Article by Andy Shay, Pennlive.com
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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.”
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Article by Chris Johnson, The Sentinel
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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.