Volleyball edges Hershey

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photos by Curt Werner, For The Sentinel

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

MECHANICSBURG — The Mechanicsburg Wildcats volleyball team upset previously unbeaten Hershey by winning the final three games at Mechanicsburg Monday night by scores of 17-25, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-22.

The win moves Mechanicsburg into a second place tie with the Trojans, with both teams sitting at 6-1 in the Keystone Division race, a half-game behind unbeaten Lower Dauphin. The Trojans play Lower Dauphin tonight.

“This was a great team win for us,” said Wildcat coach Chris Fabian. “We have been trying to get the girls to play through every point to the end and try to take advantage of the momentum and their opponent’s mistakes. You just don’t know what to expect — you have to make plays and carry the momentum.”

Mechanicsburg (7-1, 6-1 Keystone) struggled throughout game one trying to string points together and keeping the ball in play. They gave away six points on wide, long, or net serves plus a few double hits and poor bumps, and the Trojans took advantage in game one.

Hershey led 7-4 and 9-6 behind the hitting of Allie Gemerek and Julieann Stanley, a 2013 Mid Penn All-Star. The ‘Cats rallied as Mikaela Calcara and Cassidy Krnjaic got several points and the ‘Cats went ahead 12-11. From that point, the Trojans outscored the home team 14-5 to take the first game. The majority of the points were Wildcat mistakes.

Mechanicsburg jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never trailed in the second game. Hershey got within two points twice at 4-2 and 6-4 as the ‘Cats found Allyson Fea in the middle and she took the game from there. Fea had five kills and four blocks, The key for the ‘Cats was their ability to keep balls in play and get a hit on the ball and let someone else make a play. They gained momentum early and never let up.

Brooke Serina, the senior libero, was instrumental at keeping balls in play and keeping the play alive. Kendall Bortner and Lindsay Brock were also key factors in the win as the ‘Cats kept their lead in the 7-10 point range.

The two teams went back and forth in game three until Heston Cowoski stepped to the service line. The ‘Cats were trailing 3-1 and when she stepped off the line the ‘Cats were ahead 8-3. Hershey rallied behind the service of Kathryn Conklin and Hannah Ferrara to take a 12-11 lead.

Mechanicsburg’s Brock downed one and then stepped to the service line for two points and the ‘Cats led 16-13.

Krnjaic had two aces late in the game and Calcara came up with a big block on the final point. The Wildcats had a 2-1 lead and had the momentum. Hershey helped out with five serves in the net or long in the final ten points.

Hershey again fell behind in game four as the home team scored the first three points. They extended the lead to 9-5 behind Fea and Brock, forcing Hershey coach John Zitka to take a time out. Hershey responded to his words and rallied to tie the game at 10, 11, and 12. The ‘Cats took a two-point lead but turned around and gave it right back, leading to a 14-14 tie.

Each team scored a few points but the Trojans were making the mistakes and allowed the ‘Cats to keep the lead. Mechanicsburg got a kill from Brock at 23-20 and a block from Krnjaic to lead 24-22. Serina took a set and fired a shot at the floor from the back line that found space to set off a celebration for the Wildcats.

“Allyson has really been playing well for us when we can get the set where she is comfortable,” said Fabian. “She is still learning how to adjust on a bad set or not in her wheelhouse. She does well at blocking around the net and it will be nice to have her for another year. Brooke Serina, our libero, has done a wonderful job at that position and we have had some positive senior leadership. We are looking for a big battle royale until the end with the three teams at the top. We still have each of them again.”

Hershey scores early, defeats Boys Soccer

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Unbeaten Hershey brought their winning streak to the Northside Pitch on Thursday to tangle with a one-loss Mechanicsburg squad and they knew they were in for battle but got an early goal and bunkered in to snag a 1-0 whitewash of the Wildcats.

Hershey-Mechanicsburg games have typically been hard-fought, physical affairs that usually turn on one mistake by a defense. Mechanicsburg (7-2, 4-2 Keystone) made the early mistake and the Trojans capitalized just under two minutes into the contest. Junior Tanner Therit beat the Wildcat defense to the left corner and crossed a ball back toward the six-yard line. His cross found an unmarked Jordan Wix-Rauch, who easily found the back of the net at the 1:48 mark. It was Wix-Rauch’s 12th goal on the season for the Trojans.

