The home of the Mifflinburg High School Wildcat Football Team! Located in Central Pennsylvania. The Wildcats are under the leadership of head coach, Mark Reitz.

Archive for September, 2008

Defense, special teams propel Mifflinburg
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
By Chris Brady

Reprinted with permission

MILTON — The way the Mifflinburg offense rumbled through the Milton defense on its first two possessions, there was little thought of needing the big play. But the big play, and special teams play, factored heavily in Mifflinburg’s 21-0 win over Milton Friday in a Heartland Conference-I matchup at soggy Alumni Field. The Wildcats improved to 1-4, 1-2 in league play while Milton fell to 1-4, 0-4 in league play.

Mifflinburg stormed out of the gates, taking the opening kick and marching 43 yards into the red zone before sputtering and stalling at the 21. A missed field goal gave the ball to the Panthers, who went three-and-out. Again, Mifflinburg rolled into the red zone, rumbling 56 yards to the Milton 9 before stalling yet again and turning the ball over the Panthers on downs. The Wildcats’ first big play — an interception by Darren Reynolds — then led directly to their first score, a 36-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Barry Tomasetti to senior Derek Wiand. Jon Himes’ PAT made it 7-0 with three ticks left in the first quarter.

Milton was forced into another three-and-out then Mifflinburg marched down into Panthers’ territory before stalling again. That’s when Milton managed its best series of the night, a 10-play drive that wound its way down to the Mifflinburg 20 before David Snook sacked Milton QB Colton Murray for a devastating loss that would force a punt.
“I thought our defense did a great job tonight,” said Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz. “We didn’t let them have any opportunities.” Milton managed just 61 yards of total offense for the game. Still, Mifflinburg got its second score on another big play, a muffed punt attempt that gave the Wildcats a first-and-10 from the Milton 37 with just 49 seconds remaining in the first half.

Mifflinburg needed just one play, an inside slant hookup between Tomasetti and Darren Reynolds for 37 yards and it was 14-0. Milton took the second-half kick and managed a first down before having to punt again. This time Reynolds took the ball at his own 30 and sprinted outside to the left and rolled all the way down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown return. “During film, coach said they ran in bunches and to look for an outside lane,” said Reynolds. “I got it outside and it was there.”

Reynolds finished the game with a pair of TDs, first on the 37-yard reception and again on the 70-yard punt return. He also had a 64-yard punt that was downed on the Milton 1. Add to that two Himes’ touchbacks on kick-offs, a perfect 3-for-3 night on PATs and Mifflinburg’s special teams play was stellar. “Tonight special teams was solid,” said Reitz. “It’s our offense that didn’t execute. It was a wet night, we had a couple of dropped balls, but we hit on the big play and we’ll take it.”

“We work a lot on special teams,” said Reynolds. “Coach wants everything to be perfect. That’s all thanks to him. “We move on from this win and know the team has confidence. We know we have some things to fix and we’ll work on that.”

After the teams combined for just two first-half penalties, the second half was bogged down by 12 miscues. Tomasetti threw for 87 yards and two TDs plus he ran for 57 yards. Matt Brouse finished with 19 carries and 88 yards.

Mifflinburg is back in action Friday at Jersey Shore. Milton is home with Boiling Springs.


Big plays lift Wildcats to first win of season
Sunday, September 28th, 2008
By Harold Raker
The Daily Item

Reprinted with permission

MILTON — Darren Reynolds used to be the fullback. Then the Mifflinburg coaches switched him to tailback this year. Coming into Friday night’s Heartland Athletic Conference Division I game with Milton, Reynolds had a paltry 69 yards on 31 carries.

Not the kind of numbers you want from your tailback.But as Mifflinburg’s new slot back/wide receiver, Reynolds is doing just fine.As the 5-foot-10, 182-pound junior wound his way through traffic en route to a 37-yard touchdown on a pass from Barry Tomasetti, Reynolds looked like he had been born to play receiver.

He also added a 68-yard punt return for another TD as Mifflinburg blanked Milton 21-0 at soggy Alumni Field for its first win of the season.

