By Gabe Mink
For the Press And Journal
Senior Kurt Cain led the Lower Dauphin Falcons to their second win of the season Friday night, a 13-7 upset victory over Red Land.
Cain scored both touchdowns to move Lower Dauphin to 2-3 on the season, and 1-1 in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division.
“There is a word we use, chopping, just keep chopping away at it,” Cain said after the game. He had 20 carries and 134 yards in the win on the road at West Shore Stadium.
“Kurt had the hot hand,” Coach Greg Kratzer said. “He was running downhill and through first contact. Defensively he did a great job setting the edge and forcing (Patriots running back) Justin Johnson back inside. He played like a dude last night.”
The Patriots got on the board first. Ryan Kutz’s punt was blocked inside the 5 yard line by Patriots linebacker Brandon Sucuzhanay, and Red Land scored on a 3-yard run by Johnson with 2:16 left in the first quarter.
But the Falcons came right back.
Quarterback Ryan Kutz used handoff plays with Cain, and Cain scored on a 1-yard touchdown run within the first two minutes of the second quarter.
A blocked Patriots kick by Falcons defensive end Dylan Washington was recovered by Brendan Shaffer and could have been an opportunity for the Falcons to put points on the board with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter. However, a penalty against Lower Dauphin for too many men on the field kept the ball in the Patriots’ hands.
Late in the second quarter, the Patriots drove to the Falcons’ 3 yard line. It was here that the Falcons defense made a stand, keeping the Patriots out of the end zone. Johnson was stopped several times on runs, and a play as time ran out failed for Red Land. It was tied at 7 at halftime.
“This game was a major difference defensively,” Kratzer said. “I can’t say enough about our defense. They made 7 plays inside the 40 yard line, and that took a lot of work.”
Kutz carried the team all the way through the midpoint of the third quarter, but after a number of incomplete passes, Kratzer decided to swap in Aidan Klassen to give Kutz a break.
Kutz was back in at the beginning of the fourth quarter to finish the game. Klassen had 4 attempts and 3 completions for 15 passing yards. Sophomore Kutz had 14 attempted passes with the same number of completions for 16 passing yards.
It was another Cain run, from 5 yards out, that gave the Falcons their second touchdown inside the two and half minute mark of the fourth quarter. The extra point kick was no good.
The game was in doubt until the end, after the Patriots’ Matt Moody intercepted a Kutz pass with less than four minutes remaining.
But the defense held again. Red Land’s turnover on downs gave the ball back to Lower Dauphin, and the Falcons ran out the clock.
“We’ve been talking all week about respect in the game and going out a playing a solid game, and that’s how these guys played here tonight,” Kratzer said.
Shaffer and junior Cole Etchberger led the team with 8 total tackles.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 13:34
Written by Larry Etter
At the midway point of the 2016 high school football season, the Blue Raider express train is speeding along with a perfect 5-0 record.
Middletown’s fifth straight victory came last Friday night at soggy Cobo Field in Camp Hill in a smashing, 69-7 win over the host Trinity Shamrocks, a 2-2 team that was coming off a big win the previous week. This game was all Middletown, simply because the Shamrocks could not handle the Raiders’ early dominance and never recovered from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit.
The team is 5-0 for the first time since 2008, when they lost their sixth game of the season to Steel-High.
Any thoughts of a letdown by the Blue Raiders following their huge win over East Pennsboro the week before and a look ahead to a key matchup against Palmyra this week (Palmyra is also 5-0 and 2-0 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division) were quickly dismissed as the Raiders took control right from the opening kickoff and never let up on the gas. And, while there were some concerns about the overall health of his team, head coach Brett Myers was more than pleased with the results.
“We had some kids sick this week and probably had as many as 12 players who missed school and practice,” he said. “Because of it, we had some other kids who stepped in at practices and they all came out and played hard tonight.”
Scoring 69 points in a contest means that the offense was operating at the top of its game. With most of the starters sitting out the second half, the backup players scored three times themselves to add to the rout.
At the same time, the first-team Middletown defense pitched a shutout in the first half.
