MANDATA — Brandon Carson wanted to see some steps taken in the right direction when his Line Mountain squad had the football Friday.
Carson saw enough, not to stop an early-season skid, but to keep a youthful group of Eagles upbeat and believing that something good is on the horizon.
As for Friday in crisp conditions at Ressler Field, Carson’s Eagles yielded two rushing touchdowns to Tajae Broadie, as well as 136 yards and another score to cutback specialist Audric Bryant in a 28-6 loss to Middletown in a Mid-Penn crossover.
Tate Leach added the other score for Scott Acri’s Blue Raiders (1-1), hauling a 36-yard Bamm Appleby swing pass that had Middletown up 21-0 with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Carson’s squad finally banked its first touchdown of the season with just under 10 minutes remaining, when Nick Snyder whipped a fastball between two Middletown defenders that found freshman Ian Bates for a 5-yard score.
Broadie’s 6-yard TD burst with 4:01 to go capped it for the Blue Raiders.
“I thought I saw some positive things tonight out of our guys and out of our offense,” added Carson, whose Eagles (0-3) lost 22-3 on Monday at home to Susquenita. “I just wanted to see some improvement, and I thought we did see some improvement.”
When Snyder had time to throw, he looked more comfortable than he did in Weeks 1 and 2. The sophomore completed 10 of his 25 throws — five to tight end Brayden Boyer for 46 yards.
Aidan Herb motored 50 yards with a quick slant that gave the Eagles a first down at the Middletown 7. Unfortunately, Boyer was stripped three plays later as the Blue Raiders were able to maintain their 21-0 cushion.
Beau Keim had his most productive outing running the ball, rushing 14 times for 55 yards with his fourth tote of the night covering 46 yards and moving the ball to the Blue Raiders’ 25. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Keim fumbled several plays later.
Regardless, the Eagles continued to play with energy.
Keim seemed to locate the football every time Middletown tried to run it, although Bryant’s cutback abilities frustrated the Eagles. And Wyatt Shaffer was able to force Appleby out of the pocket by putting pressure on him repeatedly.
“Wyatt played an absolute whale of a ballgame. I don’t know the last time I saw a defensive player play that well for us,” Carson gushed. “Literally, I have no words for how well he played. And Beau had a ton of tackles. He played really inspired football. He missed a tackle here and there, but he played his butt off and he had a ton of tackles.
"I was happy with our defense overall.”
“The defense is still locking down,” said Shaffer. “Offense, we’re getting going. Linemen are getting on blocks, and receivers are catching the ball, so we’re getting going.”
MIDDLETOWN 28, LINE MOUNTAIN 6
Middletown;7;7;7;7 — 28
Line Mountain;0;0;0;6 — 6
M-Tajae Broadie 2 run (Tyson Leach kick)
M-Audric Bryant 23 run (Ty Leach kick)
M-Tate Leach 36 pass from Bamm Appleby (Ty Leach kick)
LM-Ian Bates 5 pass from Nick Snyder (kick failed)
M-Broadie 6 run (Ty Leach kick)
RUSHING — Middletown: Audric Bryant 17-136, TD); Brandyn Davis 6-78; Tajae Broadie 4-15, 2 TDs ; Bamm Appleby 16-15; Tito Spears 4-2; Team 1-(-2). Line Mountain: Beau Keim 14-55; Ian Bates 3-0; Jace Hackenburg 2-(-4); Nick Snyder 7-(-17).
PASSING — Middletown: Appleby 5-12-0, 148 yards, TD. Line Mountain: Snyder 10-25-1, 121 yards, TD; Hackenburg 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — Middletown: Tate Leach 2-51, TD; Bryant 2-39; Arkel Batts 1-58. Line Mountain: Brayden Boyer 5-46; Bates 2-10, TD; Aidan Herb 1-50; Aidan Kritzer 1-8; Nolan Baumert 1-7.