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Getting kicks with soccer

graham Rowan Sessa getting ready to shoot on goalPhoto by Don Graham -- Rowan Sessa (r) gets ready to shoot on goal vs. Camp Hill.

Check out Middletown Blue Raiders action from the fall season

To see more photos of Blue Raiders' girls and boys soccer by Bill Darrah, Don Graham, and Debbie Spear, check out our print edition or click here for our E-edition.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 13:20

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Lower Dauphin takes fall Keystone Cup

Lower Dauphin came out on top among four schools competing for the Keystone Cup in scholastic athletics. The competition, in its inaugural year, will continue in winter and spring sports.

Four school athletic directors organized this tournament to draw interest to nonleague games, said Jim Hazen, Lower Dauphin community relations coordinator. Lower Dauphin is competing with Governor Mifflin in Berks County, Hempfield in Lancaster County and Dallastown in York County.
The winning school will receive a trophy and bragging rights, Hazen said.

The schools receive 6 points for first place, 4 points for second place and 2 points for third place finishes in each sport tournament. All sports are counted for the cup, except football. The school districts each offer the same sports, except Hempfield, which does not have girls and boys volleyball and boys lacrosse teams.

Lower Dauphin earned 34 points for fall sports, winning for boys cross country, field hockey, and girls and boys soccer. The district’s girls volleyball took second place and tied for second in girls tennis and girls soccer.

Dallastown finished second for fall sports with 28 points, followed by Hempfield, 26, and Governor Mifflin, 8.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 12:29

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Boys soccer stands at 5-1 on season

David headerPhoto by Debbie Spear -- David Alcock goes up for a header vs. Camp Hill on Sept. 15.

By Mitch Spear
For the Press And Journal

The Middletown Blue Raiders boys soccer team split a pair of contests last week to stand at 5-1 on the season.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 12:26

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Lower Dauphin wins ‘ugly’ game vs. Cedar Crest for first victory

LDfootballPhoto by John Diffenderfer -- Brent Spencer intercepts a pass to seal the game.

By Gabe Mink
For the Press And Journal

After last week’s loss to CD East, Lower Dauphin Coach Greg Kratzer said that his team needed to “capitalize on opportunities.”

During Friday’s game vs. Cedar Crest, they started to do that. The Falcons won 10-7, putting their record at 1-2 on the season.

But it wasn’t easy. The game was in doubt until the final minute.

The Falcons scored all of their points in the first half of the game at Hersheypark Stadium.
Lower Dauphin scored first in the first quarter, on a field by Clyde Tamburro.

Then, with a little more than 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Lower Dauphin junior Clay Spencer got behind the defender down the sideline and caught a Ryan Kutz pass at the 30-yard line, running it in for the Falcons’ one and only touchdown of the game. The 53-yard completion was the first touchdown pass of the season for Kutz, the backup sophomore who also handles punting duties.

“Clay’s deception and speed make him a weapon,” Kratzer said. He had three catches for 75 yards vs. Cedar Crest.

Midway through the third quarter, the Falcons almost padded their lead. Brendan Shaffer and Michael Geesaman busted through the line as Cedar Crest attempted a 26-yard field goal, blocking the kick. Shaffer picked it up and ran it 78 yards to the end zone. But a penalty against Lower Dauphin brought it all back.

Cedar Crest eventually got on the board late in the third quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run.
With Lower Dauphin leading 10-7 with about a minute and half left in the game, a fumble gave the ball back to Cedar Crest, which moved the ball from the Falcons’ 46 to their 19.

Under pressure, Cedar Crest quarterback Logan Horn fired the ball downfield, hoping for the game-winning touchdown, but Brent Spencer intercepted the pass in the end zone with 41 seconds left on the clock.

“I am extremely proud of what these guys have accomplished,” Kratzer said, calling the game an “ugly one but a win.”

“I’ve been telling them all week that it’s a few plays that can define a game,” he said.
Shaffer led Lower Dauphin in rushing, with 19 carries for 99 yards. Starting quarterback Aidan Klassen was 7 for 16 for 95 yards and one interception. Kutz finished 3 for 3 for 66 yards, including the long touchdown. Senior Kurt Cain and junior Cole Etchberger both recorded 9 tackles on defense.

Next up is a visit Friday, Sept 23, to 3-0 Cedar Cliff as Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division action gets underway.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:54

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Blue Raiders roll again, top West Perry: East Pennsboro will come to visit Friday as conference play gets started

Bobby Graham 56 Tristen Maxwell 80 and Hunter Landis 42Photo by Jodi Ocker -- Bobby Graham, No. 56; Tristen Maxwell, No. 80; and Hunter Landis, No. 42, surround the West Perry ball carrier in Friday night’s win.

The Middletown Blue Raiders made the most out of a road trip to West Perry on Friday, registering a dominating 35-6 victory over the Mustangs in a final tuneup before the start of Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division play.

