Each week, our crew will dish out ‘Game Balls” to athletes who turned in impressive performances across our coverage area. Here are our selections for Week of Oct. 23-26 of the regular season.
Jake Adams’s Game Balls
Garvey Brothers, Boiling Springs: And all the other Bubblers. A year after finishing 0-10, Boiling Springs is playoff bound, having secured the berth with a 35-0 drubbing of Camp Hill to finish the regular season 4-1. The Garvey brothers were center stage. Big bro Patrick scored on an 81-yard punt return, hauled in a 34-yard TD reception, picked off Lions QB Daniel Shuster and scooped up a fumble recovery. Not to be outdone, Carson swiped two Shuster passes, including one he took to the house from 34 yards out. No team played a better defensive game against Camp Hill this season, and it was largely thanks to the siblings.
Sean Smith, RB-LB, Carlisle: I’m told Smith’s 336 rushing yards are a Carlisle record. No Thundering Herd runner ever eclipsed the 300-yard mark before Friday night. It was critical to the Herd’s efforts in beating Cedar Cliff 35-28 in a wild game. Just for fun, Smith scored four times on his 33 carries, covering 63, 11, 8 and 44 yards. Smith nearly doubled his season output in one night, reaching 702 stripes and nine scores. The Herd run game has been led by a bullish offensive line that has put up nearly 1,200 yards in just four games.
Andy Shay’s Game Balls
Isaiah Houser, WR, Shippensburg: The Greyhounds speedy and dangerous wideout wrecked a game and had the kind of impact that produces only a winning result. Three catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Houser can do that in any game without any warning or notice. And he caught his TD passes from different quarterbacks. His 70-yard catch-and-run from Zack Manning gave Ship an early 12-0 lead in a 25-22 win over East Pennsboro. His 59-yard reception with 2:57 to play from Tucker Chamberlin was the game winner. Two home run bombs in a tight game was the difference between a W and an L.
Jordan Heisey, QB, Northern: All season Heisey has been a rock for the Polar Bears’ offense. Whatever the ask, He’s provided the answer and the Polar Bears are 5-0 and appear headed for the District 3 Class 4A playoffs. Against Susquehanna Township the offense struggled for three quarters for the first time all season, really. Trailing by eight with only 10 points on the board heading into the final 12 minutes, Heisey delivered big-time in the clutch. Northern scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and Heisey’s short TD run in overtime kept Northern undefeated. He finished 225 total yards (124 passing, 101 rushing) and scored a pair of TD’s on the ground. Clutch in a tight spot.
Patrick Garvey, WR-KR, Boiling Springs: In the crazy world that is 2020 you have a Boiling Springs squad that was 0-10 last year and is now going to the District 3 Class 3A playoffs one season later. All the Bubblers deserve a game ball for going 4-1 overall, but against a Camp Hill pass attack that has very little trouble producing results this season, the Bubblers went out and posted a dominating 35-0 victory. Big plays always change the scope of a game when you run the ground-and-pound Wing-T offense. Garvey hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass (not a running play) and returned a punt 80 yards for another score. Those type of monster plays flip the script on a game in a hurry and that was all the Bubblers defense needed.
Adam Kulikowski Game Balls
Alex Erby, QB, Steel-High: Another week, another dynamic performance from the freshman QB in Roller Town. All Erby did this week was light up the scoreboard with five passing TDs en route to 396 stripes. Oh, and he added sixth on the ground from a yard out for good measure. It’s tough to remember that Erby is a first-year starter at the varsity level.
Caleb Brubaker, DB-WR, Mechanicsburg: Waynesboro quarterback Chance Eyler likely won’t want to hear Caleb Brubaker’s name anytime soon. The twin brother of quarterback Micah played a huge role in disrupting the Indians’ offensive attack. He notched seven tackles and a pair of sacks–including a strip-sack that led to a Wildcats touchdown. Not too shabby.
Calvin Everett, coach, Harrisburg: Tip of the cap to you, sir. There’s not a coach in the state that fights harder for his team and his school. The Cougars and their leader faced adversity throughout this COVID-impacted season–from the initial cancellation of its season to a delayed start to a race to strap the helmets on enough to meet the qualification standards for playoff competition. At the eleventh hour, Everett secured that coveted match-up his team needed to earn a playoff berth. Now, the boys can simply focus on making that playoff run. Watch out, 6A foes.
Michael Bullock’s Game Balls
Bryce Herb, QB-DB, Williams Valley: While Herb tossed three second-half touchdown passes and finished with a mere 96 yards through the air, we’re going to recognize the 6-1 senior for rallying to defeat Tri-Valley 35-28 becoming Williams Valley’s all-time passing leader on his 23-yard strike to Jake Herman. The previous mark, which stood for some 35 years, had been owned by Paul Herb — Bryce’s pops.
Chase Herb, RB-DE, Tri-Valley: The 6-3, 215-pound senior uncorked his typical all-around effort, yet it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs tumbled to Williams Valley 35-28 in a possible District 11 Class A championship game preview. Herb rushed for 105 yards and one score on 21 carries, but also caught touchdown passes covering 33 and 42 yards — the latter materializing from a fake punt.
Cameron Smeltz, WR-OLB, Line Mountain: Smeltz played a lead role on the Eagles’ defensive unit, registering 12 tackles — including eight solos and one for loss — as Brandon Carson’s club rallied to defeat Newport 44-21 and run its winning streak to four games. Smeltz also swiped one pass as Line Mountain claimed the No. 4 seed in the District 4 Class 2A playoffs and set up a scrap this weekend at Southern Columbia.
Jackson Yoder, C-ILB, Williams Valley: Working in tandem with fellow inside linebacker Jesse Engle, Yoder piled up 18 tackles as the Vikings rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit to beat backyard rival Tri-Valley 35-28. Yoder also helped the Williams Valley attack get untracked after the break from his center position, occupying would-be Bulldogs tacklers long enough so Engle could rush for 109 yards and one score.
Derek Gibney, QB, Susquenita: Opportunistic whenever he spotted a crease inside or some space on the flanks, Gibney rushed 10 times for 45 yards and touchdowns covering 3, 7 and 10 yards in Susquenita’s 29-0 conquest of Halifax. The Blackhawks’ QB also threw for 35 yards one touchdown to fellow freshman Bryce McKee. Gibney also had a pair of would-be touchdown passes dropped.