Football drops season opener to Carlisle

Article by Eric Epler, by Mark Pynes,

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.


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.”


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.


“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 or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

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

Article by Andy Shay,

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.”


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.

Football Falls to Hershey

Article by John Tuscano,

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.”

Football falls to Lower Dauphin on Homecoming

Article by Andy Shay, by Mark Pynes,

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.


Football uses big 4th quarter to dispatch Carlisle

Article by Jeff Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photography by Nancy Zimmerman, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — Mechanicsburg and Carlisle opened their season with different hopes and both teams saw a lot of positives in their game, but it came down to a tale of two halves.

Carlisle won the opening half, but the Wildcats came back to win the second 24 minutes and the game 24-14 Friday night at John H. Frederick Field in Mechanicsburg.

The game came down to turnovers and the Herd (0-1) put the ball on the ground five times and Mechanicsburg (1-0) cashed in twice for touchdowns.

In the opening quarter, Mechanicsburg’s Don Bair recovered a fumble at the Herd 30-yard line. A Billy Burger to Max Breschi pass was complete but Breschi coughed up the ball on a big hit by Dustin Daihl. Four plays later, Tyler Schubert found Shyheim Brown in the left flat for the score. Ben Dubas added the point after for a 7-0 lead.

The Herd rallied to tie the game at the end of the first quarter. Burger found a wide open Michael Wuestner in the left flat for a three-yard score to complete a 65-yard drive. Dorian Naiditch added the tying point after.

A Herd recovery of a Wildcat fumble led to the next score as Tyler Greene capped an eight-play drive with a one yard dive. Naiditch gave the Herd a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Herd wanted to establish the running game and rushed for almost 200 yards in the opening half while holding the Wildcats to 10 yards rushing.

Mechanicsburg came out in the second half and their defense stopped the Herd throughout the half.

“I told the kids to relax and let the game come to them,” Wildcats coach Chris Hakel said. “Against the veer and wing-T you can’t really assimilate them in practice so I told the kids we had our practice in the first half. The team defense was great in the second half and it was a everybody — from the line to the linebackers and the backs — they made plays“

A scoreless third quarter led to Wildcat fireworks in the fourth. Schubert found Brown in the right flat and he outraced the Herd secondary to the end zone from 20 yards out.

Dubas added a 45-yard field goal at the 4:11 mark.

Moments later, a Herd fumble found the waiting arms of Swahneek Brown who high-stepped it into the end zone from 58 yards out for the final score.

Carlisle, who didn’t win a game all last season found itself in the same position. It played well but too many mistakes took away any chance to win their first game.

“We just can’t expect tow in when we put the ball on the ground that many times,” said a visibly frustrated Herd coach Josh Oswalt. “We dropped passes and we had plenty of opportunities but we beat ourselves. These kids played their butts off tonight but they will put it all together some night and that win is coming this year. I was so proud of our effort in the first half but we just couldn’t add to that lead.”

Schubert led the ‘Cats with an 18-for-33 night for 280 yards. Shyheim Brown caught five passes while Swahneek Brown and Jeray Anderson each caught four passes. Tommy Marlin caught three and supplied some toughness in the receiving corps.

Defensively, Jake Rehm Tommy Chestnut and Dustin Daihl spent more time in the Herd backfield than the Herd running backs.

Burger targeted 10-of-20 passes but was flagged for stepping over the line of scrimmage twice on completed passes that proved to be costly. Bamasa Bailor rushed for 112 yards and Tyler Greene rushed 25 times for a tough 76 yards. Deonte Ramsey had a combined 76 yards on the ground and receptions.

Article by Eric Epler, PennliveFor the full article, click here.

It has to be exhausting, answering the same question about a program’s inability to turn the corner. To learn how to win again. But that Carlisle head man Josh Oswalt near the 50-yard line at John H. Frederick Field Friday night, emphasizing how hard his football has worked, and how tough is was to be the better football team yet leave Mechanicsburg with another setback.

Oswalt wasn’t just firing off. The fourth-year skipper had a point.

