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5th Blue Raider cross country runner makes districts

The Middletown cross country teams traveled to Big Spring High School for the Mid-Penn League Championships on Saturday, and another runner qualified for districts. Zach Malay District QualifierZach Malay

Tanner AlbrightTanner Albright

The first Raider to cross the finish in the boys meet was Justin Shaffer in a time of 18:01, which is his personal best. He was the 76th overall finisher. The next Blue Raider was Dan Brenner (19:45), followed by Zach Malay (19:46), Caleb Ocker (19:52), Tanner Albright (20:53), Mark Cowan (22:37), Brayden Erickson (21:20), Kenny Britcher (24:41) and Jacob Buffington (22:09, a personal best).

Maddie GarberMaddie Garber

Malay became the fourth boy to qualify for the District 3 championships, joining Justin Shaffer, Caleb Ocker, Dan Brenner, and Jaleena Marrero of the girl’s team.

The boys team finished ahead of the teams from Bishop McDevitt, Susquehanna Township, and Carson Long Academy. This avenges a loss by the score of 19-51 from the Bishop McDevitt squad in September.

In the girls championship, the Blue Raiders were led by Jaleena Marrero, in a time of 22:09 (73rd finisher overall). Other finishers included Maddie Garber (25:06) and Angela Hernandez (25:54).

Mark CowanMark Cowan

“I feel very good about the progress of our team,” coach Pete Fox said. “Our runners have shown resiliency and determination in reaching a place where we can be competitive with established programs. I’m proud of our runners and grateful for the hard work of my assistant coaches, Jesse Woodrow and Tim Ebersole.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:26

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Blue Raiders’ boys soccer team wins two of three

HS soccer vs Redland 368Photo by Debbie Spear -- Griffin Meyer and Connor Gambini go up for the ball as Tyrelle Gallatin-Scott watches in action vs. Red Land.

By Mitch Spear
For the Press And Journal

The Middletown boys soccer team won two of its three games last week as it continues it push for the playoffs.

The Blue Raiders stood at 10-6 overall and 7-6 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division after last week’s action.

Milton Hershey 2, Middletown 0

Milton Hershey started strong in the game Tuesday, Oct. 11, and within the first eight minutes generated a chance that was headed on frame that Thomas Lee had to push over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless. Just seconds later, another ball toward the Raider goal was unsuccessfully punched out of the goal box. After several bounces the ball fell to the foot of Austin Padmore of Milton Hershey to put the Spartans up one.

The Spartans added to their lead when Jide Olidipo passed the ball to David Fisher who placed a beautifully lofted ball over the head of Lee standing a few yards off the goal line.
With the Spartan lead at two, the Raiders began to apply tremendous pressure. The Spartans young goalkeeper, freshman Josh Parra, finished the game with a hard-earned shutout as he faced 30 shots, most of which occurred in the second half. Multiple shots required spectacular saves from close range, including several improbable kick saves.

Middletown 3,
Susquehanna Township 1

With the losing streak at three games, the Raiders looked to return to winning form at Susquehanna Township on Thursday.

In the 22nd minute Thomas Einolf provided a good service ball to Conner Golden from about 40 yards out from goal. Golden’s first touch was a good one, and was able to set up a successful strike far post beyond Alex MacMilan, in goal for the Indians.

HS soccer vs ST 420Photo by Debbie Spear -- Brothers Cole and Conner Golden create the “Golden Wall” in a defensive play vs. Susquehanna Township.

Perhaps the most important moment in the game came late in the first half when a penalty kick was awarded to the Indians. However, the heavy shot struck the inside of the post but stayed out of net and took a strong carom out of the box, ending any chance of the Indians following the rebound for a second attempt.

The second half started with better pressure and possession from the Raiders, but did not generate any significant goal scoring opportunities. Einolf recorded his second assist in the game following a direct kick that was well taken to find David Alcock standing a few yards from goal to put the Raiders up 2-0.

The third Raider goal came when Blake Gill worked to dispossess the Indians and turned defense to instant offense as he sliced up a ball to Einolf standing wide open far post.
Lee had to make a big save with less than 10 minutes remaining as he pushed an Indians’ attempt just over the crossbar. With five minutes remaining, a second penalty kick was issued to Susquehanna Township. Tyger Evans buried the shot for the 3-1 final and a Raider victory.