“In the beginning of the season, I wasn’t running the ball that well and (the coaches) said we need to get you out in the open field’ and they put me at wide receiver and tried putting in plays to use me as much as possible,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds’ first TD, on a bubble screen, came one play after a bad snap forced Milton punter Bob Turnbaugh to keep the ball and the Wildcats (1-4 overall, 1-2 HAC-I) got the ball at the Milton 37-yard line.

Reynolds said, “I was just looking back and forth for the holes because I knew I had my blockers out there. I was just looking for cutbacks. Right from the start, I saw my whole line up there and there was only one guy I had to (make) miss, and I was off. I trust them.” Milton coach Mike Bergey said his players probably lost their focus after the muffed snap and Mifflinburg did a good job of blocking downfield. “But we didn’t tackle very well, either.”

That score, with just 37 seconds left in the first half, put Mifflinburg up 14-0 at the break. The Wildcats also scored on a 36-yard pass from Tomasetti to fullback Derek Wiand. The latter took a short swing pass on the right sideline and outran the secondary.

Mifflinburg made it 21-0 before getting the ball on offense in the second half. After Milton (1-4, 0-4) picked up a first down on a pass interference penalty, the Wildcats’ defense held as linebacker David Snook blitzed and forced a fourth-down incompletion.

Reynolds took the punt around the left side and straight down the sideline for the score.

“Our coach told us to look for the outside because when they punt they usually run into a bunch,” he said.

Even though Mifflinburg moved the ball well, the Wildcats were unable to sustain any of the drives. Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz said, “We are still a team that at times is making little mistakes that are killing drives. We got away with it tonight, but in bigger games, we won’t get away with it.” Bergey said, “Defensively, I thought our kids played well, we just gave up a couple big special teams plays that hurt us.”

Reitz was pleased with the play of Tomasetti, the freshman getting his second start, but first since the season opener. The young quarterback looked comfortable running the option in the first half, rushing for 61 yards on seven carries. He was only 2-for-9 passing but was a victim of several dropped balls and his two completions went for scores. He threw three interceptions in the second half and rushed six times for negative four yards. Reitz said, “He got frustrated, but overall I think he had a pretty solid game. If we catch (some of those balls) the game changes even more.”

The Black Panthers could get little going offensively as four players were in negative yards rushing. Bergey said, “We just can’t seem to find a rhythm offensively, can’t run the ball and can’t seem to throw the football, either. That’s a tough combination.”

But Reynolds said, “We have some pretty good linebackers and some pretty big ones. They are always ready to hit, and they are always swarming to the ball and making plays for us,” Reynolds said.


Wildcats’ rally falls just short
Sunday, September 21st, 2008
By Barb Krohn
The Standard Journal

Reprinted with permission

MIFFLINBURG — Mifflinburg put up a good come-from-behind battle against Central Columbia Friday night but in the end mistakes and costly penalties kept the Wildcats out of the win column again and the Blue Jays were able to hold on for the 27-20 Heartland Conference crossover win. Mifflinburg, now 0-4, will be looking for its first win of the season next week when they travel to Milton. Central Columbia improves to 3-1.

“We just can’t get there,” said Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz, who was clearly disappointed after the game. “We can’t fault the kids, and (Central Columbia) is a good team. We just had too many mistakes.” The first one came when the Wildcats were forced to punt just three plays into the game. Mifflinburg punter Darren Reynolds got a bad snap and was forced to try to run the ball. The Blue Jays tackled him on the five.

Central Columbia quarterback Adam Diltz scored three plays later on a three-yard keeper. It could have been the start to a very long night, but the Wildcat offense with freshman Barry Tomasetti getting his first start as quarterback proved otherwise.

Mifflinburg put together a 70-yard, four-minute drive that earned five first downs and much to the delight of the crowd a 21-yard pass to Anthony Wagner. Matt Brouse rushed the last five yards into the end zone and Jon Himes’ PAT was good to knot the game at 7-7.