“The kids played hard, but we’ve got to get back to learning how to win,” said Oswalt, his Herd on the wrong side of a 24-14 battle with Mechanicsburg. The Wildcats erupted for 17 fourth-quarter points.

“Once we learn how to win, I think we’ve got plenty of wins in us. I think this is a damn good football team. These kids bust their butts and it’s going to come together.”

For one half of football, Carlisle certainly played like the better football team, piling up rushing yards behind the hard steps of Tyler Greene, Bamasa Bailor and Eli White. That trio combined for 171 rushing yards on just 25 carries, steering Carlisle to a 14-7 halftime advantage.

Despite those impressive numbers, two drives ended with fumbles inside Mechanicsburg territory.

Carlisle’s third lost fumble – the Herd coughed it up five times overall – resulted in Swahneek Brown’s game-clinching 58-yard return in the waning seconds. To boot, the Wildcats defense limited Carlisle to 56 rushing yards in the final 24 minutes.

“We’ve got a good football team here, but if you put the ball on the carpet that many times, I don’t care how good your football team is you’re not going to win the game, said Oswalt, whose club has lost 12 straight dating back to the 2011 season. “I honestly believe the better football team didn’t win this game tonight.”

Carlisle won the first down battle (16-12) and outgained Mechanicsburg 329-290 in total offense. The Wildcats, of course, walked away with the only real number that matters.

On Twitter: @threejacker

21 Student-Athletes make their college choices official

21 Mechanicsburg student-athletes made their college choices official on Wednesday, February 13 during the annual Signing Day.  See below for the complete list.  Congratulations!

Last NameFirst NameSportSchool
LukerKarliSoccerPenn State Berks
MorefieldAnnieField HockeyHarvard


Sam Marlin Commits to Fordham

Article by Andy Shay, The Patriot-News

For the full article, click here.

Football is still a high priority for Sam Marlin, but the Mechanicsburg senior was thinking beyond his playing days when he recently chose to become a student-athlete at FCS Fordham University.

The 6-7, 275-pound Marlin has been a three-year starter for head coach Chris Hakel and the Wildcats – going both ways each of the last two seasons. At Fordham he’ll be an offensive tackle.

Marlin chose the Rams over Robert Morris and Wagner along with offers from several PSAC schools.

“Football is not going to be able to last me forever,” Marlin said. “I wanted a school that carried some weight with it for the future. I’m planning to major in business. And being in New York City you can’t beat the location for internships and experience in the business world.”

Fordham, a member of the the Patriot League, had shown interest in Marlin since the end of his junior season. He sent the Rams a highlight tape during the regular season, went on an unofficial visit in late November. Fordham offered him a scholarship in early December.

“Fordham was a lot different than what I expected. I went up there thinking it would be more like Temple,” Marlin said. “But when I got up there, the campus is all fenced in inside 85 acres. You can see the grass and trees and it still has the feel of a college campus.

“For a while I was looking at the PSAC schools. But it’s always been a dream of mine to play Division I football. And it’s hard to pass up this kind of education.”

Football falls to Harrisburg in D3 Playoffs

Article by Christopher Hopkins, The Sentinel/Photos by Matthew O’Haren, The Sentinel

For the full article and photos, click here.

HARRISBURG — Any time a team can put up 40 points in a game, they are going to give themselves a great chance at winning. Scoring that many in one quarter, though, that’s a new District 3 record.

When Marcel Brown crossed the goal line late in the second quarter, it may have been just his first score of the game, but for Harrisburg, it was its eighth touchdown. The Cougars scored at will in the first half of Saturday’s District 3-AAAA first round game against Mechanicsburg, setting a new District 3 record for points in a half with 53, and rolling to a 53-22 win at Severance Field.

The Cougars (9-2) ran just 12 plays in the second quarter, not because they couldn’t get the ball, but because they were scoring right away.

In a total of five series, Harrisburg never needed more than four plays to get into the end zone — twice scoring on the first play from scrimmage. Mix in an interception returned for a touchdown and that was all the Cougars needed.

“It’s one of those things where I really can’t explain it,” Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett said of his team’s performance in the second quarter. “Everything’s just working well. The kids were executing.”

