GREENCASTLE — The one thing Greencastle-Antrim wanted to do heading into Friday night's homecoming football game against Waynesboro was to stay close early and keep it close.
The one thing Waynesboro wanted to do heading into the second Friday of October against G-A was not to allow the Blue Devils to stay close early and keep it close.
Greencastle accomplished its mission after trailing 14-0 at halftime. But Waynesboro pulled away in the second half by tacking on three more touchdowns en route to a 34-0 victory in a Mid-Penn Colonial Division game at Kaley Field.
It was a lesson in front line dominance. But, more than that, it was a clinic in running backs blocking for other running backs and teammates supporting teammates.
"We're lining up and playing physical football," said Waynesboro coach Josh Sprenkle. "The offensive line blocks, and the running backs did a good job blocking for each other. Kareem Sims got a few touches, but he was making holes for Aidan (Mencia) and Mikel (Holden)."
Holden rushed for 127 yards and Mencia rushed for 125 yards in a game that once the Indians got going they couldn't be stopped.
Waynesboro's defense was on a learning curve with G-A's motion-oriented offense, but after the Blue Devils put together a sustained drive in the first quarter that fizzled at the Waynesboro 33 following an 11-yard loss on a screen pass, Greencastle couldn't duplicate it. With each touchdown, the Tribe defensive unit gained more confidence and stepped up its intensity in what turned out to be a dominating performance.
Waynesboro held the Blue Devils to 139 total yards of offense. The Indians surrendered just 41 rushing yards on 26 attempts, an average of less than two yards a carry.
Taylor Conrad did give the G-A offense some life when brought in to run the wildcat at quarterback. Conrad rushed for 27 yards and connected with an 18-yard pass play.
G-A dug deep into the playbook by running an option pass on the game's first play. It fell incomplete, but the message was sent that the homestanding Blue Devils were going to pull out all the stops to contend with the team that won the previous five meetings.
In a penalty-filled game on a brisk autumn night, Waynesboro struck first. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Indians went to the ground game. Mencia picked up four yards on first down, Holden ran for 10 yards and Mencia took another turn and gained 14 yards to the G-A 39, prompting the Blue Devils to take a time out.
Following a 1-yard gain by Holden, Mencia scampered for 23 yards deep into G-A territory to the 15. Holden carried the ball back-to-back plays, culminating the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Matt Williams, who made four of five extra point kicks, was good on the point after touchdown that gave the Tribe (4-4, 2-2 MPC) a 7-0 lead.
A key turning point in the game came late in the second quarter. The Blue Devils (1-7, 0-5 MPC) failed to convert a fourth down play, and on first down from the Waynesboro 43, quarterback Chance Eyler threw a strike to Sims, who was wide open down the middle for a 39-yard gain to the G-A 18. Then, on fourth down at the 14, Eyler and Adam Wertz teamed up for a touchdown pass with 16.5 seconds left in the first half.
"I knew they were going to give us everything they had," said Sprenkle. "We had to weather the storm early. We gave Mifflin County a good game, did what we had to do there. We had to do the same against Greencastle."
The game was still in the balance late into the third quarter. But with the Blue Devils unable to establish any offensive threat, it was only a matter of time before the Waynesboro ground game went back for more. The Indians took over following a G-A punt at their 30 yard line, beginning what would be a 70-yard, 10-play drive punctuated by a 16-yard scoring run by Mencia. Williams kicked the point after touchdown to give the Tribe a 21-0 lead.
Mencia gained all 34 of Waynesboro's yards on a short drive that bulged the lead to 28-0. Taking over on downs, the Indians needed just two plays and Mencia ran for 30 yards on the first play and four more for the touchdown with 4:08 left to play in the game.
Waynesboro punched it in one more time, thanks for a 55-yard run by Bruce Lepore. Three plays later, Lepore took it again and ran around right end for a 15-yard touchdown.
With the win, the all-time series is tied at 15-15-1.
NEXT: Waynesboro hosts West Perry next Friday while G-A makes the lengthy trip to face Mifflin County.
Contact Lee Goodwin at 717-762-2151, email@example.com or on Twitter: @LeeG_RH