“Facing an offense like Trinity’s with a lot of different looks and sets was a challenge. But we had players making reads and adjustments on plays during the game,” Myers said.
On the slippery turf, the Raiders got off to a great start and scored on the first possession of the Mid-Penn Capital Division clash. A 23-yard pass connection from Chase Snavely to Tyreer Mills four plays in moved the ball to the Trinity 42. On the next play, Jaelen Thompson got open on the left side, juggled Snavely’s throw a bit before securing it tightly and then outran the defense to the end zone at the 10:07 mark. Donovan Brady added his first of seven extra point kicks and the Raiders led 7-0.
Trinity picked up one first down on the Shamrocks opening possession but the drive was stopped at the home team’s 35.
Following Mills’ punt return, the Middletown offense was back on the field at the 50. On second and 11, Snavely hooked up with Chris Plummer for 31 yards. Four plays later, on fourth and 8, Snavely and Mills connected on an 18-yard touchdown pass play. Tackle Trey Michal made a key downfield block to spring Mills free after the catch. With 4:05 left in the first quarter the Raiders led 14-0.
A three-and-out for the Shamrocks and a bad punt gave the Middletown offense excellent field position at the host’s 36. One play, another Snavely-to-Mills connection went the distance and increased the Raiders’ lead to 21-0.
Led by the passing and running of quarterback Casey Boguski, the Shamrocks mounted a promising drive that reached the Middletown 44 early in the second period. But a lost fumble on the end of a pass play that was recovered by Middletown cornerback Jonah McCoy ended the threat.
Two plays into the Raiders’ possession, Brady Fox broke free for yet another Raider touchdown, this one from 45 yards out, with 7:50 left in the first half.
Middle linebacker Hunter Landis batted down a pass attempt by Boguski on third and long and forced another Trinity punt that bounced out of bounds at the Shamrocks 35. After Thompson ran for 9 yards on first down, an apparent touchdown catch by Mills was erased by a Raider penalty. But all that did was delay the inevitable. Runs by Thompson and Fox moved the ball to the 17 and set up Snavely’s scoring toss to tight end Malik Noon at 3:14. With the PAT the Raiders, owned a 35-0 lead and the Middletown fans were ecstatic. But the Raiders were not done just yet.
Pinned back at their own 18 following Brady’s deep kickoff and tackle by Jose Lopez, the Shamrocks were again in trouble. That trouble deepened when Bob Graham dropped Boguski for a 3-yard loss on first down, jarring the ball loose at the same time. And linebacker Blake Jacoby was there to gather in the bobble at the 3. Thompson took it in from there and padded the Middletown lead to a crushing 42-0 count with 2:50 left in the first half.
Adding insult to injury, Tre Leach intercepted a Boguski pass just inside the midfield stripe three plays later. A 23-yard catch by Ryan Hughes and a 10-yard run by Leach moved the ball to the Trinity 10. Four plays later, Trinity intercepted Snavely’s pass attempt, but the Raiders got a reprieve when the defender lost the ball on the short return.
The Raiders recovered and put up more points on the scoreboard with Fox’s 1-yard dive on the final play of the first half. With that, the Blue Raiders took a commanding 49-0 lead into halftime.
With that huge lead and the mercy clock running, the Middletown starters sat out the entire second half. On the very first play of the third quarter, Kyle Truesdale intercepted Boguski and set up Middletown’s second offense at the Trinity 27. A pair of big runs by Abel Botterbusch set up Antonio Gamble’s 4-yard touchdown run. Joe Cuneo’s PAT made it a 56-0 game with 8:36 left in the third period.
The Shamrocks finally broke into the scoring column with 1:39 left in the quarter on a 55-yard touchdown run by Colby Rigg. Attempting to get another score later in the game, the Shamrocks made it as far as the Middletown 30 before the Raider reserves stopped the drive. On the very next play the Raiders scored again.
Lopez, a freshman, picked up the blocks he needed and turned the corner on his sweep. From there it was off to the races and nobody was going to catch him on his 70-yard touchdown sprint. At that point the lead swelled to 63-7.
