GREENCASTLE — They needed this one.
After two tough weeks, the Greencastle-Antrim varsity football team earned its first win of the season Friday night, defeating Hanover 42-21 in the Blue Devils' home opener at Kaley Field.
Leading 21-13 at halftime, G-A (1-2) continued to wear down the Nighthawks (0-3) during the closing two quarters, ultimately pounding away on the ground.
"I'm happy for our guys," Blue Devil head coach Devin McCauley said. "We made some plays and were able to take advantage of a few opportunities. Now we need to keep improving."
– David Niebauer had the best night of his career, racking up 189 yards and four touchdowns for Greencastle.
The sophomore has asserted himself as a staple in G-A's offense, and Friday was no different. In the second half alone, Niebauer rushed for 148 yards and three scores to put the game away.
Niebauer had touchdown runs of 5, 18, 45 and 46 yards, respectively. His most impressive attempt came on his last carry of the night, appearing to be bottled up along the sideline before cutting back across the field en route to a 45-yard score to give G-A a 42-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
"Niebauer really took a step forward," McCauley said. "Our line was solid, giving him running lanes tonight."
– Defensively, Tyler Thuahnai was once again a monster in the middle for the Blue Devils. The senior linebacker accounted for double-digit tackles for a second straight week, including three sacks.
On one specific series in the first quarter, Thuahnai registered back-to-back sacks before adding a tackle for loss.
– Early on, the connection of quarterback Zach Cole to receiver Adam Root was hitting on all cylinders for Greencastle. Cole hit Root for a pair of touchdowns in the opening half. After an 8-yard touchdown for the Blue Devils' first score, Cole found Root for 37 yards on a third-and-long to set up a 25-yard touchdown strike between the duo.
Root ended with five receptions for 114 yards, all of which came in the first half.
– Complementing Thuahnai defensively was Taylor Conrad. Conrad frequently flashed, highlighted by two sacks and a fumble recovery.
– Ethan Shank and Malachi Rhodes each recorded an interception for the Blue Devils.
– G-A kicker Nathan Kirkwood was 6 for 6 on extra-point attempts.
– Hanover quarterback Chase Roberts passed for three touchdowns, including strikes of 11, 26 and 6 yards, respectively.
– The Blue Devils displayed pink stickers on their helmets with the initials "KM" in honor of Kim Muller, who recently passed away. Muller was a beloved teacher within the G-A School District.
NEXT: G-A begins Mid-Penn Colonial Division play at home against West Perry next Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Ben Destefan at email@example.com, 717-762-2151 or on Twitter: @bdestefan_RH