The long awaited season opener between cross-town rivals Wilson and Gov. Mifflin is finally here. Everyone has had this game circled on the schedule since Wilson ended Mifflin’s season in the District 3-AAAA playoffs a year ago. In fact, it was the 2nd time the Bulldogs had beaten the Mustangs in 2012. However, both games were hosted by Wilson and the 2nd time around the Mustangs fared a little better as they fell by only one touchdown, 21-14.
When the bright lights are shining in Shillington this Friday, you can expect Coach Vecchio and the boys to be ready for anything that comes their way. This year’s Mustangs team is a very deep, experienced, and hungry team. “It’s our senior year, and we’re at home, we have to protect our turf”, said Connor Morehart, the Mustangs star offensive and defensive lineman.
Just as important as protecting their turf for Morehart and Mifflin, would be protecting QB Jan Johnson. Last season, as a sophomore, Johnson compiled a total of 27 touchdowns (11 passing, 16 rushing). His play will be crucial to the Mustangs success, both Friday, and the foreseeable future.
Jonas Fiant and Aric Dupell will likely play a large role for Mifflin carrying the ball as well.
On defense, Mifflin will utilize their speed, size, and overall toughness. They will have many familiar faces, including Morehart, Johnson, Fiant, and Dupell. Also, look for Darren Schlegel to step up at linebacker for the Mustangs.
On the opposite sideline, Coach Doug Dahms will have his Bulldogs squad ready to play. Last year’s team came within 2 wins of the ultimate prize: a PIAA Class AAAA championship.
With this year’s Wilson team returning several key contributors on both sides of the ball, look for them to be a strong contender again.
At QB, the Bulldogs have senior Matt Timochenko, who took over the starting job a year ago. Timochenko is a big QB at 6’3” with a knack for finding the open man downfield.
Luckily, Timochenko will have one of his top receivers back at tight end, Dominic Nigrelli. Nigrelli may have the best hands in the entire county.
Getting the bulk of the carries for the Bulldogs will be senior John Raifsnyder, who figures to be a force this season.
On defense, Hunter Hatlee figures to be amongst the best linebackers in the area. He’ll be joined by Dominic Nigrelli as the senior leaders on defense.
Look for Ike Schannauer to be a breakout defensive player this year for the Bulldogs. He saw some time at linebacker last year as a freshman and will see much more time this year. Schannauer will look to be the next great Wilson defender, following in the footsteps of players like Yensi Uribe-Martinez and Junior Joseph a year ago.
Don’t be surprised if this is not the only meeting of the season between these two teams.