Therit and Wix-Rauch proved to be thorns in the side of the Wildcats all evening as they repeatedly got Therit the ball in the corner where he was able to use his quickness and tenacity to send balls into the box.

Wix-Rauch found himself with plenty of space at times, but his counterpart for the Wildcats, Joseph Panuccio found very little space. Freshman Andrew Sullivan of Hershey spent his entire game shadowing Panuccio and allowed him very little space, which led to some frustration on Panuccio’s part. He felt every little jab in the back, elbow in the ribs, poke at his ankles and every grab of the shirt that Sullivan used. But Sullivan was successful throughout the contest and held Panuccio to one shot on goal.

“They are a very good team and we knew they would be physical and fast,” Hershey coach Les Heggan said. “We can play them physical but we don’t have the speed or depth that Mechanicsburg has. They are well-coached and we knew we had to control Panuccio and (Zac) Sherman. Andrew Cronin did a nice job keeping Sherman in front and Andrew Sullivan did everything we asked him to do and more. He was the difference in the game.”

Hershey’s defense was physical but almost too physical. Mechanicsburg was awarded a penalty kick on a take down and Sherman’s blast beat Trojan keeper Coleman Dieffenbach but clanked off the crossbar and bounded away and with it a great chance for the Wildcats to tie the contest and gain some momentum.

The two teams went toe-to-toe the rest of the contest but the defenses proved to be up to the task and sent balls back up the field. Both teams also sport tall defenders who were able to head crosses out of danger.

Both keepers — Dieffenbach for Hershey and Brandon Diehl for Mechanicsburg — each totaled five saves over the final 50 minutes. Both teams had chances but knocked crosses wide or over the net.

Mechanicsburg came out a bit more aggressive in the second half but just couldn’t finish. Alex Gehman, Dylan Snyder, and Kyle Edgar gave the Wildcats some good minutes and transitioned the ball well down the field in an attempt to find Sherman or Panuccio. Brad Powell also got off two good looks but one hit the keeper and the other hit the outside of the net.

Hershey’s defense supported the effort of Dieffenbach, who did a nice job of communicating to his backs what he was seeing form the goal mouth.

“We had our chances and I felt we did a good job of taking it to them for stretches of time,” Wildcat coach Tony Lougee said. “We gave up the early goal but we had the chance to tie the game on the penalty kick and that could have been a different story if we score there. It was a typical Hershey-Mechanicsburg game and we expected that. We just didn’t get that finish.”

Hershey improved to 9-0 on the season and 6-0 in the division. They have defeated the top two teams in the division (CD East and the Wildcats) but still must face Lower Dauphin next week in the battle for Hershey.

Camp Hill Field Hockey prevails over Wildcats

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Both coaches in Saturday’s field hockey contest have been looking all season for a full game from their teams.

Mechanicsburg’s Kari Bianchi saw her squad looking good early on, but it was Julie Colestock and Camp Hill that turned in the complete effort, rallying all the way back to a 3-2 victory Saturday morning at John H. Frederick Field.

“We haven’t played two good halves back-to-back and I was happy to see how we responded to them scoring twice in the first half,” Colestock said. “I called a timeout in the first half because I didn’t feel we were being aggressive. I went after them and the goal we score in the final seconds was a key that changed the game.”

The Wildcats (3-3) had several chances as they rolled up four penalty corners in the first 15 minutes, but couldn’t put one in the net.

“We have struggled to put balls in the net and finish our opportunities,” Bianchi said. “We score two in the first half, but we gave up that goal in the final seconds that changed the game.”

Alexandra Rebman and Abby Martin gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead as they each scored within a three minute span capped by Martin’s goal at the 4:19 mark.

Camp Hill (3-2-1) got a crucial goal when, on a nice open field play, Syd Robertson found a streaking Hannah Zemaitis on the right wing. As Zemaitis ran toward the cage, Robertson ran directly to the far post for an attempt. Robertson was there for the tap-in and cut the deficit in half with just 1.6 seconds left in the half.