The Blue Jays came right back, however, advancing the ball 80 yards on two completed passes and a pass interference call against the Wildcats. Diltz hit Mark Fulton for the 43 yard touchdown pass. Central’s PAT failed though and Mifflinburg was down by six at the end of the first quarter. Central scored again at the beginning of the second stanza but the Wildcats weren’t ready to throw in the towel. Mifflinburg got the ball on its own 30 and despite two penalties managed to drive the ball down the field. Tomasetti completed two passes on this drive, the culmination of which was a 23-yarder to Reynolds who skied for the touchdown catch. The Wildcats ended the half with an impressive goal-line stand against the Blue Jays to go into the intermission down 19-14.

Mifflinburg kept the momentum in the opening of the third quarter when Reynolds picked off a Diltz pass and ran it back 48 yards to give his team the 20-19 lead. A penalty prior to the PAT pushed the Wildcats back and they decided to go for a two-point conversion instead. That attempt failed. Derek Wiand ended the Blue Jays’ next drive with another pass interception and it looked like Mifflinburg was in the driver’s seat at last. But another penalty put the home team in a hole and Central was able to force what was the first punt of the game. This time the Blue Jays didn’t waste their opportunity putting up the TD of the game and executing a two-point conversion.

“The goal-line stand started us off and kept us in the game,” said Reitz. “We came out with the interceptions and we had the momentum. “Lack of focus caused that false start.” Mifflinburg looked much improved on Friday night and the beginning of a passing game was a bright spot for the Wildcats. “I think Barry Tomasetti had a pretty good game for his first start,” said Reitz. “He completed some passes and ran the option well.” Reitz continues to be pleased with his defensive unit.

“We got some big defensive stops,” he said. “We had to adjust to some of their quad sets on passing.” Nonetheless, getting better just isn’t cutting it for the Wildcats. “We did better, but we’re not content with just getting better,” said Reitz. “We were this close,” he said.


Central holds off push from Wildcats
Sunday, September 21st, 2008
By Brett R. Crossley
The Daily Item

Reprinted with permission

MIFFLINBURG — Mifflinburg’s streak of three consecutive winning seasons is in serious jeopardy following another tough loss Friday, this time a 27-20 setback to Central Columbia. The loss pushes Mifflinburg to 0-4 on year and leaves the team at the bottom of the Heartland Athletic Conference I.“It just came down to a couple plays and we just didn’t get things done,” Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz said. “This game was a step in the right direction for some of the younger players. We have a lot to build on with them.”

The couple of plays came in the form of two fourth down attempts on consecutive drives.

With just under eight minutes left in the game, Central Columbia (3-1) decided to go after failing to convert on third and inches. The Blue Jays decided to put the game in the hands of the offensive line by attempting to convert on a quarterback sneak. Mifflinburg stuffed the sneak three yards behind the line to get the ball back.

“I was upset we couldn’t get a couple of inches on two plays,” Central Columbia coach Joe Kelchner said. “They are a tough team and stuck with it. Things really got scary for us at the end of the game.”

On the possession following the stop, Mifflinburg moved down the field, converting two first downs only to face the same decision Central faced minutes earlier. On third-and-four from the 28, Mifflinburg was held to no gain, forcing Reitz to make the decision to go for it with less than four minutes left in the game. Following a Wildcat timeout, Darren Reynolds’ number was called on a run up the middle and was denied as three Blue Jay defenders came crashing through to hold him one yard short.

“That was one of the keys to the game,” said Reitz. “Our defense made a lot of bigs stops in the second half, unfortunately we just seemed to fall short.”

Although Mifflinburg wasn’t able to get the win, it didn’t leave the game completely empty-handed. The Wildcats defense looked impressive, especially at the end of the first half when they denied the Blue Jays a touchdown after facing a first-and-goal from the one.

The Wildcats continued to impress with their defense by getting two interceptions to start the second half. The first pick was returned by Reynolds 38 yards to give Mifflinburg the lead 20-19. The second pick came when Central decided to go for it on fourth later in the game.

The Blue Jays got things together following the interception by driving six plays down the field on their next possession to put the score at 27-20.

