Franklin County Football Playoffs: Shippensburg and Waynesboro have chance at redemption

Dylan Jacobs
Chambersburg Public Opinion

Two Franklin County teams qualified for the District 3 5A Playoffs, and both got the job done in round 1 last week.

Shippensburg and Waynesboro each secured first round victories, but now the challenge gets tougher in the quarterfinals.

Each team has a chance at redemption, with Shippensburg looking to avoid a similar fate that it faced in 2019, and Waynesboro looking to avenge a week 1 defeat.

Here is what to look for in each matchup on Friday night:

No. 6 Cedar Cliff (9-2) at No. 3 Shippensburg (11-0)

Amari Kerr (24) of Shippensburg outruns New Oxford defenders. 
New Oxford traveled to Shippensburg on Friday, November 5, 2021 for first round D3 playoff game. The Greyhounds remain undefeated in a 43-16 victory.  (Markell DeLoatch/ for GameTimePa)

Round 1 results

Cedar Cliff: 31-18 win vs. No. 11 Lower Dauphin

Shippensburg: 43-16 win vs. No. 14 New Oxford

Outlook: The Greyhounds continued to roll with a dominating win over New Oxford last week. That performance showed what Shippensburg can do when everything is clicking. The run game was strong with Amari Kerr, Nathan Beam and Traevon Kater all contributing. The Tucker Chamberlin to Erby Weller connection was strong. And the defense did what it has done all year. But this game represents an opportunity for redemption. Many seniors on this team we're on the 2019 team that similarly went undefeated and won its first round game. But their season ended in the quarterfinals at the hands of a lower seeded team. Cedar Cliff is a dangerous team, so this is not a game to be taken lightly.

Know the opponent: Cedar Cliff has plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and they showed that over the course of the season. The Colts average almost 33 points per game. The low points for the offense were the two games they lost, against CD East and Bishop McDevitt. But it's been four weeks in a row of strong offensive play. Quarterback Ethan Dorrell and running back Jontae Morris are both dynamic players that have produced all season long. But last week, Lower Dauphin showed a formula for how to stop them. Lower Dauphin played a very competitive game, holding Morris, who was second in the Mid-Penn in rushing yards coming in, to only 89 yards. The offense only scored three touchdowns, all by Dorrell, two through the air and one on the ground. A pick-six and a goal-line stand kept Lower Dauphin out of reach. 

Erby Weller of Shippensburg leaps for a catch as New Oxford's Troy Dubbert (7) defends. The score was recalled for a penalty. New Oxford traveled to Shippensburg on Friday, November 5, 2021 for first round D3 playoff game. The Greyhounds remain undefeated in a 43-16 victory.  (Markell DeLoatch/ for GameTimePa)

Prediction: This is one of the toughest opponents Shippensburg will have faced to this point in the season. When things are clicking, this Cedar Cliff offense can put up points. What could be the difference for Shippensburg is that it holds a strong defensive advantage. The Greyhounds are giving up around 9 points per game, while Cedar Cliff is giving up around 22. After a less than ideal end of the regular season, the Shippensburg offense got going last week, and it could do that again this time around. 31-23 Shippensburg

No. 5 Waynesboro (9-2) at No. 4 Spring Grove (9-1)

RB Aidan Mencia (28) runs to the sideline after scoring a touchdown. Waynesboro defeated Daniel Boone 42-20 to move on to the Quarterfinals of the 5A Tournament.

Round 1 results

Waynesboro: 42-20 win vs. No. 12 Daniel Boone

Spring Grove: 33-6 win vs. No. 13 Twin Valley

Outlook: This matchup was how the season started, and for one team, it's how their season ends. These two teams met in week 1, with Spring Grove holding on for a 25-20 win. The Rockets led that one 19-0, but the Indians were able to work their way back. It's been a long time since that matchup, with Waynesboro going 9-1 since then, only losing to still-undefeated Shippensburg. Waynesboro can look at that game and see it was not their best performance, as their leading running back Aidan Mencia was held to just 39 yards, a season-low. He's been on a roll lately, and getting a better performance from him could be the difference.

Know the opponent: These playoffs could often lead to matchups that people rarely see. Obviously this is an exception, as Waynesboro has first-hand tape to look at. The conversation about Spring Grove starts and ends with its dynamic running back Zyree Brooks. He had 130 yards and two touchdowns when these two teams met in week 1. The difference in this one is quarterback Andrew Osmun got injured in that week 1 game, and returned in week 7 and has been strong ever since.

Rhyan Day (2) celebrates a big play near the sideline. Waynesboro defeated Daniel Boone 42-20 to move on to the Quarterfinals of the 5A Tournament.

Prediction: These two teams have had a very similar journey to get here. Both are not known for their historic success in these playoffs. Spring Grove's last win before last week was in 2012. Waynesboro never won before. This is newfound ground for both. But this matchup is not new. And Waynesboro wants revenge. But it is going to need to control its emotion. That may have been the cause of its slow start last week. They were able to come back in a big way, but against a team like Spring Grove, that will be tough to do. It's been a Cinderella season for Waynesboro, but on Friday night, the clock might strike midnight. 34-30 Spring Grove