Shippensburg 53, Big Spring 14
Setting the stage: The Greyhounds capped a nine-win regular season with a 53-14 victory against Big Spring to keep the Little Brown Jug for the eighth straight year. The victory also earned the team a share of the Mid-Penn Colonial Division title with Mifflin County.
Shippensburg coach Eric Foust on what a share of the Colonial title means to this team?
“It means a lot. We started our conference year 0-1, so for us, we started in a hole. We knew that if we wanted a share, we needed to win the rest. For us, we were able to do that and I’m proud of the guys. We’re pretty pleased with where we are heading into the playoffs. The Colonial is always nice to win, and this year, the division was exceptional — we’re in the playoffs, Northern, Mifflin, West Perry and Waynesboro are in, too.”
What’s your first impression of Northeastern, the Greyhounds’ first-round opponent?
“We’re pretty pleased with who we drew. We’ve played Northeastern before. They are very athletic. They have a big defensive lineman [Nijuan Williams, 6-foot-4, 300 pounds], they are a 5-2 defensive team. They had a running back [Frank Brown] get hurt early and are now relying on a sophomore back [Manny Capo]. We’re excited to get a good seed and looking to get a win. In the first year in 5A, making the playoffs was big, winning the conference was big. We would like to win a playoff game or two. We think we have that type of talent. At the beginning of the year, there was a lot of transition for us trying to figure out what works. We now have a good idea of what works for us. We think we’re pretty good where we are right now."
Harrisburg 52, Altoona 3:
Setting the stage: Harrisburg wrapped up a dominant 9-1 regular season with a 52-3 victory against Altoona. The Cougars posted an unblemished 7-0 league record to win the Commonwealth.
Harrisburg coach Calvin Everett on winning the Commonwealth title:
“That means a lot — the way this group came together and faced all types of adversity right from Week 1 [a loss against Coatesville]. A lot of people counted us out. I love the way we responded, and we are continuing to get better each week. We only returned one offensive starter and three defensive starters — the rest was really trial and error, making sure we had the right guys in the right places. To go through that and capture the Commonwealth, arguably one of the toughest conferences in the state, that means a lot.”
On his first impression of Hempfield:
“They run a spread offensive. Defensively, we expect to see a number of different looks. For us, though, it is really more about us just focusing on what we do. We don’t worry about what they do, because we think if we execute what we need to do that we’ll be fine.”
On the play of the Cougars’ defense this year:
“I’m super excited about our defense. I don’t think they get enough credit. Through this whole season, outside of Coatesville, we’ve given up maybe two or three touchdowns [in a game] the remaining nine games. I don’t think they get the defense they deserve. What we do offensively overshadows our defense. Those guys, the playmakers and the points we put up, hide the rock-solid defense. My hats off to those guys — from up front, to the linebackers, to the secondary — they have been fantastic.”
Trinity 26, Camp Hill 0
Setting the stage: Trinity entered the final week of the regular season still searching for its first victory of the season. After nearly upsetting Palmyra a week earlier, the Shamrocks throttled the crosstown rival Lions to wrap up the 2018 circuit at 1-9.
On adjustments made to the Trinity offensive attack over the last three weeks:
“We decided after East Pennsboro [Week 6] to get out of our two-back set and go back to a one-back set. We needed to clean the box out for our linemen to play the way they were capable of playing. We picked the Middletown week to do it, which probably wasn’t the great week to choose, but we needed to do it. Through Palmyra, we had an opportunity there [to win], but made some mistakes.”
On his team’s first win of the season:
“Everything came together. We were able to run the football, we were able to put our kids in a good situation to be success. The passing game got going. We took advantage of their man coverage and attacked with our run game. Our quarterback [Danny Scott], he was seeing what we wanted him to see. He was seeing the defensive alignments and making the right calls.”
Reflecting on the 2018 campaign:
“We were young and green. But a lot of these guys will be back. Losing [linebacker] Mark Centurione will be tough. He had over 200 tackles in his career. On the other side, [wide receiver] Michael McDermott will be a huge loss and a big offseason task for me.
“But we have a nice nucleus coming back. Winning that game against our rival, a team we haven’t beat in six years, really should help springboard us into the offseason.
“It’s going to be a full offseason for me, which is nice after coming in in April. The kids know the new offensive system. They know our defense, so they are going to know what is expected of them to be successful in their positions. There’s more to go in in what I want to do with the offense, but I’m not going to throw a bunch at them. We’ll keep tweaking and feeding as we get comfortable. The base is in with a nucleus back at the skill positions.”