“I wanted to keep throwing at that point,” said Kelchner. “We had to get some momentum back and the final score for us was important to keep our heads in the game.”


Loyalsock edges Mifflinburg in HC crossover
Saturday, September 13th, 2008
By Barb Krohn
The Standard-Journal

Reprinted with permission

WILLIAMSPORT — The Wildcats were just one play away from their first win of the season. At least that’s how it seemed with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter in their first-ever matchup against Loyalsock. Mifflinurg had just scored narrowing its deficit to three points and after Jon Himes booted the kickoff into the end zone and the Wildcat defense stuffed the Lancers forcing a third-and-8 on the 22-yard line. Mifflinburg brought the rush and one defender got a hand on the ball but Loyalsock quarterback Shane Carey got the pass off to Frankie Pagana who scored the backbreaker and the Lancers went on to win 26-16. The Wildcats are now 0-3 while Loyalsock improves to 2-1.

“We were one play away,” said Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz. “We had the spark at the end and the momentum. We were a little late on the rush, but we got a hand on it.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work out.” It looked to be a great night for the Wildcats when Shawn Hurst ran the opening kickoff 85 yards into the end zone to put Mifflinburg up 6-0 with just 13 ticks off the game clock. “Shawn Hurst did a great job tonight,” said the Wildcat coach. Although Loyalsock blocked the PAT Darren Reynolds managed to cause a fumble from Lancer receiver Robbie Wright and Derek Wiand made the recovery to give the Wildcats the ball on the Loyalsock 44.

After earning a first down Mifflinburg fumbled and Loyalsock recovered. This time the Lancers would not waste the opportunity and got on the board when Carey hit Arnell Carter for a 14 yard pass to knot the game at six apiece. The Wildcats relied on Reynolds for most of their offense in the first half and Reynolds made some big defensive stops as well, so although Mifflinburg went into halftime with the score still tied, Reynolds was no longer available for many offensive plays in the second half.

“Darren was struggling in the second half,” said Reitz. “He was running hard on defense — and they really run you around — he was running out of gas.” Luckily for the Wildcats Matt Brouse stepped up, grinding for key yards in both of Mifflinburg’s scoring drives in the second half. “That Brouse kid came in and did a nice job in tailback,” said Reitz. Loyalsock opened the third quarter with a five-play drive that culminated in a 52-yard run into the end zone that along with the PAT made the score 13-6 Lancers.

The Wildcats responded with a drive of over four minutes but on fourth-and-6 at the 15 were forced to bring in Himes for the 33-yard field goal. The Lancers added another TD on a 61-yard pass to Carter in the fourth quarter and after trading possessions Mifflinburg reeled off its own nine-play drive to bring the game to within three.

Reitz said he sees improvements in his team every week, but since they are young in some key positions, mistakes keep proving costly. Kaleb Snyder and Barry Tomasetti split time at quarterback with Snyder taking the first half and Tomasetti taking the second. “I thought Kaleb did alright in the first half,” said Reitz. “We brought Tomasetti in because we wanted to go with the option and he runs that better.”

Unfortunately many times the option was called it ended in no gain. “Half the time we fumbled the ball in the exchange and we didn’t get to run it,” said Reitz. Although the Wildcats recovered those fumbles, it didn’t help their come from behind effort. Once again the Mifflinburg defense looked solid, but was on the field too long. “We knew we couldn’t play defense all night,” said the Mifflinburg coach. Reitz said he is frustrated with his team’s losses because he thinks he has the horses to win. “We have had a team that could win the last two games,” he said. “We’re so close. This is one of the hardest working crews I’ve had.”


Big play keeps ’Cats winless
Saturday, September 13th, 2008

WILLIAMSPORT — In the end, Mifflinburg was just “spread” too thin.Facing Loyalsock’s spread offense in Friday night’s Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game, the Wildcats gave up some big plays. Yet they still had a chance late, as the Lancers faced a 3rd-and-7 from their own 23 while clinging to a three-point lead.But Loyalsock quarterback Shane Carey then hooked up with Frankie Pagana for a 77-yard touchdown pass with 2:21 left, punctuating the Lancers’ 26-16 victory at Kenneth M. Robbins Stadium.

