Ross slipped a centering pass to Mansfield, unmarked in the middle. The sophomore forward deposited the setup far post for a 1-0 advantage.

“(Mechanicsburg) definitely moves off the ball,” added Miller. “And they wanted it more tonight.”

The visitors outshot the hosts by a 9-4 margin. Kristen Smoluk launched a 50-yard volley, and Shawna Kleinfelter uncorked a tough angle grounder for Palmyra’s only two shots on goal in the first 40 minutes. Angelica Kays generated both second-half chances, including a near goal on a left-footed blast in the 55th minute.

“Kylie was just a stone there on that save,” said Mechanicsburg

Palmyra forward Hailey Ebersole heads the ball past Mechanicsburg s Amanda Crecelius in Tuesday s girls soccer game at In the Net. Mechanicsburg won 2-0 to pick up its seventh win in the past eight meetings against Palmyra. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS CHARLES GROVE)

coach Sean Cochran. “It’s one of those things that if Kylie can make that one big save, we feel like we can stay in most games. She’s one of the best keepers in this league.”

Parks denied Kays with a diving save to preserve the clean sheet. The Wildcats then removed any doubts in the 76th minute on Ross’ tally, which involved a pair of juke moves around a defender and another far-post putaway.

“We played tough defensively,” added Cochran. “Really, the best thing to do against Palmyra is just to keep the ball away from them. Try to keep possession and keep it away from (Maddie) Good, because if she gets the ball, she’s dangerous.”

Good, the only senior on Palmyra’s roster, was neutralized by midfielder Emma Strong for most of the match. Strong, a 6-foot freshman, countered Good’s physical play with speed, agility and lanky legs.

“Palmyra’s a very, very good team. Maddie Good’s been lighting us up for years,” Cochran said. “Emma’s actually a freshman, and her ceiling is just through the roof. She’s tall, and she’s really starting to come into her own. She’s stepped in pretty much from Game 1, and she’s been awesome throughout the season.”

The Wildcats conquered the Cougars 1-0 to open the 2013 campaign. Mechanicsburg has outscored Palmyra 31-7 overall in their past eight meetings.

Tuesday’s goals did not come easy, however. McClellan, who stopped seven shots, and defenders Emily Salvaggio and Tabitha Fake all turned in solid efforts in defeat.

“There’s

Palmyra forward Maddie Good tries to dribble around Mechanicsburg defender Emma Strong in front of the net Tuesday night. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS CHARLES GROVE)

definitely some girls that had outstanding performances tonight,” said Miller, who led Palmyra to the district quarterfinals in her first season behind the bench last year. “They always give 100 percent, and they give their best game. It’s just finding ways to get those girls more involved so we can have a successful game.

“Salvaggio played a phenomenal game tonight, along with Tabitha Fake in the back. (Fake’s) coming up big for us lately wherever we’re putting her on the field. She’s playing really well.”

The Cougars try to bounce back Thursday at 4 p.m. when they travel to Susquehanna Township.