Dramatic double overtime win delivers division title
It was anything but fate.
Talent, heart and a winning tradition are the most likely factors that landed the football clash that decided the Mid-Penn Conference Colonial Division title Friday on Kaley Field for the homestanding Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils. For Shippensburg it was one missed extra point kick in the second overtime period that left the final at 28-27 and the championship moniker on the Devils.
The Devils (7-2, 6-0 MPC-Colonial) and Greyhounds (7-2, 4-2 MPC-Colonial) set up an intense battle from the start, each apparently wanting to take the ball out of the other one’s hands. A total of seven turnovers in the game were almost equally shared and defense was ruling the day until late in the first half. Defense set up the first successful offensive drive for the Devils. Nick Potter recovered a fumbled Shippensburg punt return near midfield and G-A found a way to sustain the drive.
A 29-yard pass from Grant Murray to Denton Cordell and a followup six yards on a rush put the Devils in the red zone. Denver Cordell went left on a pitch and scored from 12 yards out.
G-A appeared to have sustained the momentum through halftime, staging a 75-yard drive iced by an 8-yard touchdown run from Denver Cordell. Luke Bitner had made both extra point kicks and the Devils owned a 14-0 lead, an advantage that seemed big in relation to the offensive pace of the game. Instead Shippensburg fought back with a score just under four minutes later. A G-A fumble set the Hounds up again and in only a couple minutes had knotted the score.
Neither team could get a leg up in the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils had the best shot at ending the game in regulation, driving to the Shippensburg one yard line. A fumble nixed that try and overtime ensued. Ship had the first shot in overtime and scored to take the first lead of the game. G-A then took its turn. Despite pushing the OT envelope to a fourth and four, Murray hit Denver Cordell for the score. Bitner kicked for the 21-21 tie.
The Blue Devils took the offensive stance for the second OT and Murray ran it in from six yards out. Bitner’s kick was good and ended up the game winner. Shippensburg followed with a touchdown, but the kick sailed wide producing sudden victory for the Devils.
Both Cordells eclipsed the 100 yard mark rushing. Denver toted 33 times for 148 yards and two scores. Denton tallied 101 yards on 11 carries. Defensively Cameron Christman and Josh Horenstein each tallied eight tackles. Denver Cordell and Ian Spencer each had seven. Stephen Ernharth and Potter had fumble recoveries and Denton Cordell inked an interception.
Not only did the win clinch the division championship for the Devils, it upped their ante in the District 3-AAA playoff picture. With the win, G-A moved from 10th to eighth in the power ratings to enhance its chances of hosting the opening playoff game. There is one more week left in the regular season during which the Devils travel to Newville to take on the Bulldogs Friday night.