Early on, the Wildcats (5-6) looked to be in good shape. On the first drive of the game, the Wildcats used seven plays to drive all the way to the Harrisburg 27. But the ensuing field goal attempt fell short of the goal posts and gave Harrisburg the ball.

From there, Cougars running back Robert Martin took over. Martin went for 78 yards on five carries to give Harrisburg the ball on their own 2, setting up its first score of the game.

“I think we came out and then they go down and score and it just takes the wind out of your sails,” Mechanicsburg coach Chris Hakel. “It puts that little shadow of doubt in your head.”

The Wildcats could never really get a drive going again in the first half as the Harrisburg defense picked up the intensity. Mechanicsburg quarterback Mitchell Ramsey scrambled for a 54-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter, but the rest of the first half was a struggle for the Wildcats. Out of seven possessions, there were five three-and-outs, a pick six and a drive that ended as the half expired.

“The defense stepped up and played well,” Everett said. “They’ve been playing well all season long, so it wasn’t surprising. They just did a good job.”

Mechanicsburg didn’t fade away in the second half, though, keeping Harrisburg out of the end zone through the last 24 minutes while tacking on 15 more points of its own. In an up-and-down season where the Wildcats had trouble closing out games, the sign of life in the second half was a positive for Hakel in an otherwise rough outing.

“That’s what I’m most proud of these kids is they could have easily came out in the second half and said, ‘I’m done,’ but they didn’t,” he said. “They continued to fight and play hard until that very last whistle.”

With the win, Harrisburg advances to play No. 6 Cumberland Valley in the quarterfinals. Moving forward, Everett said the most important thing for his team is to stay level-headed and not look too far ahead in the tournament. While a 31-point first round win is undoubtedly convincing, the Cougars will need to keep following the same mentality they have all year long.

“It’s the same motto that we’ve had since the beginning of the season,” Everett said. “Just take it one game at a time. We’re not worrying about Central Dauphin or anyone else. We’re worrying about Cumberland Valley right now. That’s our focus. We just got past Mechanicsburg, that’s been our focus all week long.

“Now our focus is Cumberland Valley.”


Mechanicsburg 0 7 7 8 – 22

Harrisburg 13 40 0 0 – 53

First Quarter

H – Kyle Cook 1 run (kick failed), 4:16

H – Jalen Kent 59 pass from Cook (Mekhi Hicks kick), 0:40

Second Quarter

M – Mitchell Ramsey 54 run (Ben Dubas kick), 11:44

H – Robert Martin 63 run (Darian Davis-Ray run), 11:26

H – Cook 1 run (kick failed), 9:32

H – Jalen Williams 8 run (Hicks kick), 6:38

H – Chris Britton 20 interception (kick failed), 6:19

H – Davis-Ray 50 run (Hicks kick), 3:58

H – Marcel Brown 4 pass from Cook (kick failed), 0:10

Third Quarter

M – Swahneek Brown 13 pass from Tyler Schubert (Dubas kick), 7:18

Fourth Quarter

M – Andrew Spanos 30 pass from Schubert (Breon Coke run), 7:35

Team Statistics M H

First downs 6 13

Rushes-yards 21-93 32-335

Passing 8-16-2 8-11-0

Passing yards 111 150

Punts-avg. 4-23 1-15

Penalties-yards 3-15 8-75

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: Mechanicsburg, Joe Hennessy 5-17; Shyheim Brown 7-14; Mitchell Ramsey 5-64; Cooper Miller 3-7; Tyler Schubery 1-(-9). Harrisburg, Robert Martin 12-165; Darian Davis-Ray 3-74; Kyle Cook 3-3; Jalen Williams 3-33; Domonique Shurns 3-12; Malik Potter 3-27; Kani Little 2-9; Jakodi McCraw 2-7.

PASSING: Mechanicsburg, Mitchell Ramsey 0-1-0, 0 yards; Tyler Schubert 8-15-2, 111 yards.Harrisburg, Kyle Cook 8-11-0, 150 yards.

