Homer-Center to play for title in Hershey

Special to the Mirror

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A week after pulling an improbable upset, the Homer-Center Wildcats did it again — this time with a trip to the state finals on the line.

Sticking to what they do best, the Wildcats stayed strong on defense, controlled the line of scrimmage and rushed its way to a 20-14 victory over Steelton-Highspire on Friday night in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals.

Homer-Center (13-1) advanced to the state championship game for the first time in program history.

The Rollers’ Malachi Young hit Jarvai Flowers with for a 65-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, and Steelton-Highspire held the 7-0 lead until halftime.

Homer-Center’s Jesse Lee scored on a 2-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the second half, and Mike McCracken scored on a 20-yard run on the Wildcats’ next possession to take a 12-7 lead.

On a fourth-and-2, Lee rumbled 32 yards to the end zone with 3:15 left in the game to give Homer-Center a 20-7 advantage.

But the Rollers answered with another big play, and Young connected with Flowers on a 77-yard touchdown with 1:08 remaining for the 20-14 score.

Steelton-Highspire, who will play Jeanette Thursday in the state title game, then attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by Homer-Center, who knelt out the clock for the victory.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Homer-Center 0 0 12 8 — 20

Steelton-Highspire 7 0 0 7 — 14

First quarter

SH — Jarvai Flowers, 65 pass from Malachi Young (Nicholas Neidlinger kick)

Third quarter

HC — Jesse Lee, 2 run (kick blocked)

HC — Mike McCracken, 20 run (run failed)

Fourth quarter

HC — Lee, 32 run (Ben Schmidt run)

SH — Flowers, 77 pass from Young (Neidlinger kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing–Homer-Center: McCracken 18-138, Lee 18-125, Miles 7-76, Schmidt 2-(-9), TEAM 3-(-8). Steelton-Highspire: Andrews 15-74, Young 7-38, Flowers 3-32, Team 2-(-4).

Passing–Homer-Center: Schmidt 3-9-1-14. Steelton-Highspire: Young 7-14-1-206.

Receiving–Homer-Center: Lee 2-6, Logan Hill 1-8. Steelton-Highspire: Andrews 3-51, Flowers 2-142, Spencer 1-7, Grant 1-6. From Mirror

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