“We were one play away from winning the game,” said Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz, whose team fell to 0-3 with the loss. “We could have got the ball back and scored. We had the spark at the end; we had the momentum. But they made a play.”

Pagana still wasn’t done, as he intercepted two Barry Tomasetti passes in the final two minutes. Turnovers and penalties were a common story in the game: The teams combined for eight turnovers and 129 yards worth of violations.

“The fumbles, the penalties … they just kill us,” Reitz said. “We’re making a lot of mistakes.” The Wildcats’ Shawn Hurst took the opening kickoff back 85 yards for a score, but Mifflinburg’s offense was bogged down most of the night. The Lancers (2-1) had no such trouble, as quarterback Shane Carey finished 15-for-25 for 272 yards and three touchdowns. He didn not throw an incompletion in the second half, and he hooked up with Arnell Carter on a 61-yard touchdown strike in addition to his scoring toss to Pagana. Lancers wideout Robbie Wright caught nine passes for 75 yards in his first action of the season. Many of his catches were underneath, which helped set up Carter’s 61-yard TD catch. On the play, Carey pump-faked toward Wright, forcing the safety to come up. Carey then threw a rainbow to Carter down the right sideline.

“Our passing offense is extremely versatile,” Lancers coach Alex Jackson said. “You’ve got to be able to cover all our receivers. We’ve got five who can run and can catch.”

Tailback Stephen Stopper, who had 74 yards in the second half, gave Loyalsock a 13-6 lead early in the third. He broke a few tackles and rumbled 52 yards for the score — getting a key block downfield from Brett Wise. A Loyalsock penalty on the ensuing kickoff enabled Mifflinburg to start at the Lancers 42. Tomasetti, who replaced starter Kaleb Snyder after halftime, moved the Wildcats into field goal range for Jon Himes, and he booted a 32-yarder that just got over the crossbar to get Mifflinburg within four at 13-9. Loyalsock responded with Carey’s long touchdown pass to Carter. It was Carter’s second TD reception of the night, as he also caught a 10-yarder in the first quarter.

With the score 19-9 following Loyalsock’s failed two-point attempt, the teams traded punts before Tomasetti led the Wildcats on their only sustained drive of the night. Mifflinburg went 47 yards on nine plays, with the key moment coming on Tomasetti’s nine-yard completion to Chad Wolfgang on 3rd-and-6. Derek Wiand took it in from a yard out for the score, and Himes’ extra point made it 19-16 with 2:50 to go.

But Carey found Pagana on the Lancers’ next possession to put it away and leave Mifflinburg still searching for its first win of the year.

“They have some of the better athletes in the area,” Reitz said of the Lancers. “Eventually they’re going to break one, and they broke two on us.”


Seals shutout Wildcats
Saturday, September 13th, 2008
By Standard Journal

Reprinted with permission.

SELINSGROVE —Selinsgrove came into Friday’s Heartland Conference-I matchup with Mifflinburg wanting to slow the Wildcats’ run attack. Mission accomplished.

Selinsgrove held the Wildcats to negative-13 yards of total offense en route to a 20-0 win over Mifflinburg at Bolig Field. Selinsgrove improved to 1-1, 1-0 HC-I while Mifflinburg fell to 0-2, 0-2 HC-I. “I don’t think (we could have) played that (option) any better,” Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess, who picked up his first career win as the Seals head man. The game was scoreless through the first quarter as both teams struggled offensively. Each team punted twice in the first quarter.

The Seals’ defense gave them the lead on the first play of the second quarter. Outside linebacker Bryant Trautman came unblocked on a blitz and sacked Mifflinburg quarterback Shawn Hurst, causing a fumble. The ball lay on the ground until Drew Kuhns picked up at the 3 and walked into end zone. After a missed extra point, Selinsgrove took a 6-0 lead. The Seals’ offense scored its first touchdown of the season with 45 seconds left in the third quarter on a 12-yard Cory Briggs to Ryan Keiser TD pass for a 12-0 lead. The drive was set up by Keiser’s 33-yard punt return to the Mifflinburg 26. Briggs did throw for 72 yards in the first half, but was sacked twice and hit several other times, while Selinsgrove managed only 2 yards on the ground.