Middletown 3, Red Land 1

The first goal of the game Saturday vs. non-division opponent Red Land came the Raiders way when Jacob Spear was fouled from behind. Spear found David Alcock at the 18-yard mark and passed to Nate Nelson who quickly passed to Thomas Einolf who found some space on the left flank. Following a nice sequence of passing, Einolf dribbled towards the keeper, who made the initial save but the ball bounced back to the body of Einolf and into the goal for the Raider 1-0 lead.

Red Land with three minutes left in the first half got the equalizer after a defensive turnover lead to the ball finding Chad Stout of Red Land who shot beyond the reach of Lee.
In the early part of the second half, Griffin Meyer made a good run on the left side of goal and drew with him two defenders. This freed up Tyrelle Gallatin-Scott standing just a few yards out near the center of goal to receive the pass from Meyer a take the shot that regained the Raiders lead at 2-1.

The third goal came when Gallatin-Scott was fouled about 30 yards out. Donovan Brady took the direct kick. He shot low and hard beyond the Red Land keeper who had just entered the game as a result of disciplinary action to the starting goaltender.

Junior varsity

The Raiders junior varsity team ended the week with three more victories to improve to 11-2-2. They beat Milton Hershey, 7-1, with two goals by Ben Knisely and individual goals by Joe Cuneo, Billy Cleland, Griffin Meyer, Jacob Idowu and Derrick Miller.

They followed this offensive output with a 5-2 victory over Susquehanna Township. The Raiders earned goals from Meyer, Cuneo, Knisely and Clayton Wagner as well as one own goal.

They finished the week with a 5-1 victory over Redland. Meyers started off the scoring, followed by goals from Cuneo (2), Gallatin-Scott and Wagner.

The JV team finishes its season Wednesday night against the Crusaders of Bishop McDevitt.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:55

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Falcons lose Homecoming game, fall to 3-4

DSC 9620 edited 1Photo by John Diffenderfer -- Kurt Cain scores Lower Dauphin's lone touchdown of the game vs. Susquehanna Township on Friday Oct. 14.

By Gabe Mink
For the Press And Journal

Lower Dauphin gave up two touchdowns in the first quarter vs. Susquehanna Township on Friday and couldn’t recover, losing 26-7 in the Falcons’ Homecoming game.

Lower Dauphin’s Kurt Cain scored their only touchdown with less than two minutes left to avoid the shutout at Hersheypark Stadium.

“We needed more effort,” Cain said of the Falcons’ defense. “Our offense wasn’t really giving us anything.”

The team stands at 3-4 on the season and 2-2 in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division. Susquehanna Township is 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the Mid-Penn.

The turning point in the game came right before halftime. With Susquehanna up by 12 and less than 30 seconds on the clock, the Indians punted the ball into Lower Dauphin territory. There was confusion as to which player on which team made contact with the ball first.

“From my vantage point, the box and everybody else, Susquehanna touched it first, so it would have been dead right there,” coach Greg Kratzer said.

One referee ruled that Susquehanna touched it first and one ruled that Lower Dauphin’s Clay Spencer touched it first. It eventually was ruled that Susquehanna Township had recovered the muffed punt at the Lower Dauphin 6 yard line.

“That was their call, and they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do.” Kratzer said.

A sack pushed back Susquehanna. However, as time ran out, Jalik Smith hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass, putting the Indians up 19-0.

The Indians opened up the fourth quarter of the game with their final touchdown of the night in the first 30 seconds. Cain’s short touchdown run capped the scoring.

“It’s the same thing we’ve talked about earlier in the year. We can’t make that many mistakes in the first half,” Kratzer said. The Falcons had four turnovers in the first quarter of the game.

“The bottom line, the turnovers, some of them were our fault and some of them were not necessarily our fault,” he said.

Falcon quarterbacks Ryan Kutz and Aidan Klassen shared time. Klassen was 6 of 10 for 60 passing yards. Kutz was 3 of 9 passing for 34 yards. Kutz carried it twice for 5 yards and had the team’s only fumble.

