By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
TOWANDA — Based on what he has seen on film of Friday night’s nonconference opponent, Towanda, Mifflinburg coach Jason Dressler believes last week’s game, a win over Jersey Shore, should serve the Wildcats well.
“When I watch the film of Towanda I am quickly reminded of last week’s Jersey Shore game. They are very similar, they like to spread the field, they throw a lot of formations at you, run a variety of formations,” Dressler said.
He said the Black Knights (3-2) run a 4-3 defense, but they show a lot of variations of that, especially against the kind of offense that Mifflinburg (also 3-2) runs.
“We are preparing like we do every week, and expecting (the opponent) to throw the kitchen sink at you, and make sure the kids are solid in their fundamentals and focused on doing the little things well,” he said.
Towanda made the trip to Lewisburg in the opening week and Dressler said the Wildcats coaches were able to take some things away from that film (of the Lewisburg game). He added that the Black Knights played North Penn and Pius X and both of those teams like to run the spread and pass the ball a lot more than Mifflinburg, so the Lewisburg film was more beneficial.
Second-year Towanda coach Jamie Wecker said the key for his team is to slow down the Wildcats’ athletes.
“They have two very good running backs (junior Cole Walter and senior Tanner Bingaman). Also, their quarterbacks (junior Jordan Wagner and senior Devin Hendrix) throw very accurately and know how to run their offense,” he said.
Wecker added that junior Brett Luhrman, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound wide receiver/kicker/linebacker “can give us fits because he is as much of a run threat as a (receiving) threat.”
He added, “Mifflinburg’s offense is always very physical and disciplined. We have to play very smart and error free defensively to be successful.
He said Mifflinburg has a stout defense as always. “We have to do a better job of establishing our passing game than we have in the last few weeks if we hope to move the ball inside the box.”
Wecker said his players expect the game to be a dogfight, as it was the last couple of years.
“In those games, Mifflinburg was able to do a little more than we were and that’s why they beat us both times. Hopefully this Friday we can do enough to be on the other side at the end of the game,” Wecker said.
This year it is Mifflinburg that must make the more than two-hour bus ride, and that can have an adverse affect on the visiting team.
Dressler said he did address that situation and we wants to make sure they arrive on time, and account for any transportation issues.
“At some point when we get there, it is about getting your game face on and going through our routine,” he said,
But Dressler said the coaches have planned some activities to help loosen the players up and get them ready to go.
”It starts with me and trickles down. (The long trip) cannot be an excuse, it cannot be any reason (for poor play) whatsoever. We are still playing football, so when it comes time to play, we’ve got to step up and get the job done. The kids are excited about the trip,” Dressler said.