MONTOURSVILLE — Heading into last week’s game with Lewisburg, Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer tried to downplay the Warriors’ offensive success the week before, worrying about the amount of mistakes Montoursville made.
Those mistakes came back to haunt Montoursville in a loss to Lewisburg and now Keefer and his staff have to figure out how to get a young Warriors team to bounce back for Friday’s HAC-I opener.
“Only time will tell (how we respond), I hope we come out with a sense of urgency and execute a whole lot better than we did last week,” Keefer said.
The Wildcats are coming off a dominating win over Danville, bouncing back from an opening loss to Southern Columbia and hoping to continue their offensively balanced ways. In the victory over the Ironmen, Mifflinburg’s offense had more than 200 yards rushing and receiving, making the Wildcats a nightmare to prepare for.
Luckily for Keefer and the Warriors, it’s the third time in the last six total games the teams have played. The Warriors beat Mifflinburg 35-31 in Week 9 and 27-16 in the first round of the District 4 Class AA playoffs.
“Mifflinburg can be extremely difficult to prepare for,” Keefer said. “I think both teams are pretty familiar with one another considering this our third meeting in the last six games.”
The key for the Wildcats’ defense is going to be stopping halfback Keith Batkowski. The junior already has 492 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Lewisburg was successful last week, forcing the Warriorsinto third-down situations and forcing them to throw. The Green Dragons were able to pick off two passes and limit Montoursville quarterback Brycen Mussina to under 50 percent passing after completing nearly 60 percent of his passes in the win over South Williamsport.
The Wildcats have been nearly perfectly balanced this season (319 yards rushing, 313 passing), a credit to the abilities of senior quarterback Jordan Wagner. Wagner has completed 54.5 percent of his passes and is second in the area in passing yards. Trisian Martin (eight catches) and BrettLuhrman (five catches) have been Wagner’s favorite targets, while Brian Zimmerman has caught three passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns in just two games.
As their balance shows,you can’t just concentrate on Wagner and his bevy of receivers. Sophomore Brayden Pierce leads the team with 133 yards, but six running backs have at least six carries already this season for Mifflinburg.