Knights fall in nail biter to Mifflinburg
MIFFLINBURG - Clinging to a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Mifflinburg knew it needed a big play.
And all game long, when the Wildcats needed a play, it was Tyriq Dorman that seemed to step up for Mifflinburg.
Dorman delivered with a key stop that led to a missed field goal and gave Mifflinburg a 7-6 win over Towanda on homecoming Friday night. After losing four in a row, Mifflinburg has now won two straight.
"We came out and played hard tonight," said Dorman. "We wanted to give the school and town a win on homecoming."
Trailing 7-6, Towanda finally got good field position at the Mifflinburg (2-4) 24 to start a drive. The Black Knights faced a third-and-6 at the Wildcats 20 and gave the ball to running back Dan Leljedal around left end.
Dorman read the play, split the blocking and slammed Leljedal to the grass for no gain. Towanda was forced to kick a 37-yard field goal and Nick Place, who had missed a PAT earlier, had the distance but was wide left.
"I saw two guys pull my way and I knew I had to go head-to-head with the running back," said Dorman. "I knew I had to hit him hard and I brought him down hard."
Mifflinburg got on the board in the second quarter after Dorman blocked a punt and the Wildcats recovered at the Towanda eight.
Devin Hendrix found Oakley Whitesel in the end zone from eight yards out and after Victor Suquet hit the PAT, the Wildcats led 7-0, their first lead at home all season. The lead could have been bigger as Mifflinburg drove inside the 20 twice only to see Suquet miss two field goals. He missed another at the end of the half.
"It is the same thing with us every week," said Mifflinburg head coach Jason Dressler. "We can move the ball but we just can't finish."
But the game seemed to turn in the third quarter.
Mifflinburg went on a long drive and when it stalled, Suquet nailed a perfect punt that was downed at the 11.
After an incomplete pass, Towanda's Noah Huff connected on his next two, with the last one being a 39-yard strike to Brandon Dinelli to make it 7-6. The usually reliable Place missed the PAT to keep it at 7-6.
Mifflinburg then fumbled the ball away at the 23 and it looked like Towanda was going to take control of the game.
The Black Knights drove to the Mifflinburg 11 and on first down, Huff looked to have a man wide open in the end zone. Mifflinburg's Dustin Mertz broke on the ball and picked it off on the goal line to end the threat.
"That was a great play by Dustin," said Dressler. "All night our defense played outstanding and came up with big plays."
Early in the fourth, Towanda looked to be taking control of the game again and after a huge run by Huff had the ball deep in Mifflinburg territory.
On third down, Huff went around left end and picked up the first down on the Wildcats' 14 but fumbled and once again it was Dorman who came up with the big play and recovered the ball.
"I saw his knee wasn't down and the ball came out," said Dorman. "I just jumped on it."
After the missed field goal by Place, Mifflinburg took over at its own 20 and put the ball in the hands of Failor who was able to pick up two big first downs and put the game away.
"I got to give credit to our kids," said Dressler. "Towanda is a very good football team and we came out tonight and kept fighting."