“I’m proud of the defense,” said Mifflinburg coach Mark Reitz. “We didn’t get anything going on offense.” Selinsgrove got its ground game in the second half, racking up 129 yards on the ground and chewing up clock. The Seals’ offense put together a 10-play 80-yard drive that consumed 4:41 with all but one play on the ground to clinch the game in the fourth quarter. Trautman capped the drive with a one-yard plunge with 8:06 left in the game. Briggs hit sophomore running back Kyle Reinard with a pass in the flat for the two-point conversion and a 20-0 lead.

Reitz wasn’t happy with his offensive execution. “We put (freshman QB) Barry Tomasetti in and he did a nice job. It’s something we’re going to have to evaluate this week,” said Reitz. “The schedule didn’t do us any favors. We want to be able to compete with the Montoursvilles and the Selinsgroves, but we’re not there yet, but we’re working to be.” After two league games to begin the season, Mifflinburg is back in action next week at non-league foe Loyalsock.


Seals shut down ‘Cats, give Hess first victory
Saturday, September 13th, 2008
By Todd Hummel
The Daily Item

Reprinted with permission.

SELINSGROVE — The Selinsgrove defense and its coaching staff thought the key to stopping Mifflinburg’s new option offense was keying on quarterback Shawn Hurst, who rushed for more than 100 yards in the Wildcats season opener “We knew No. 3 (Hurst) and No. 32 (Darren Reynolds) were real tough runners,” Selinsgrove outside linebacker Drew Kuhns said. “The coaches really stressed that we need to hit 3 and then hit 32 when they ran that option.”

Hit the Seals’ defense did, holding the Wildcats to negative-13 yards of total offense and scoring Selinsgrove’s first touchdown of the season as the Seals picked up a 20-0 win over Mifflinburg in their Heartland Conference-Division I opener.

“I don’t think (we could have) played that (option) any better,” Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess, who picked up his first career win as the Seals head man. “(Defensive coordinator) Derek (Hicks) and (assistant coach) Chip (Moll) put together a great game plan. We just took the option away. We challenged them to shut them down.”

The game was scoreless through the first quarter as Selinsgrove once again struggled offensively in the first half. Each team punted twice in the first quarter.

The Seals (1-1, 1-0) defense gave them the lead on the first play of the second quarter. Outside linebacker Bryant Trautman came unblocked on a blitz and blind-sided Hurst, causing a fumble.

“Nobody touched me. I had a clear shot,” Trautman said. “When you get those chances, you have to take advantage of them.”

The ball sat on the ground until Drew Kuhns picked up at the three and walked into end zone. The extra point was wide left, giving Selinsgrove a 6-0 lead with 11:53 left in the half.

Neither team generated any offense until the Seals’ offense scored its first touchdown of the season with 45 seconds left in the third quarter on a 12-yard Cory Briggs to Ryan Keiser TD pass, giving Selinsgrove a 12-0 lead. The drive was set up by Keiser’s 33-yard punt return to the Mifflinburg 26.

Briggs did throw for 72 yards in the first half, but was sacked twice and hit several other times, while Selinsgrove managed only two yards on the ground.

“We had three new starters on the offensive line this week,” Hess said. “We talked to them at halftime and got them on the same page. We seemed more comfortable in the second half.”

Selinsgrove got its ground game in the second half, rolling up 129 yards and controlling the clock. The Seals’ offense put together a 10-play 80-yard drive that consumed 4:41 with all but one play on the ground to clinch the game in the fourth quarter. Trautman capped the drive with a one-yard plunge with 8:06 left in the game. Briggs hit sophomore running back Kyle Reinard with a pass in the flat for the two-point conversion and a 20-0 lead.