Entz leads Warriors in quarters

Wyatt Entz is a special kind of athlete. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior is a beast in the weight room and can dunk a basketball, according to Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer.

He utilizes his strength and athleticism on the football field, as well. Entz can line up at offensive tackle or slide outside of the tackle and play tight end. While his athletic traits may get lost when he dons his jersey with a number suitable for an offensive lineman, when Entz slips on his No. 10 jersey and gets in the open field all of his skills are on display and defenders can be helpless.

Entz did everything but offer piggyback rides to Mifflinburg defenders on a 75-yard catch in the fourth quarter that eventually led to cementing touchdown as the No. 1 seed Warriors defeated eighth-seeded Mifflinburg, 27-16, in the quarterfinals of the District 4 Class AA playoffs on Friday night.

“He’s a really good athlete and one of those kids you have to find a way to get the football to,” Keefer said.

Quarterback Griffin Dunne did just that on a second-and-10 from the Mifflinburg 20-yard line with the Wildcats selling out to stop the run. Entz released from the line and sneaked behind the Wildcats’ secondary and caught the pass with nothing but wide-open space ahead. He reached deep into Mifflinburg territory until the Wildcats’ secondary finally caught up to the Montoursville tight end. Once they caught him, though, bringing him down was another challenge. Entz fought off a couple of defenders with stiff-arms, pulled along another and reached the Mifflinburg 5 before more help came and finally wrestled him to the ground.

“I was pretty fortunate tonight that those passes just opened up,” said Entz, who finished with two catches for 110 yards. “Mifflinburg brought the house and I was wide open and I had a chance to make play.”

Montoursville (10-1) will play Troy, a 24-15 winner over Mount Carmel in the district semifinals next week.

Entz felt he was fortunate because of the Montoursville running game. The Warriors kept chipping away at the Mifflinburg defense with runs of 3, 4 and 5 yards that forced the Wildcats to cheat their safety toward the line of scrimmage. When they did, Dunne perfectly executed play-action passes – two to Entz that totaled 110 yards and another to Curtis Miller in the second quarter that resulted in a 36-yard touchdown and gave Montoursville a 14-3 halftime lead.

“It’s a testament to the offensive line,” Entz said. “They really opened up the run and then that play-action really opened up the pass.”

The Warriors defense, which surrendered 31 points to the Wildcats two weeks ago, limited Mifflinburg to three first-half points.

Mifflinburg (5-6) did move the ball at times, but Montoursville’s defense came up with big plays when it needed to, including a Matt Shea 8-yard sack of Mifflinburg quarterback Jordan Wagner that resulted in the Wildcats missing a 37-yard field. A successful attempt would have pulled Mifflinburg within 20-13 with half of the final quarter remaining.

“(Shea’s sack) was a huge play for us,” Keefer said. “That is what changed everything and got everything back in our manner.”

“It was one of the first times all year I had an open shot at the quarterback and I just capitalized,” Shea said.

Montoursville offense then capitalized. The Warriors drove 80 yards on five plays, including Entz’s highlight-reel run and catch to put the pesky Wildcats away. Rothrock finished off the drive with his second touchdown, a 1-yard plunge. Rothrock again filled in for the injured Cameron Ott, who returned last week against Loyalsock but suffered a separate injury in the game.

Rothrock finished with 127 yards on 31 carries behind a punishing offensive line. The Warriors’ dominance on the line was best illustrated on the first drive in the second half when the Warriors took nearly six minutes off the clock, with a 12-play, 66-yard possession that ended with a Rothrock 2-yard run around the edge for a 20-3 Montoursville lead.

Dunne completed a 13-yard pass to Ethan Jones in the flat to convert a third-and-7 to open the drive.

“We had to have it,” Keefer said. “We didn’t want to give them the ball back right away. Griffin made a nice throw there and got us momentum.

“That’s what we wanted to do coming out of the half, put together a long drive and get them three possessions behind.”

Mifflinburg closed to 20-10 after the teams traded turnovers deep in Montoursville territory. The Wildcats fumbled first before recovering one of their own that resulted in a Brett Luhrman 5-yard run.

Montoursville’s offense, which turned it over four times in the Week 9 meeting between the two teams, lost just one fumble in the rematch. Dunne was nearly perfect from the pocket, completing 6 of 7 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Brycen Mussina added two completions on two attempts for another 28 yards.

“We didn’t feel like we beat them (two weeks ago),” said Keefer, who didn’t have to worry about his team being overconfident against a No. 8 seed because of the four-point win. “We had more points than them, but we didn’t feel like we beat them. We didn’t physically beat them and that was a our goal tonight.”