By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item
MILTON — On the surface, last week’s blowout victory at Warrior Run, in which most if not all of the Milton players saw action, would not appear to be a good tuneup for Friday night’s Heartland Athletic Conference Division I matchup with Mifflinburg.
Nevertheless, Milton coach George Goodwin believes facing the Defenders may have helped his team prepare for the Wildcats (1-1 overall, HAC-I) because both teams use a variety of offensive sets.
He said the Black Panthers’ defense knew what it was getting in its second scrimmage versus Lewisburg and again in the season opener with Danville.
“Playing Warrior Run, which gave us so many different sets kind of prepared our defense for some of the things they saw (on film from Mifflinburg),” Goodwin said., “They run unbalanced, wildcat formations, they like to get the ball dispersed to their athletes and we are going to have to play sound fundamental football,” Goodwin added.
Mifflinburg not only ran a variety of plays in its win over Shikellamy last week, it ran them with a lot of different people.
“When you have numbers, you are able to do that, which is always a plus,” Goodwin said.
“We have to put our best 11 out there and let them go at it.”
Leading the Wildcats’ offense is firstyear junior quarterback Jordan Wagner, who has passed for three touchdowns and run for another.
“They do some nice things. Wagner is a tough kid, he distributes the ball around real well and he seems like a very good athlete,” Godowin said.
He added that wide receiver Brett Luhrman, who also kicks and at times takes snaps out of the wildcat formations, also looks like a real good athlete.
“Obviously they try to utilize him in quite a few ways.” Defensively, Goodwin said, the Wildcats “fly to the ball like Mifflinburg always does out if its 3-5 defense with its active linebackers.
And then there is the big guy.
Nose guard/offensive guard Nazar Mironenko will, as always, be a focus of the Black Panthers (1-1, 0-1) on both sides of the ball.
“We have to know where he is on both offense and defense. They move him around on the defensive side and offensively he’s a guard, and we have to be able to neutralize him,” Goodwin said of the 6-foot-1, 280-pound senior.
Added Goodwin, “They are a tough team, a tough opponent. They are doing a lot of things well and they were able to get their backs into the game last week and the week before they were able to throw and get their guys in space. I guess we have to prepare for both scenarios.”
Mifflinburg coach Jason Dressler is just as impressed with the Black Panthers.
“Milton looks to be a solid team on film. Defensively, they like to keep as many players in the box as possible. They are aggressive to the ball,” he said.
Offensively, he said, Milton senior quarterback Brady Chappell is playing well and making solid decisions. In addition, Dressler said, running backs Josh Brown (at fullback) and Jayson Englis (halfback) are running well and loook to be the go-to players for the team.
“It should be another good Friday night matchup,” Dressler said.