Junior running back Brendan Shaffer led the team with 38 rushing yards; he added a sack on defense. Senior defensive end Justin McIntyre had the other Falcons sack of the night.
The Falcons play host to the Cumberland Valley Eagles on Friday.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 15:56

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BIG TIME: Blue Raiders had something to prove; they did it in 49-14 win vs. Camp Hill

CelebrationPhoto by Jodi Ocker -- Middletown running back Brady Fox leaps into the arms of No. 28 Chris Plummer as Tyreer Mills watches on Friday night in their game at Camp Hill. Fox had just scored the Blue Raiders’ final touchdown of the game.

Following their tense win over Palmyra the previous week, the Middletown football players filed out of the locker room with looks of disgust on their faces.

Sure, they had won the big showdown with the Cougars, but it was the way they had won that had them upset. Mistakes, penalties and missed chances nearly cost them the victory, and they were disappointed in their performance.  

The Blue Raiders traveled to Camp Hill on Friday with chips on their shoulders and a strong desire to show, not only themselves, but their coaches and fans that they were better than that. And the host Lions ended up on the receiving end of the Raiders’ ire. Starting off strong on defense and precise on offense the Raiders crushed their hosts 49-14, proving their point.

“Yeah, they weren’t happy last week. But sometimes you need a little adversity to stay focused,” Middletown coach Brett Myers said after the rout at Camp Hill’s Seibert Park. “They worked hard this week and got the job done.”

Myers had his regular stars to thank for the win.

“Jaelen Thompson and Brady Fox ran very well, and Chase Snavely had a big game, too,” he noted. “But,” he added, “make sure you give credit to the linemen. They blocked well and had a great game.”

Credit can also go to the defense, a unit that held Camp Hill running back Bill Williams to 0 net yards rushing.

With their own Homecoming festivities coming this weekend, the Blue Raiders totally wrecked Camp Hill’s own celebration on a cool night that was nearly perfect for football.

Jumping out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, the Middletown squad rolled to a 35-7 halftime advantage. Two more scores in the third period put the game away early and the Blue Raiders cruised to the victory, raising their unbeaten streak to seven games.

Fox, a junior, ran 14 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns while Thompson finished up with 86 yards on 15 carries and a pair of scores to lead the way. Snavely completed 8 of 13 passes for 210 yards and two touchdown connections with junior receiver Tyreer Mills.

Everyone anticipated a good, hard-hitting football game and that’s exactly what the Mid-Penn Capital Division contest turned out to be. And it showed early when the Middletown defense forced a fumble that the Raiders recovered on Camp Hill’s opening drive.

Two plays after a Laron Woody interception was erased by a penalty, Camp Hill receiver Jordan Moore lost the ball at then end of an 8-yard gain. The Blue Raiders took over at their own 46.

A Fox run of 18 yards and a catch by Mills that went for 19 set up Fox’s five-yard touchdown run at the 6:39 mark. Fox went left and fought his way into the end zone for the score. Mr. Automatic, Donovan Brady, added his first of seven extra point kicks and the Raiders led 7-0.

The Lions went nowhere on their ensuing possession and were forced to punt. Starting at the Camp Hill 47, the Middletown offense struck quickly, the 6-play drive capped by a Snavely-to-Mills connection of 33 yards. Set up on the left side, Mills ran a post to the middle and used his speed and moves to score the touchdown at 3:58.

Following the score, Bob Graham dropped Williams for a pair of losses on the Lions’ second and third plays to force another Camp Hill punt. With a 19-yard return by Mills, the Raiders were back on offense at the hosts’ 46. On third and 4, Chris Plummer went high in the air to snag Snavely’s throw and the play went for 24 yards to the 16. Fox went in from the 8 two plays later to give the Raiders a 21-0 lead with 2 seconds left in the first quarter.

Christian Plummer catches the passPhoto by Jodi Ocker -- Christian Plummer hauls in a pass

Camp Hill’s Zack Kuntz caught a pair of passes covering 14 and 19 yards to keep the Lions’ possession moving and it appeared as if the hosts were ready to score. But Middletown’s pass defense tightened up and Mills broke up a fourth down throw in the end zone to end the threat.

