Despite a rough second quarter, Shippensburg rebounded to take down Mifflin County 35-30 to remain undefeated. Video by Lindsey Smith
Every single person at Veterans Memorial Stadium got what they paid for Friday night.
What was hyped to be a marquee matchup between a pair of football teams undefeated in the Mid Penn Colonial Division lived up to every expectation.
Both Shippensburg and Mifflin County held double-digit leads, and both saw those leads quickly slip away. But after letting the Huskies score 24 unanswered points in the first half, Shippensburg came out with a vengeance after halftime and earned a 35-30 victory.
Much of the game was the Cody Gustafson Show. The Greyhounds' leading receiver took on most of the offensive load, finishing with a staggering 14 catches for a total of 231 yards. He also was a hawk defensively, and even recovered Mifflin County's final onside kick to ice the game.
"I was ready and prepared for whatever they were going to throw at me," Gustafson said. "I was happy that they didn't (double cover me), though."
Finishing with 261 passing yards, Ship quarterback Carter Van Scyoc surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Trailing 24-13 at halftime, Gustafson helped the Hounds (6-0, 3-0 MPC) pull back into the game with a 35-yard touchdown reception on Ship's first drive of the third quarter.
And Mifflin County (2-4, 2-1 MPC), which had thwarted the Shippensburg offense for much of the second quarter, couldn't seem to stop the Hounds after that.
Two drives later, Van Scyoc scored on a 1-yard keeper, and on the next possession, Adam Houser scored his second TD of the night from 11 yards out to ensure the victory.
"That was a good team we played there," Mifflin County coach Brent Hartman said. "We made our own breaks in the first half, but we didn't do that in the second half. We just have to learn win games like that."
The Huskies were unstoppable in the final five minutes of the second quarter. They scored three touchdowns and a field goal in that span, and all three of the TDs came directly off Ship turnovers. The first was a few plays following an interception; the second a 67-yard fumble return by Logan Peachey; and the third was after another fumble recovery set the Huskies up at the Ship 8.
"In the first half, they weren't overly successful," Ship coach Eric Foust said. "They threw the one pass off the scramble, then the stupid fumble we had, but other than those, we thought we played well defensively in the first half. We just didn't do enough, but I thought in the second half, we did do enough."
There were several defensive standouts for the Greyhounds. Ian King led the way with 18 tackles; Colby Holtry had a sack and a forced fumble; Denny Santana-Encarnacion recovered a fumble; and Houser blocked a field goal attempt.
"We haven't been tested like that yet," Ship defensive back Brandon Wheeler said. "Their run game and their short passes really hurt us. Especially with the no huddle, it drains you a lot, but this was a big win. It's great to get the 'W.'"
Shippensburg 35, Mifflin County 30
Mifflin County _ 0 _ 24 _ 0 _ 6 _ — _ 30
Shippensburg _ 13 _ 0 _ 8 _ 14 _ — _ 35
Sh — Adam Houser 14 pass from Carter Van Scyoc (pass failed), 7:42
Sh — Cody Gustafson 37 pass from Van Scyoc (Jackson VanHorne kick), 6:05
MC — Malik Sechler 52 pass from Drew Williams (Davis Wagner kick), 4:57
MC — Logan Peachey 67 fumble recovery (Wagner kick), 2:11
MC — Isaac Maclay 8 pass from Williams (Wagner kick), 1:21
MC — Wagner 27 field goal, 0:01
Sh — Gustafson 35 pass from Van Scyoc (Tyler McSherry pass from Van Scyoc), 3:59
Sh — Van Scyoc 1 run (VanHorne kick), 6:46
Sh — Houser 11 run (VanHorne kick), 2:15
MC — Williams 2 run (pass failed), 0:35.8
_ MC _ Ship
First downs _ 15 _ 19
Rushes-yards _ 30-84 _ 35-115
Passing _ 17-24-0 _ 18-27-2
Passing yards _ 243 _ 261
Total yards _ 327 _ 376
Punts _ 1-21 _ 1-30
Fumbles-lost _ 1-1 _ 3-2
Penalties-yards _ 8-68 _ 3-36
Rushing — MC, Williams 14-47, Aaron Smith 6-26, Cole Baker 3-14, Malik Sechler 3-5, Maclay 3-2, Wagner 1-(-10); Ship, Torres 16-89, Houser 12-62, Noah Chavez 2-2, Van Scyoc 5-(-38).
Passing — MC, Williams 17-24-243-0; Ship, Van Scyoc 18-27-261-2.
Receiving — MC, Nathan Bargo 5-83, Sechler 1-87, Maclay 4-20, Trey Milligan 3-42, Baker 1-11; Ship, Gustafson 14-231, Houser 2-28, Clayton Stine 1-2.
Interceptions — MC, Gary Grubb, Nicholas Poche.