G-A trounces Hounds on Homecoming night
On a charged-up Homecoming night, the high-flying Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devil football team didn’t need to get the bounces too. Still when Christian Hoover’s 47-yard field goal attempt bounded off the center bar and tumbled through the uprights, it put an exclamation point on a 48-7 rout of Shippensburg by the Blue Devils.
In a Mid-Penn Conference Capital division matchup that was billed to be a close battle in the trenches, the Devils (3-0, 1-0 MPC-Capital) put any doubt who would prevail to rest early in this one, scoring three times in the opening quarter, taking a 31-0 lead into the half and icing it with three more scores in the fourth.
“Our kids were ready to play,” said G-A head coach Chuck Tinninis as his unbeaten team wrapped up a perfect three-game homestand. “I think they were pretty fired up. It’s a rival. We see them every Wednesday in the summer league. We throw with them. We go to team camp together. Our kids know their kids. We know each other and we were fired up. And our kids executed well and did what they needed to do.
“Everyone played well. All three phases of the game. We played well tonight.”
Lighting the fire
G-A’s line and a talented group of skill players made sure of it, playing with a pile of intensity, but with a discipline that kept the scores coming early and often.
Jake Statler lit the fire taking the opening kickoff 69 yards to set G-A up at the Shippensburg 28. Brett Meyers hit Brandon Trefelner for 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Tyler Szaflarski took it in from there for the score.
The Devil defense as well set its own tone with a four and out from Ship. In fact the Greyhounds played nearly the whole first half in its own territory and had just one first down in the half.
“The coaches prepare us really well every week,” said Broc Shives, a member of G-A’s front four. “We practice hard, stay disciplined and do a lot of conditioning so we’re ready throughout the whole game. And the coach is a really good motivator. He’s loud and he’s fierce. Everything helps. It helps mentally and physically.
“We haven’t always been a rival, but it’s budding. Hopefully it stays being a big game.”
Winning in the trenches
G-A’s offense scored each time it touched the ball in the first quarter. Hoover delivered on a 38-yard field goal with 6:39 on the clock. After a sack from Denton Ensminger that set the Devils up at the Shippensburg 27, G-A set out on an eight-play drive capped by a Schaeffer score. Schaeffer had runs of 16 and seven to start the drive.
After the defense stuffed the Hounds again, G-A faced a short field on a punt reception to start the second. Schaeffer started the second period just like he started the game only this time his punt return went the whole way for a 45-yard touchdown return to extend the G-A lead to 24-0 before the Greyhounds barely had a chance to catch their breath.
Ship managed a bit of life midway through the stanza with an interception of a tipped pass in the endzone as G-A knocked on the door again and offensively had its longest play of the evening with a 42-yard pass. The Hounds also started the second half with some spirit as Greg Williams took the kickoff 96 yards for the lone score of the night. Still it was more than obvious that the Devils were dominating in the trenches despite being out-sized.
Tinninis said, “It was a bit of a surprise but we expect our kids to do their job and they’ve done it so far.
“We pretty much played a base defense. We said our front four needed to be physical with their offensive line.”
Scoring at will
Meyers connected with Trefelner for a 30-yard pass and score just before the half and it just poured Devil scoring in the fourth. Schaeffer got a great lead block from Szaflarski for a 19-yard rushing score to start the fourth. Josh Short picked off a Ship pass in the flat and had clear sailing to the endzone.
“I read my keys and adjusted to where the quarterback was. We threw it right to me. I saw the endzone and thought, I want to get a touchdown,” said the senior.
“They run the same offense as we do. And we know what they have from summer league. So we were prepared for it.”
G-A terrorized the Hounds with five sacks (Denton Ensminger, Short, Denver Cordell, Shives, Gerardo Juarez) and a slew of tackles for a loss and the two picks. Ship had just 22 rushing yards.
The Devils put up 211 yards on the ground, led by Schaeffer with 71. Trefelner had 53 receiving yards.
“On offense we just do what we want,” said Short. “It’s a tribute to the line and our hard work in the summer.”
Shives added, “It makes playing defense so much easier.
“It was physical. They have a big line. You just have to play hard and stay low.”
Taking to the road
While it was nice to get the Homecoming win and now three in a row to start the season with all home games, the Devils will hit the road Friday ( 7 p.m. kickoff) and hope to keep the magic going as they head to Hershey.
“We want to do the same thing on the road,” said Short. “It’s just a different place to do it.”
Shives said the immediate focus is Hershey, but the hopes are beyond that, “Hopefully to states. That’s our goal. That’s our goal every year. Next week is what we go for next, but we have an ultimate goal.”
Never one to rest too long on a victory, Tinninis is already thinking Hershey, but he also can’t help but be pleased with the progress of his team.
“We have good kids who like playing,” said the Devil skipper. “They work hard in practice and it’s a real pleasure to coach them. It’s a throwback team. They come to work. They want to play. They listen. They work hard and they play hard.
“And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”