G-A defeats Chambersburg in opener
The performance suited the occasion.
Celebrating the football program's 50th anniversary ahead of Friday night's season opener, Greencastle-Antrim put together a vintage showing against rival Chambersburg, physically dictating play on both sides of the ball throughout a 28-7 victory at Kaley Field.
With members of the inaugural 1967 varsity team on hand, the Blue Devils' smash-mouth style proved too much for the Trojans, as G-A rushed for more than 300 yards while collectively appearing much-improved defensively.
"This was a nice win, a nice night, and I'm so glad for the kids," said Greencastle head coach Chuck Tinninis, who was recognized after the victory for his 30th season at the helm. "These are the same guys from last year, a year older, a year stronger. It's old school and it's so fun to coach them."
Although only one game, this was a vastly different Blue Devil squad from the one that finished 2-8 last fall. Benefitting from experience, quarterback Cade McDowell looked the part of a senior signal caller, making plays both with his arm and his legs. McDowell led the ground attack with 14 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns to go along with an efficient night passing, completing all five attempts for 76 yards.
"He looked like a senior quarterback," Tinninis said. "He ran the ball hard and threw it when we needed him to."
McDowell headlined a pivotal sequence just before the half to give the Blue Devils momentum they would not relinquish. After improvising to find Cade Marshall for a 27-yard gain on what was a broken play, McDowell ripped off a 23-yard run to set up first-and-goal from the Chambersburg 2. As the closing seconds ticked down, he hurried the offense to the line for one last snap following a pair of failed attempts, this time taking a keeper in for a 1-yard score and a 12-7 G-A lead. Electing to go for two, he then connected with brother Max McDowell to push the advantage to 14-7 entering the locker room.
"That was big," Tinninis said. "McDowell kept his head, we were right there to run the sneak again and get it in. I thought that was huge to get us the momentum."
Things continued to go the Blue Devils' way early in the third, as a botched snap on a punt by Chambersburg gave G-A possession inside the Trojan 10. Two plays later, Wesley Medina rumbled across for a 4-yard touchdown to extend the cushion to 21-7.
The differential stood until the fourth, when Marshall broke loose for 53 yards to again move Greencastle deep into Chambersburg territory. A quality burst by Isaiah Peck set up Medina's second score of the night, ultimately producing the 28-7 final.
The Trojans did threaten late, only to lose a fumble at the Blue Devil 7, which was recovered by Marshall.
"We got a couple good opportunities, a couple breaks that we took advantage of," Tinninis said. "It was a good win all the way around."
Aside from Clay Myers' 55-yard touchdown run on Chambersburg's second snap of the game, the Trojans offense sputtered, in part because of an injury to starting quarterback Tyler Collier that forced him out in the first quarter. Other than Myers' lone highlight, G-A held Chambersburg to just 31 additional yards in the opening half. For the night, the Trojans finished with 170 total yards, 105 of which belonged to Myers.
"They caught us early, then we settled down," Tinninis said. "There were some penalties that we need to clean up, but our guys have experience and know what they're doing. Now we're just moving forward."
Serving as a monster in the middle, Brad Shear routinely flashed on defense, anchoring a Blue Devil unit that had an impressive debut.
"He's one of the best linebackers I've coached here, and I've coached some good ones," Tinninis said of Shear.
Statistically, Peck finished with 63 yards on nine carries, including a 29-yard gain that led to McDowell's first score, cutting Chambersburg's lead to 7-6 in the second quarter. Marshall added 62 yards while Medina pounded his way to 38. Seth Eberly (32 yards) and Austin Kane (20 yards) were also utilized, giving G-A plenty of capable options in the ground game.
The Blue Devils (1-0) will look to build on their performance when they host Milton Hershey next Friday.