Taking over at their 22, the Raiders needed just three plays to pad their lead. On first and 10 at the 32, Mills took off on a streak down the field and Snavely lofted a perfect pass, hitting Mills in stride at the 40. From there it was no contest as Mills raced to the end zone with Middletown’s fourth touchdown. At that point the Raiders lead had grown to 28-0.

On Camp Hill’s first play, Kyle Truesdale, subbing for the injured Corbin Stetler, held Williams to a 1-yard gain on a pass play. On second down Williams was smothered in the backfield and lost the ball that was recovered by defensive end Tristan Maxwell. The 11-yard loss gave the Raiders a first down at the Camp Hill 20. Thompson took it from there with a great run. Starting right and finding the lanes clogged up, Thompson changed direction and instead found room on the left side, darting into the end zone with 4:44 left in the first half. And just that quickly the Blue Raiders were well out in front 35-0.

The Lions finally did get on the scoreboard on their ensuing possession when Williams got open down the middle and scored on a 61-yard pass play with 1:35 left. With Thompson’s 11-yard run and a pair of pass completions from Snavely to Ryan Hughes and Fox that covered a combined 25 yards, the Raiders threatened again. But the Lions intercepted Snavely’s next pass at the 2 yard line to prevent further scoring. Using that turnover as momentum, the Lions were on the move. But Tre Leach’s interception inside the 5 yard line ended the hosts’ hopes for a score and the first half ended with the Raiders out in front 35-7.

A bit of trickery by the Lions that caught the Raiders by surprise started off the second half with some excitement for the home side. A successful onsides kick gave the Lions the ball at the Middletown 48. On first down, a well-executed halfback pass from Williams to Moore went the distance and cut the Middletown lead to 35-14. But, thanks to the solid work of the Middletown defense, that turned out to be the Lions’ big show of the game.

Unfazed by the early strike by their hosts, the Blue Raiders came right back and showed they were the better team. Runs by Fox and Thompson, along with a reception by Hughes that went for 19 yards, quickly moved the ball to the Camp Hill 2 yard line. Following a false start by the Raiders, Thompson scored from 7 yards out to cap the march. The Raiders now led by a commanding 42-14 score with 8:46 left in the third quarter.

The Raiders inflicted further damage when, two plays into Camp Hill’s offensive series, Mills intercepted a pass and set the stage for yet another Middletown score.

Shaking off a holding call the Raiders got a lift when the Lions were flagged for a personal foul and, following a Snavely-to-Fox connection of 22 yards, the offense had a first down at the 15. With Ethan Newton, Tommy Staker, Trey Michal, Griffin Radabaugh, Brendan Douglass and tight end Malik Noon leading the way, Fox got the call. Picking his way through the defense, Fox scored with 6:16 left and pretty much iced the Middletown win as the Raider climbed to a 49-14 lead.

The Lions threatened to score again on a long drive that started late in the third and carried into the fourth. But the Hunter Landis- and Laron Woody-led defense shut down the drive at the Middletown 16. Taking over from there, the Raiders ran four minutes off the clock before their first punt of the game.

 After reaching the 35 against Middletown’s second defense, the game ended when Dustin Holliman, Doug Carpenter and John Etter ganged up on Moore following a short run as the clock ran out. 

Next Up: Boiling Springs

The Middletown Blue Raiders will play host to Boiling Springs in this year’s annual Homecoming football game at War Memorial Field, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.
Boiling Springs is 0-7 for the season and 0-4 in the Mid-Penn Capital Division.

This will be the first time the Raiders will host the Bubblers on Homecoming weekend. The two teams have met six times with each team winning three games. The Raiders were victorious in 2008, 2009 and 2015. Middletown won 49-14 last fall.  

Homecoming games have been played since 1963 and previous teams have been successful in 31 of the 53 games. Last year’s 49-13 victory over Palmyra snapped a four-game losing streak for the Blue Raiders.  

— Larry Etter

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 15:41

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Blue Raiders boys soccer drops a pair

HS soccer vs West Perry 199Photo by Debbie Spear -- Ian Guckavan makes a defensive clear vs. West Perry on Oct. 4.