And then, on a night where it appeared the Middletown team could do no wrong, the Blue Raiders scored again. After the defense forced another Trinity punt, the offense took over at the 47. Lamar Ventura went 4 yards on first down and, one play later, Edwin Figueroa broke free on a sweep left and sprinted to the end zone for a 49-yard scoring sprint with 2:36 left in the game. That late run put the wraps on the Blue Raiders crushing victory.
The Raiders ran for 295 yards in the game and Snavely connected on 7 of 10 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns. The offensive and defensive lines dominated the game at the line of scrimmage.
Next up for the Blue Raiders: Palmyra 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 7 at War Memorial Field
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 10:09
By Mitch Spear
For the Press And Journal
The Blue Raiders boys soccer team continued its season with a 2-2 record last week. This week, Middletown has away games against East Pennsboro on Tuesday and James Buchanan on Saturday. Thursday, the Raiders will be at home on Olmsted Regional Soccer Association night against Bishop McDevitt.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 12:39
By Gabe Mink
For the Press And Journal
The Lower Dauphin Falcons couldn’t build on the momentum of their first win of the season, falling 35-12 on the road Friday to undefeated Cedar Cliff.
Lower Dauphin notched its first victory of the season the previous week, a 10-7 victory over Cedar Crest. Friday’s loss to Cedar Cliff dropped the Falcons to 1-3 on the season. They travel to Red Land to play the 4-1 Patriots on Friday.
The Falcons trailed 35-0 through three quarters before scoring the last 12 points of the game, but it was too little, too late.
“We are not the kind of team that can dig ourselves into a hole and come back from it,” Kratzer said. “We’ve got to play a 48-minute game, and that’s on me.”
He said he was pleased the team made some plays in the fourth quarter, led by receiver Michael Geesaman and better execution on defense.
“The guys were in the right spots, the guys were playing, we started playing, we just did not play well,” Kratzer said.
After backup quarterback Ryan Kutz replaced Aidan Klassen in the second half, he threw a 28-yard touchdown to Geesaman with just less than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The extra point was no good.
Geesaman, a senior, had 62 receiving yards for the game to lead the team. The wide receiver also returned two kicks for a total of 79 yards.
The Falcons’ second and final touchdown was a Brendan Shaffer 9-yard touchdown run with 7:45 left. Klassen overshot Justin McIntyre in the end zone, and the two-point conversion “We’ve just got to keep working,” said Shaffer, the Lower Dauphin junior. “That first half we didn’t play how we usually play. We didn’t play Falcon football. We got down on ourselves and we had some turnovers and didn’t capitalize off of it. We got to keep working and pushing forward offensively.”
Shaffer had three solo and 11 assisted tackles for the game, the most combined for the team. He also had 34 rushed yards and 8 carries to lead the team.
The Falcons had a rough start, giving up a 20-yard touchdown pass within the first five minutes of the game. The extra point was blocked. The Colts’ Chandler Heiple then intercepted Kutz’s pass to intended for Will Bowen. That provided the Colts the opportunity for another touchdown, bringing the score to 12-0 late in the first quarter. The kick failed.
The second quarter looked nearly identical to the first. A little more than three minutes into the quarter, the Falcons defense was again unable to stop Cedar Cliff’s Alex Lantz, who hauled in a 42-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good. Later, the Colts scored at the one-minute mark. This time, the kick was good.
Kratzer used the third quarter to replace Klassen with Kutz again, but the switch-up of quarterbacks didn’t generate much offense. The Colts scored again with 2:41 left in the third for a 35-0 lead.
Klassen completed one pass on seven attempts with two interceptions. Kutz completed eight passes for 114 yards and rushed for 10.
“Every game is an opportunity to get better. To go out there and play for our fans, our community and our team, not just for ourselves,” Shaffer said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 12:29
The Middletown Blue Raiders
volleyball team took on Lower Dauphin last Tuesday and fell 3-0. The team’s record for the year is 4-3 overall, and 4-2 in the Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division.
For more Middletown volleyball photos by Don Graham, check out our print edition or click here for our E-edition.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 15:58