RECEIVING: Mechanicsburg, Ben Dubas 1-4; Shyheim Brown 1-(-5); Andrew Spanos 2-68; Camryn Rice 2-31; Swahneek Brown 1-4. Harrisburg, Jalen Kent 2-66; Domonique Shurns 2-35; Robert Martin 1-38; Marcel Brown 3-11.

Article by Andy Shay, The Patriot-News

For the full article, click here.

Once the Harrisburg arsenal unleashed all those weapons, there was literally nothing Mechanicsburg could do Saturday afternoon.

Two long runs for scores, a blocked punt that came up a yard shot of a touchdown and a pick-six all in a span of less than eight minutes of the second quarter added up to 40 points for the Cougars.

Throw in a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Kyle Cook and Harrisburg put up 53 first-half points on its way to a 53-22 District 3-AAAA victory over the Wildcats at Severance Field.

Harrisburg (9-2) plays Cumberland Valley (8-3) in the quarterfinal round Saturday at Severance Field. Kick off is 1 p.m.

“The kids came out focused in the first half and executed well,” Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett said. “But I reminded them it will only get tougher from here as teams keep going so we have to stay focused.”

After Mechanicsburg (5-6) missed a 43-yard field goal after a solid opening drive, Harrisburg handed the pigskin to Robert Martin six straight times.

Martin, who finished with 201 total yards on 14 touches and one touchdown, took the Cougars from the Harrisburg 20 to inside the Wildcats’ 10.

That first touchdown wasn’t easy, as Cook had to bull over from a yard out on fourth down.

But it was just the beginning and easy touchdowns — lots of them — were on their way.

Cook, who finished with 149 yards passing with a couple scores, hit Jalen Kent in stride for a 59-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to make it 13-0.

Then Harrisburg went nuts.

But first Mechanicsburg had to get their attention. And when Wildcats quarterback rumbled 54 yards for a touchdown on the second snap of the second quarter it was 13-7.

From that point until halftime, the Cougars ran 11 offensive plays that produced 34 points. Chris Britton added an 20-yard pick-six that deflected off Joe Adams’ hands to give Harrisburg a District 3-AAAA record 40 points in one quarter.

Nobody in District 3 had scored 40 in quarter at any level before Saturday.

“The first half, for the most part, they played focused. It was difficult up 53-7 to focus because the outcome of the game was decided. It was natural for their focus to slip a little bit,” Everett said. “The defense again played well. They’ve been playing well all season.”

Mechanicsburg kept firing in the second half, though. Sophomore QB Tyler Schubert threw for 141 of his 145 yards and both touchdowns in the second half. A nifty grab by Swahneek Brown 13 yards out in the third quarter and a nice post pattern to Andrew Spanos for 30 yards in the fourth quarter.

Harrisburg finished with 320 rushing yards on 32 carries and piled up 469 total yards of offense. Most of that total, 362 yards, came in the first half on only 24 plays.


Football rallies to beat Cedar Cliff, Earns D3 Playoff Berth

Article by David Rung, The Sentinel/Photos by Matthew O’Haren, The Sentinel

For the full article and photos, click here.

Mechanicsburg has had some frustrating losses this season.

Close games seemed to slip away from the Wildcats each week as they went from undefeated through their first three games to 4-5 and on the bubble of the District 3-AAAA playoffs.

It may have took 10 weeks, but Chris Hakel’s squad finally used some of that frustration to its advantage, putting together a thrilling comeback to dispatch Cedar Cliff 38-34 Friday night at John H. Frederick Field.

“I think it’s a lot of pent-up emotion,” Hakel said. “There was a lot of frustration throughout the course of the year. We lost some close games that we should have won. We have the game against Hershey where we don’t really show up then last week (against Susquehanna Twp.) we don’t play as well as we should have.

“There were a lot of pent-up emotions and they all came out.”

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Schubert, who finished with 301 yards through the air on 15-of-20 passing, led the charge, tossing the ball up 13 times in the fourth quarter.

When Schubert and the Mechanicsburg offense were handed the ball down 17 points with only 4:07 left in the contest, they went to work, with an 11-yard fade to Andrew Spanos capping a seven-play, 64-yard drive to pull within 10 points.

