HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: State playoffs begin Saturday for District 3 Class 1A champ Millersburg

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A little over a month ago, they had to forfeit a game because they had so many injuries they couldn’t field a team.

Five weeks later, they’re District 3 champions heading into the state playoffs.

Oh, and did we mention its their final season?

Yes, there’s no shortage of subplots for the Millersburg Indians as they continue their postseason quest.

Two weeks after defeating Fairfield 56-28 to capture the District 3 Class A championship, Millersburg will open the state playoffs Saturday against District 4 champion Muncy at 1 p.m. The game will be played at Williamsport High School.

Here’s a preview:

Millersburg (3-8) vs. Muncy (8-4)

Muncy captured the District 4 title with a 23-19 upset victory over Canton last Friday, avenging a 27-13 loss to the Warriors in the regular season. Ethan Gush scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard run with 5:30 left in regulation, capping a 17-play, 80-yard march that consumed more than eight minutes off the game clock. Gush ran for 125 yards and scored twice for the Indians, who captured their second straight district championship.

It was an unexpected repeat title for Muncy, which graduated several starters from its 2018 squad and has three freshmen in its starting lineup.

One of those freshmen is quarterback Branson Eyer, who has completed 66 of 121 passes for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns for the Indians. Gush, a 5-11, 175-pound junior, has 1,026 yards and 18 TDs on 118 carries to lead the Muncy ground game.

The Indians, who are located in Lycoming County and play in the Northern Tier Small-School Football Conference, finished second to Sayre in the regular season after falling 21-17 to the Redskins on Oct. 18. They avenged that loss in District 4 semifinals, prevailing 26-20.

Millersburg was idle last week after capturing the second District 3 championship in school history with its victory over Fairfield. The district’s smallest classification has only three schools competing in it, so Millersburg qualified for the postseason in spite of its 2-8 record. But the Indians proved their mettle by hammering Fairfield.

Senior quarterback Aiden Harman completed 103 of 236 passes for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season. His top targets were the duo of Caden Feaster (40-465, four TDs) and Kyle Casner (24-459, five TDs), while Chance Crawford (151-736, five TDs) was the team’s top rusher.

Against Fairfield, Harman threw for 287 yards and five touchdowns on 13-for-21 passing and ran for two more scores, while Crawford racked up 124 yards and another TD on the ground. Three of Harman’s TD tosses went to Casner, while Feaster hauled in the other two. Casner finished with 179 yards on six receptions, while Feaster had 101 yards on seven grabs.

This will be the last season in Millersburg’s program history, which dates back more than 100 years. The Indians will become part of a cooperative arrangement with Upper Dauphin next season. School district officials from Upper Dauphin and Millersburg are currently considering a full merger; Millersburg will vote Nov. 21 on whether or not to proceed with Phase 2 of the exploratory plan.

But either way, every game Millersburg plays from here on out could be the last. The Indians are hoping to extend their final season as long as possible.

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