By Mitch Spear
For the Press And Journal

The Middletown Blue Raiders boys soccer team dropped a pair of games last week to go to 8-5 overall and 6-5 in the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division.

They cling to one of the last remaining 10 playoff spots for District III with five games remaining.

West Perry 2, Middletown 0

The road game Oct. 4 started with the Blue Raiders taking control and moving the ball at will against the West Perry Mustangs. The Raiders found it difficult to find clear shooting lanes within the box as West Perry dropped numbers to congest the area.

West Perry seemed to keep a one- or two-forward system for most of the game, which worked well as it only took one long clearance to Joey Wright. After several touches, he placed the ball beyond the reach of Thomas Lee, in goal for the Raiders, to give the West Perry Mustangs a 1-0 advantage.

The Raiders seemed unfazed by the goal and continued to dominate play. Within minutes they generated several scoring chances of their own, but were unable break onto the scoreboard.

With less than eight minutes remaining in the half, Blake Gill was able to find a little room less than 10 yards out  but was unable to score compliments of a blocked shot. The last several minutes of the half, the Raiders were able to find multiple shooting lanes but consistently shot high or wide of the goal frame.

The second half was more of the same. With the lead, the Mustangs were content to sit back and put additional players in the defensive third. The Raiders got two more high percentage chances, one from Anthony Lavia that was sent just wide near post and one off a direct kick about 30 yards out that bounced around multiple times before Nate Nelson headed the ball just over the crossbar.

West Perry made it 2-0 when an unnecessary foul about 35 yards out was issued. On the pursuing direct kick, the Mustang’s Scott Messner blistered a shot into the net.

The Raiders dominated the stats in shots taken, shots on goal, and total possession, while the Mustangs were opportunistic in their few chances and made good on two of their six shots.

HS Soccer vs CampHill 645Photo by Debbie Spear -- Blake Gill’s header goes just over the cross bar in Oct. 6 action vs. Camp Hill.

Camp Hill 3, Middletown 2

Thursday, Oct. 6 was senior night for the Raiders, one likely that will not be forgotten by the Raider players.

The Raiders faced off against Camp Hill, who is sitting in first place in the Mid-Penn Capital Division. The game was perhaps the best soccer played by the Raiders this season.

The first chance came to the Lions when an initial shot was saved by Lee. His fingertips pushed the ball wide, but hit the post and gave their offense a second chance that was sent high.

The Raiders responded moments later when a header from Gill beat the keeper to his right.  The attempt, however, was cleared away from the goal mouth from the Camp Hill defense. The Raiders were the first to tally when the Camp Hill defense had difficulty clearing a ball directed on goal from Cole Golden. The ball eventually found the foot of David Alcock, energizing the crowd by putting the Raiders up 1-0.

The Raiders nearly doubled their lead when Thomas Einholf took a direct kick that was not cleanly handled by Lions keeper Noah Smeriglio, but was unable to finish the rebound.

Camp Hill got the equalizer from a deep throw-in that went over the arms of Lee and was chested away from the goal mouth from Cole Golden holding far post. The clearance fell directly to Abdullahi Hassan, who headed to the back of the net to tie it at 1.

Once again, the Raiders regained the lead when Donavan Brady took the direct kick that fell to the foot of Alcock, who worked the ball free to Conner Golden, who scored from near range to make it 2-1.

Once again, Camp Hill responded when a low driven cross from Noah Resuta rolled slowly across the face of goal to Noah Miccio, making a delayed run far post for the equalizer.
The second half played similar to the first with several chances from both teams, but no scores.

With the regulation tie, the game was sent to sudden death overtime. It was not until two minutes remained in the first extra time that the Lions were able to get the game-winner. A direct ball from Quinn Pickering was neatly collected by Resuta. Resuta standing around center of the goal box, cut back to change his direction and created the small separation from the Raider defense to squeeze a ball low and just beyond the fingertips of Lee sprawling to his left.

Junior varsity

The JV team ended the week with two scoreless draws thanks to a strong defense and some great goaltending from Dane Ebersole in Thursday’s campaign vs, the Camp Hill Lions. Their record is now 8-2-2.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 11:43

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