With the Wildcats needing to recover an onside kick to have any chance, they won out on the bottom of the pile, coming up with the ball on the Cedar Cliff 29.

“When we recovered the onside kick, then we kind of knew we had the chance,” Spanos said. “I propelled us to getting the next two touchdowns.”

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Schubert hit Swahneek Brown on a hitch in the middle of the field, and Brown turned to see an open path to the end zone, cutting the deficit to 3.

The next onsides kick wouldn’t fare as well for the Wildcats — with Cedar Cliff’s Nathan Orris coming down with the perfectly placed kick from Ben Dubas on the Mechanicsburg 25.

That meant it was time for the defense to step up, and they did, stuffing two runs and sacking signal-caller Andrew Ford to take the Colts out of field-goal position.

After an incompletion on fourth down, the ball went back to the Wildcats with 66 seconds remaining and no timeouts, and 70 yards between them and the goal line.

Schubert would complete passes of 18, 13, 17 and 24 yards around three clock-stopping spikes to move to the 1-yard line. When Joe Hennessey barrelled in behind the left side of his offensive line, Mechanicsburg took its first and only lead of the game.

“I just felt like we had to keep going,” Schubert said of the Wildcats’ comeback. “I felt great, we just needed to keep working. This is the best I’ve felt all season. All the hard work is paid off and now we get another shot in the playoffs.”

A solid first half from the Wildcats had them trailing the high-powered Colts just 21-17 at the break, but it appeared to fall apart as the second half got underway.

Mechanicsburg turned the ball over on each of its first three possessions of the half, and the Colts responded with 13 points off the takeaways to begin pulling away. The visitors even started pounding the line of scrimmage with their running game to take a lead of 34-17 at the 4:07 mark.

“We took advantage of some things when they were there,” Hakel said. “Sometimes theirs someone looking down on you, and tonight (former coach) Rich (Lichtel) was looking down on us and he’s saying, ‘I told you so.’ and he’s smiling.”

Article by Andy Shay, The Patriot-News

For the full article, click here.

For photos of the game, click here.

Somebody forgot to tell Mechanicsburg to go away quietly when trailing by 17 points with four minutes to play Friday night.

A full season worth of frustration found a target — Cedar Cliff.

The Wildcats scored three touchdowns in a span of 137 seconds to pull off a stunning come-from-behind 38-34 Mid-Penn Keystone victory over the Colts at John H. Frederick Field.

“I told the kids after the game in all my years of coaching I don’t know if I’ve ever been rendered speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” Mechanicsburg coach Chris Hakel said. “With everything we’ve been through, I’m so happy for these kids.”

Mechanicsburg (5-5, 2-5) was teetering on being playoff eligible when this one kicked off. The No. 1 of this goal of these Wildcats was to qualify for the postseason.

And they earned their spot the hard way.

“It was unbelievable. We’ve been working so hard all year, for it finally to come together like this feels awesome,” said Mechanicsburg sophomore quarterback Tyler Schubert, who threw for 301 yards and was 9 of 11 for 153 yards with two touchdowns passes in that wild final four minutes.

“It feels great to finally get over the hump.”

Cedar Cliff (5-5, 2-4) has lost four straight. The Colts took a 34-17 lead with 4:07 to play when kicker Leo VanBuskirk knocked home a 23-yard field goal.

A defense that has struggled mightily the second half of the season saw its wheels come flying off.

“I’ve been around a long time, and in all my years of coaching I’ve never been part of a team so snake bitten. We average nearly 40 points a game and we can’t win the close games,” Cedar Cliff coach Jim Cantafio said. “Give full credit to Mechanicsburg for the way they came back.”

Innocently the Wildcats scored what appeared to be an oh-by-the-way touchdown on a 12-yard wheel route from Schubert to Andrew Spanos with 2:46 to play.

But when Mechanicsburg recovered the onsides kick, it became a little more interesting.

Two Schubert completion’s later — the second covering 24 yards to Swahneek Brown for a touchdown — it was suddenly 34-31 with still 2:07 to play.

