By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
ELIZABETHVILLE — This one was earned on the field and there was no doubt about it.
Upper Dauphin opened its 2013 season coming off the field against Camp Hill disappointed in losing a tough close game. However, when it was discovered the winning team had used an ineligible player, the Trojans were awarded a victory instead.
On Friday, UDA was matched up against Halifax and the home team walked off the field at Trojans Stadium a winner in every sense of the word, as the Trojans used big plays on special teams, stingy defensive play and all-around solid performances by everyone who performed in downing the Wildcats 69-6 in a contest that was played under the PIAA Mercy Rule most of the second half.
"We played well against Camp Hill and let’s not overlook that fact," Trojans coach Brent Bell said. "Tonight, the team went out and won the game playing outstanding football on both sides of the ball."
Tanner Miller provided the sparks on the opening kickoff with a 90-yard return 15 seconds into the game for a touchdown, and despite missing the conversion kick, the Trojans went ahead and never looked back against the youthful Wildcats who fell to 0-3 on the year but did score their first points of the season.
Miller’s outstanding specialty play also included a 57-yard punt return for a score, and he also caught a 28-yard TD pass from MacKenzie Ney while Trey Campbell, who was a workhorse with 122 yards rushing, scored on runs of eight and six yards. Campbell also displayed his ability to go long distance, returning a fourth quarter kickoff for a 75-yard touchdown.
"It may not show it because of our extra point kicking tonight, but we work extremely hard with our special teams," Bell said. "We felt with our two guys back deep and their experience, we had a chance to do well on kickoffs, and it certainly was evident tonight."
After Upper Dauphin took a 13-0 lead into the second period, Cole Reed scored on a seven-yard run while Campbell added a six-yard scamper for six points and Miller then added a 28-yard TD reception that helped the Trojans take a 32-0 lead into halftime.
Any hopes of a comeback by the Wildcats were dashed by the Trojans with a 25-pont third period as Deyton Barge opened the scoring with a 49-yard touchdown reception and Aaron Cleevland scored from the one; Coy Rickert recovered a fumble in the end zone for six points and Miller capped the outburst with his 57-yard punt return.
Also, the UDA defense was impressive, holding the visitors to minus-38 yards rushing and coming up with three pass interceptions and a fumble recovery.