“These two teams play club ball together and they know who should not touch the ball and who should get the ball in certain situations,” Colestock said. “Our kids know that Kourtney Landis shouldn’t see the ball and we need to be aware of where she is at all times.

Robertson contributed to the second goal as she sent in a cross from the right side and Emily Nelson was in the right spot for the tap-in and the tie contest.

Rebman had two chances to give Mechanicsburg the lead, but both of her backhand shots rolled past the far post, missing by inches.

Camp Hill finally took the lead on a scramble in front of the net. The play was on the left side of the net and the ball squirted through to Linnie Trimmer. She was stationed on the far post and settled the ball and finished the chance and beat keeper Anne Becker’s diving attempt.

Mechanicsburg had some chances over the final 20 minutes, but Addie Guyer and Justine Colestock seemed to come up big as well as keeper Annie Kalpas who had four saves in the final minutes.

LIONS 3, WILDCATS 2

Camp Hill 1 2 — 3

Mechanicsburg 2 0 — 2

First Half

M- Alexandra Rebman, unassisted, 7:35

M- Abby Martin, unassisted, 4:19

CH- Sydney Robertson, assist Hannah Zemaitis, 0:01

Second Half

CH- Emily Nelson, assist Robertson, 28:48

CH- Linie Trimmer, unassisted, 22:10

Shots: CH 8; M 9

Corners: CH 5; M 7

Saves: CH (Annie Kalpas 7); M (Anne Becker 4).

Girls Soccer falls to Lower Dauphin

Article by Brett Keener, For The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Lower Dauphin had spent nearly 55 minutes Tuesday night trying unsuccessfully to crack Mechanicsburg’s defense.

The Falcons had controlled the midfield for significant stretches. They several times came within striking distance of the Mechanicsburg goal. They had a handful of corner kicks. Nothing worked.

But just when it looked as if it would take an elaborate plan to break through against the Wildcats, the Falcons got a few seconds of brilliance from midfielder Madie Light — and that was all they needed in their 1-0 victory over Mechanicsburg in a Mid-Penn Keystone match at Northside Elementary.

“They did a nice job of shutting a lot of things down,” Lower Dauphin coach Nic Amici said. “Madie found a way. She’s got a high level of energy and she’s proved that. To come in late in a game and pull something like that off is testament to the preparation of a senior.”

Light’s strike came with 25:36 remaining in a game that had been scoreless. The senior had been in the middle of a couple opportunities early in the game, but the Falcons were able to put just one of their shots on goal in the first half against a stout Mechanicsburg defense.

The LD midfielder finally found a seam right down the middle though, and she scooped up a loose ball and dribbled through a line of Mechanicsburg defenders before uncorking a 25-yard laser that found a home just under the crossbar.

“LD’s a very talented team,” Mechanicsburg coach Sean Cochran said. “They came out very physical and very fast, but I thought we had some opportunities. They had some too, and they just finished on their opportunity.”

The Lower Dauphin defense took charge following the goal, particularly in the final 10 minutes. Mechanicsburg was held without a shot on goal over that final stretch, preserving the one-score margin and the victory for the Falcons.

There had been a fair amount of back-and-forth play in the minutes preceding Light’s marker, although it rarely translated to quality scoring chances. LD had the upper hand in the midfield early, but Mechanicsburg’s defensive group of Natalie Logan, Courtney Andrews, Amanda Crecelius and Erin Jones — with help from mid Megan Mansfield — choked off any LD momentum in the final third.

“If it’s 0-0 or 1-0, you’re in games,” Cochran said. “We’ve got three seniors back there in Courtney, Erin and Amanda that have just been awesome. They fought. We’ve got a young team in the midfield and up top, so our defense has been led by them.”

Lower Dauphin finally got a shot on goal with 15 minutes remaining in the half, when Mechanicsburg keeper Kylie Peters was forced to make a save on a drive Savannah Mushinski had marked for the upper 90.

That was it for the quality scoring chances for the remainder of the first half, and indeed the only until Light finally put the Falcons on the scoreboard midway through the second half.

“This was a critical game for both teams,” Amici said. “Mechanicsburg is a solid team, so to come in here and steal this one from them was real important for us. There’s long road ahead, but it’s nice to get the first one.”

 

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

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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.”