By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG — Friday night’s Little Brown Jug game in Mifflinburg between the Wildcats and the Lewisburg Green Dragons transcends the usual rivalry game.
With it being the final game of the regular season, both teams are fighting for District 4 Class AA playoff berths, but Mifflinburg will certainly be the more desperate team.
The Wildcats currently sit in ninth place for the eight-team playoff tournament, 110 points behind Towanda for the final playoff spot.
Mifflinburg (4-5) is coming off maybe its most impressive performance of the season. The Wildcats gave undefeated Montoursville all it could handle, before falling 35-31 to the Warriors.
Mifflinburg scored the most points and rushed for the most yards against the outstanding Montoursville defense.
“You have to be impressed with how they played against Montoursville. (Mifflinburg) has played some good quality teams,” Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. “They get the ball in a bunch of different people’s hands. They are really good on special teams as well. We’ll have to come ready to play in all three aspects of the game.”
The Wildcats did their damage against the Montoursville defense without its top two rushers. Tristan Martin and Eric Stroup both had long touchdown runs in the game. Martin had rushed the ball just four times this season before the Montoursville game, while Stroup hadn’t carried the ball this year at all before the contest with the Warriors.
The Lewisburg defense will also have to be aware of junior quarterback Jordan Wagner. He’s thrown for 854 yards and eight touchdowns this year, while seven different receivers have at least five catches this season for Mifflinburg.
For Lewisburg, who is currently the sixth seed, it’s a chance to prove it learned an important less from last week’s 35-7 loss at Susquehanna University to Loyalsock.
It’s a game the Green Dragons came out flat for and it proved to be their downfall against the Lancers.
“Kids look at common opponents and saw Loyalsock lost to Central and Towanda, teams we had beaten,” Winn said. “I think they came into the game expecting to win and not like it was going to be a close game like (the coaches) thought. I think we’ll approach this game differently.
“This is obviously a big game for the kids and the community, but just as importantly, we need to get back on track.”
Despite just seven points, Lewisburg was able to roll up some yards against the Lancers last week, especially in the passing game as quarterback Nick Costagliola threw for 258 yards, but turnovers and mistakes doomed the Green Dragons.
“We moved the ball well at times, but we got some sacks, things that were drive killers,” Winn said. “I thought at times Nick held onto the ball too long and I think Nick would tell you that. We need continue to work at understanding situations and I think we’ll be better at that moving forward.”
Costagliola is second in the area in passing yards with 1,318, while throwing 12 touchdown passes. Four Lewisburg receivers have at least 10 catches this season, led by senior Ben Frankel, who caught a career-high six passes for 106 yards against Loyalsock, with 24 catches for 496 yards.