G-A football struggles against Hershey on Homecoming

RACHEL BARTLETT, Echo Pilot intern
Sam Sprague (15) takes off after getting the handoff from Spencer Meyers Friday on a rainy Kaley Field. (Photo by Dylan Coldsmith, Echo Pilot)

The Greencastle- Antrim Blue Devils didn’t get much of what one would like on a Homecoming night  Friday. Add a persistent rain to penalties and turnovers, not to mention a hungry Hershey Trojan squad, and it spelled a 40-12 Homecoming loss for the Devils.

“I have no excuses,” reacted head coach Chuck Tinninis after the game, “but it's embarrassing.

“This night was not our night, and I give a lot of credit to Hershey. They came down and did what they needed to do. They played a really tough schedule. They were ready to go and they took advantage and used their athletes.”

In spite of a 1-4 record, the Trojans had gone up against teams with a combined 17-3 record. Hershey was out to make the most of its trip to Greencastle. “Hershey came down here and they were ready to play. They took advantage of the turnovers like they should've and it just snowballed against us,” Tinninis added.

Heading into the first quarter, it seemed like it would be a good, even game between two teams, but the Devils began struggling with penalties again. After two runs by James Hines and Andrew Votral, a penalty flag was thrown and G-A suffered. Forced to punt the ball to the Trojans, the Devils were already set back on their heels. The defense stepped up their game with tackles from Jack Lindeman, Jeremy Anderson, Tony Dunagan, Matt Oberholzer and Sam Sprague. Still in spite of a positive run from Demetrius Burton, the offense showed signs of struggle. An interception turned the ball over on one drive and a penalty flag thwarted another would-be drive to keep the Devil defense on the field. Jared Starliper and Andrew Sheller each had a tackle before the Trojans scored the first touchdown from the 12 yard line. Graham Horst stepped in and stopped the opponent from scoring an extra point. At the end of the first quarter, the Trojans were leading, 6-0.

Nothing much changed for the Devils in the second quarter. Sheller, Dunagan, and Sprague all had tackles, but in the end the Trojan offense took advantage of its possessions and scored again. G-A did get on the board before the break. Burton had three positive runs to set the Devils up at the Hershey 10. Sprague and Votral each ran and moved the ball to the six yard line. Jared Starliper then ran the ball in for a touchdown, and Sprague was tackled when he tried to go for the conversion. The half ended with the Trojans still in the lead, 13-6.

Heading into the second half, G-A's fans were hoping for some change to this Homecoming night, but the Hershey Trojans were the ones to put the points up on the board. Even with a penalty flag on them, the Trojans still managed to score another touchdown. After their punt return, Hershey recovered the ball on their own 17. Tackles from Oberholzer and Dunagan only delayed the onslaught as the Trojans found the end zone again. Tinninis said, “Hershey came down and jumped on us in the second half.”

The Devils did delay the Trojans with a decent drive off runs from Burton, Meyers, Hines, Sprague and Votral and a pass to Starliper. Hines capped it with a TD run. As would be the story of the night, the extra point kick was blocked. Hershey again scored before the final quarter began and again in the fourth on a G-A fumble that was returned nearly the length of the field.

Kurt Hansen scored a late touchdown to make the final 40-18.

Coach Tinninis added, “When we're driving we fumble. We fumble the kickoff. We're supposed to double cover a kid and he scores a touchdown, obviously we didn't double him. We missed tackles. We didn't play good. We didn't play good period and I'm embarrassed. So we need to start getting it done, or we gotta find people that will get it done. I told the kids that we're gonna come ready; the season's starting over again on Monday, and we're coming ready to work.”

G-A will host James Buchanan Friday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.