By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG — After one game, the fans of Mifflinburg and Shikellamy are still wondering just how good their teams will be.
After one game, the coaches still have questions, but both Shikellamy coach Todd Tilford and his Mifflinburg counterpart, Jason Dressler, saw enough a week ago to believe they can be very good.
The two teams meet in Mifflinburg on Friday night in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division I contest.
After his Braves (0-1 HAC-I, 0-1 overall) saw a 6-0 halftime deficit which could have been a lead for Shikellamy suddenly get to a 20-0 loss, Tilford was in disbelief at what he had seen.
“We had a few mistakes obviously at critical times, and we just never got over the hump. I think from our practice this week and watching the film (of the game) we think we are a pretty good team and we are anxious to get back.”
But, he added, “That was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever been a part of.”
He said the Braves’ defense played well enough to win, but the offense gave the Red Tornadoes a couple of short fields. But, he added, “I think the offense will come around.”
He said the team must regroup and move on. “I’m glad it was week one and not a playoff game.”
Tilford says Friday’s matchup in Union County will be a battle of two hungry teams.
He said he was impressed with Mifflinburg’s (0-1, 0-1) first-year starting quarterback Jordan Wagner.
“He impressed me the way he threw against Selinsgrove. We were not aware of that. He is going to be another challenge and they have some big strong kids.
“It’s going to be challenging both physically and having to rebound from the frustration of Friday,” the Shikellamy coach said.
Dressler, who is familiar with Tilford and most of his staff, having coached against them when they were at Lewisburg, said that, having watched the film of the Braves’ opener, it was apparent that Shikellamy had some thing not go its way, but ”They were in that game; they are a solid team. They are solid in their positioning and they are a lot like us.”
Dressler added, “We both need to work on executing the little things well and finishing drives.”
He said he believes both teams match up well on both sides of the ball.
The key, he said, will be to make solid tackles, especially against Shikellamy fullback Dwayne Pepper and halfback Ryan Wary.
“I think they are good kids and we don’t want to give them open space where they can make things happen.”
He said that as long as the Wildcats play disciplined football, the match-ups should be good.
“I think Friday’s matchup should be a good one,” Dressler said.