The Blue Raiders will play host to East Pennsboro at 7 p.m. Friday at War Memorial Field in a battle of 3-0 teams. Both will be looking to establish themselves as the division leader.

The Blue Raiders started fast Friday and owned a 20-0 lead with 6:42 left in the first quarter. That lead swelled to 35-0 late in the second quarter and the game was played with the mercy clock running throughout the second half.

The Mustangs, held scoreless by Middletown’s starting defense, finally scored with just 2:10 left in the game, their lone points coming against the Middletown reserves.

Jaelen Thompson ran for 160 yards and scored three touchdowns on just nine carries, all in the first half, and Brady Fox picked up 61 yards and a score on just three rushes before sitting out the second, third and fourth periods while nursing a sore shoulder.

Quarterback Chase Snavely completed all six of his passes for 140 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown connection with Tre Leach.

Tre LeachPhoto by Jodi Ocker -- Tre Leach

“Jaelan is fast and has really learned to trust his blockers up front,” coach Brett Myers said.

After his first two kickoffs bounced out of bounds to start the game, West Perry’s Jake Quaker got his third attempt to stay on the field and Dylan Andree smothered the ball at the Middletown 47, giving the Blue Raiders excellent field position. Snavely went to the air immediately, hooking up with Ryan Hughes for 8 yards.

Following a holding penalty, Fox went 14 yards for a first down at the host’s 43. On the next play, following a West Perry penalty, Snavely found Leach 10 yards downfield for a completion. After juking past a defender near the 30, Leach used his speed to go the distance for the quick touchdown. Joe Cuneo made extra point kick and the Raiders led 7-0 with 10:41 left in the opening segment.

Led by the work of Hunter and Haden Landis, Dustin Holliman, Tristan Maxwell, Blake Jacoby, Griffen Radabaugh, Chris Plummer, Laron Woody, Bob Graham, Leach and Corbin Stetler, the Middletown defense shut out the Mustangs in the first half. The Mustangs mounted a serious drive late in the first period, but the march died at the Middletown 14.

After forcing a three-and-out on West Perry’s first offensive possession, the Raiders took over at their own 19. On first down, Fox broke free for a 43-yard run to the West Perry 38. One play later, Tyreer Mills made a juggling catch for a first and goal from the 5. Thompson capped the drive with a three-yard run off the right side with 8:37 left. The kick was good.

Two plays into West Perry’s ensuing possession, Maxwell recovered a fumble at the home team’s 38 and set up Middletown’s third score. On third and 5, Stetler pulled in Snavely’s pass, good for 24 yards, to the 4. Fox went into the end zone standing after cutting through a center/guard gap and following the lead block of Justin Mayersky for the tally. The kick failed but the Raiders now led 20-0.

Taking over at the 6:40 mark following the kickoff, the Mustangs put together a solid drive, mixing the run and the pass in a steady march down he field. The first quarter ended with the Mustangs facing a fourth and 9 at the 17. But the threat died on the first play of the second quarter when Haden Landis, Maxwell and Jacoby sacked West Perry quarterback Cameron May for an 8-yard loss at the 25.

The Raiders needed just one play, a 75-yard sprint by Thompson, to pad their score. Thompson got all the space he needed on the right side and then simply used his speed to outrun the Mustang defensive backs to the end zone. That run, plus the PAT, pushed the Middletown lead to 27-0 less than 60 seconds into period number two.

The Mustangs followed with another good drive that reached the Middletown 30 before the Raider defense again put the brakes on the march. Plummer broke up a fourth down pass to end the threat.

Not content to ride out the remainder of the first half with the 27-point cushion, the Middletown offense went right back to work. The Raiders started off with a Snavely-to-Leach connection of 25 yards. Thompson followed a holding penalty with a 14-yard run and Stetler’s catch was good for 12 yards and a first down at the 34. From there Thompson carried three straight times, the last one good for a 15-yard touchdown at the 3:39 mark. Thompson then added a two-point conversion run to make it a 35-0 game.

Leach intercepted a Mustang pass later in the period and Thompson added a pair of runs covering 21 and 12 yards as the Raiders ran out the first-half clock.

The Mustangs started off the second half with another promising drive, but, once again, the Middletown defense kept the home team from scoring. On fourth and 7 from the Middletown 11, Hunter Landis put the pressure on and forced a hurried throw that was broken up by Stetler to end the threat.

With the clock running, Jose Lopez, Antonio Gamble, Abel Botterbusch and Kyle Truesdale shared the running duties as the Raiders ran off the final 5 minutes of the third quarter.

Their efforts moved the ball to the West Perry 32 five plays into the final frame, but the drive ended just inches short of a first down on fourth-and-five. With the Middletown reserves on the field, the Mustangs finally broke the scoring drought with 2:10 left in the game.

“This game gave us a chance to play a lot of kids. Getting them on the field to gain experience is important to us,” Myers said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:17

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