Conrad Weiser clips Gov. Mifflin for Berks I title
SHILLINGTON >> Winning 53 of 54 league games allows for a certain amount of well-earned cache.
So if it felt like Governor Mifflin was about to secure a third straight Berks League Section 1 title and a ninth in 10 seasons, well, you can be forgiven for that.
Conrad Weiser, thank you very much, had other ideas.
The Scouts won their first league crown since 2009 Friday night by sauntering into Shillington and coming away with a 17-7 victory over the Mustangs, the byproduct of a much improved defense and a hard-nosed, slashing, opportunistic quarterback nearly two inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than he was at this time a year ago.
The verdict wrapped a perfect 6-0 Berks 1 campaign for the Scouts (8-2 overall), who head off to the District 3 4A playoffs next week, while giving Mifflin (6-4, 5-1) its first league loss since the Exeter game in 2015 and only its second in nine seasons. The Mustangs’ slot in the upcoming D-3 5A bracket has yet to be solidified; they entered the game in the No. 7 position.
Veteran Weiser head coach Alan Moyer, involved with the football program in one aspect or another for nearly his entire life, was beaming. He shook the hand of every player departing the turf at Mifflin Stadium, trophy secured.
“I am so happy for these kids,” Moyer said. “They’ve worked so hard. Our staff did one heck of a job preparing these kids. I told them last week that we were going to be prepared for this game, it was just a matter of going out and executing and they did that.”
Senior quarterback Alex MacKenzie, now checking in at a sturdy 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds — and only really handed the keys to the car at the start of this season — rushed for 144 yards on 17 carries and scored one touchdown in spearheading Conrad Weiser to a historic victory.
MacKenzie, as he has done to many teams this season, beat the Mustangs Friday night with his legs. His right arm wasn’t much of a factor; a 2 of 6 byline for 15 yards and a pick, all in the first half, were negligible numbers from all angles.
The rushing from under center, however, was an entirely different matter.
After the host Mustangs produced a 17-play, 76-yard meatgrinder late in the first quarter to grab a 7-0 lead on quarterback Kolbie Reeser’s 2-yard plunge, MacKenzie replied on the next series with a designed keeper that he took to house from 56 yards out, untouched off left end, to even the score and send a message that his Scouts weren’t going anywhere. It was the biggest offensive snap of the night for either side.
“We were here for a reason,” MacKenzie said. “We worked our butts off to get to 8-2. It’s awesome. It’s very special. Me, as a player, I had to step up and be leader for the team. Keep our heads up, no matter what.”
On the other side of the ball, Weiser cut its points allowed this season in half, from 30 to 14 points per game entering the contest, and held the Mustangs to that lone score in their home arena. Not an easy feat.
The Scouts intercepted Reeser three times, including one from MacKenzie, his opposite number. The defense held Mifflin’s rushing attack to 100 net yards on 37 totes, a paltry 2.7 yards per carry average. Included in that total were three sacks of Reeser for minus-26 yards.
It made for a frustrating night for Mifflin head coach Jeff Lang and his charges, who saw both starting running back Nick Singleton, the league’s leading rusher as a freshman, and later Jacob Gelvin — who was in the midst of a solid night on both sides of the line of scrimmage — knocked out of the game with injuries. Gelvin had thwarted a Weiser foray with a pick of MacKenzie at the Mifflin 11 during the first half and rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries in Singleton’s stead before he went down with a right leg injury.
“(Weiser) has a great football team,” Lang said. “Their linemen are much stronger than they’ve been in the past so we had our hands full up front, and MacKenzie just ran all over us. He’s a fantastic quarterback and he’s tough to stop.”