Cedar Cliff’s Nate Orris recovered a well executed onsides kick by Ben Dubas when he soared into a pile of Wildcats and nabbed the ball to give the Colts possession at the Mechanicsburg 25 with 2:03 to play.

With two timeouts in his pocket, Hakel watched his defense come up huge to give Mechanicsburg the ball back 70 yards from a potential winning touchdown with 1:06 showing on the clock.

Schubert directed his offense like a seasoned veteran — alternately completing passes and spiking the ball to slow down the clock.

Schubert was 4-for-4 on the final march — including a 24-yard laser to Camryn Rice that put the ball inside the Cedar Cliff 5-yard-line.

“I just needed to relax in there. When I relaxed I found the holes,” Schubert said. “We have good skill guys and I just got them the ball. Our seniors calmed me down in the huddle.”

A spike and the Colts having too many players on the field moved the ball to the 1, where Joe Hennessy pushed the ball across the goal line with 29 seconds left for the winning touchdown.

“There’s a lot of credit to go around. We talked about putting it all together once and let’s see what happens. And for those four minutes we put it all together,” Hakel said. “There was a lot of close games throughout the season we should have won. Last week against Hershey we really didn’t’ show up. There was a lot of pent up emotions and they all came out.”


Football falls to Indians

Article by David Bohr, The Patriot-News/Photography by Chris Knight, The Patriot-News

For the full article, click here.

For photos of the game, click here.

Susquehanna Twp. overcame 12 penalties, three turnovers and a blocked punt to post a 48-19 win over Mechanicsburg in Mid-Penn Keystone Division football on Friday night.

The Indians (7-2, 5-1) built a comfortable 28-3 lead in the second quarter, but the Wildcats (4-5, 1-5) cut it to 28-13 and appeared to recover an onside kick with 1:28 left in the half.

However, the officials ruled that the ball had not traveled 10 yards, so the Indians got the ball back.

Four plays later, Jordan Baskerville hit Colby Grant for a 36-yard gain to the Wildcats’ 14-yard line. On the next snap, Takhi Turner ran it in straight up the middle for a 34-13 lead with 23 seconds to go before intermission.

Susquehanna Twp. kept its foot on the proverbial gas pedal in the third quarter, converting a fake field goal into an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jaquan Blair to Justin Gassert with 17 seconds left in the period. That made it 42-13 and essentially put the game out of reach.

“I don’t think anyone saw it coming,” Indian head coach Joe Headen said of the fake. “It was something we wanted to keep the game rolling. We’ve been practicing it all season long, and the kids said let’s give it a shot.”

The Indians put up some impressive numbers, including Colby Grant’s 123 rushing yards on 13 carries. He had a 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that put Susquehanna Twp. up 7-3 with 5:58 to go in the first quarter, and a 13-yard touchdown run for a 20-3 lead with 10:55 left in the second.

Quarterback Jordan Baskerville was 8-for-13 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He hit Jordan Millberry with a floating lob for a 7-yard touchdown in the first quarter and connected with Jordan Banks on a deep throw for a 34-yard touchdown in the second period.

Banks had two catches for 76 yards, and Mike Jones had three receptions for 42 yards.

“It stresses you on every play,” Mechanicsburg head coach Chris Hakel said of containing all of the Indians’ weapons. “You’ve got to keep on your assignments, and you’ve got to maintain containment. It’s hard to replicate it in practice.”

But Susquehanna Twp. did also have 110 yards in penalties, and two Indian turnovers led to scoring drives for the Wildcats. Also, there was a blocked punt in the fourth quarter that was returned by Evan Lechthahler 20 yards for Mechanicsburg’s last score with 2:31 left in the game.

“We got sloppy there at the end of the game,” Headen said. “If we want to be a good team in November, we can’t do that.”

Mechanicsburg’s only offensive touchdown was on a 42-yard touchdown pass down the right side of the field by Tyler Schubert to Andrew Spanos, which made it 28-10 with 5:18 left in the second.

Spanos caught 6 passes for 75 yards.

Ben Dubas made two field goals for the Wildcats, from 36 yards in the first quarter and 23 yards in the second.

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