Newport running back Ethan Rode. (File photo/Christina Hoy-4th Down)
Susquehanna Township 42, Hershey 0:
Susquehanna Township coach Joe Headen on achieving his 100th career victory as a head coach Friday:
“I honestly believe that it is a testament to the program and everyone that has been in the program with us now for 16-17 years. After the game the other day, most of my staff has been around for a lot of it. … My defensive coordinator and one of my assistant coaches were on the first team I ever had. And the funny story behind that was we were sitting in the coach’s office on Friday and Brock Ward goes, ‘Well coach, I could say that I was a part of the first two victories. Then we lost the next eight.’ The first two weeks, they thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. Then after that, oh my gosh, it was a long season. I’m lucky to be at a place here for a long time. … I try not to keep track of these things, but this group of seniors, they kept reminding me. And I think it was important for them. They really wanted that under their time. … I always tell the kids, ‘It’s about the process, not the prize. If you respect the process, the prize will come.’ In the moment, we just want to get better. At the end of the night, it was super exciting and the kids were just as excited if not more than me.”
On the state of the Indians at the halfway point of the season:
“Starting out with Manheim Central, who I think is the best 5A team, and then having to go play a very good Milton Hershey team who I honestly tell the kids we were one play away from only having one loss. We were one play away from being 4-1. We fumbled the ball in that game; it was 8-7 and it was tough conditions. Milton is a good team. When they got off the bus, I could see them on tape — but I was like, ‘Whoa, they have size, speed. They are legit.’ That was a hard-fought game. All we had to do was punt the ball, and we fumbled and they get the short field and score. It was huge. We go to Huntingdon who is Top 10 in 3A — a two-hour bus ride. I’m concerned, but since then, they honed in. We’ve been practicing well and we’re going to be good.”
We have to stay focused and do what we do. It’s about us.
On breakout players Shawn Washington, Taemon McKoy and Troy Ambush:
Shawn Washington: “At outside linebacker has been a pleasant surprise in that he’s worked hard to get where he’s at from where he was last year. … He understands the game better and has become a student of the film. He’s gotten stronger and is probably one of the smartest football players in the X’s and O’s, and that’s improved his play.”
Jequest Garced: “He’s trying to lead. He’s doing the little things to help us be successful.”
Troy Ambush: “He goes from safety to defensive line to running back and he has adjusted to everything we’ve given him.”
Halifax 41, Newport 19:
Setting the stage: Newport running back Ethan Rode broke the 2,000 career rushing yards mark with 108 yards on 17 carries in the Buffaloes 41-19 loss to Halifax on Friday night. The junior is within striking distance of the school record of 3,292 career rushing yards set by Dalton Klinger in 2015.
Newport coach Todd Rothermel on junior running back Ethan Rode breaking 2,000 career rushing yards:
“I view Ethan as a tough, hard-nosed kid that is able to get the tough yards between the tackles. He is not a kid that has blazing speed but is tough, has good vision and understands the schemes helping him understand where he has to run. He is very coachable and is a team player. I’m sure he just wants to do his part to win. He was voted a team captain and is trying to be the best leader he can be. He works hard and is pretty quiet leading more by example.”
Ethan Rode on the accomplishment:
“I didn’t really know until the night before. Luke Roman [the team statistician] told us. I was within 102 yards. I just wanted to get it this game and keep on the grind the rest of this season and next and see if I can set a school record maybe. … I knew I was within 10 yards. Coach gave me the ball and I got 9. And I got it again and I heard over the loudspeaker that I crossed it. … It was a full-back dive. … I was pushing a couple people to get the yards that I needed. I think it’s an amazing accomplishment, but not one that I could ever do without the help of my linemen last year and this year.”
On what he improved on in the offseason:
“I knew I needed to work on my speed and agility. I’m not the quickest guy. But I’m the type of kid that wants to hit someone, so I worked on my speed and cutting abilities. … I feel like I’ve gotten faster and stronger.”
Mifflin Country 26, Shippensburg 22:
Setting the stage: Mifflin County entered Friday night’s contest winless on the season while Shippensburg had not lost after four games.
Huskies coach Scott Sechler on getting the win and knocking off the Greyhounds:
“We’ve been real close these last few games to getting wins, and you get tired of hearing about the proverbial moral victories and the moving-in-the-right-direction talk. It’s time to get the real W’s. We thought we had a good game plan coming in. They are a good team and well-coached — very disciplined. The plan was to shut down the run game and force them to throw the ball and offensively to ground and pound — get first downs and control the clock. It was great for the kids to win, but to beat a team as good as Shippensburg, it was the cherry on top.”
On the Huskies’ strategy to shut down Adam Houser:
“We knew he was elusive. One thing we were focused on was trying to keep him inside. We wanted to force him inside where we had a lot of help. I think we had great contain on the edge, forcing him back in. We had tremendous play from our safety [Shane Herbertson] — he came up and made some nice open-field tackles that saved some big runs. [Houser] could easily have broken quite a few runs. When you break them down statistically, they are about 85-percent run. We figured if they are going to beat us, it will be through the air. It was a great team win.”
Key moments in the final quarter including a roughing the kicker call late in the fourth on Shippensburg that allowed the Huskies to keep possession of the ball and run out the clock:
“We were able to control the clock and run the ball. We gave up a few big plays — we knew they had that potential. But we had a short memory. We got a lucky break with a roughing the kicker call late in the game. I watched it on film and he did run into him. It wasn’t a bogus call. It was a good break for us and gave us some good field position. We were able to get a couple first downs and run the clock out.”
1. Biggest midseason surprise is …
As we crash into the halfway point of the regular season this week, the contenders and pretenders are coming into much clearer focus. With that in mind, which of the following is the bigger surprise in the MPC Commonwealth Division: Chambersburg 4-0 or Cumberland Valley 0-4? After 26 years of covering high school football, I’ve never experienced a winless and struggling-to-compete team at CV. All I know is HS football is less fun when the Eagles are winless after a month. The bigger surprise in my book is Chambersburg. That win over Red Lion carries a little more weight as the season unfolds, and going to Mansion Park and rolling Altoona is a quality win. And if the Trojans can get to 6-4 with their remaining schedule they could be a playoff team. It’s a real possibility and that’s why the Trojans stand out.
2. Everson on another level
Is there a quarterback in the state who has better numbers the last two weeks than Harrisburg’s Kane Everson? The senior has accounted for 750 total yards the last eight quarters with 11 touchdowns. He’s completed 81 percent of his 32 throws for 587 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s rushed 19 times for 163 yards (8.6 yards per carry) with another couple touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, but who cares with those kind of numbers? Cougars have Cumberland Valley this week and will be looking to throw another 40-spot on the board.
3. Colonial stepping up early
I tip my cap to the Colonial Division. I’ve always been consistent throwing a little shade their way when they dropped the ball when it came to coming up short during the non-conference phase of the season. Well, as we approach Week 5, the seven squads in the MPC Colonial own a combined 17-11 record. Well done! Two teams, Shippensburg and West Perry, are unbeaten. Mifflin County is the only club with a sub-.500 record overall.
4. Big games for both squads
The five most important games I see on the docket this week in terms of both clubs have lots of reasons to need a victory are Altoona at CD East, Susquehanna Township at Hershey, Lower Dauphin at Red Land, Northern at Greencastle-Antrim and Big Spring at Waynesboro.
5. Down (times) at the shore
Did somebody throw some bad mojo to the West Shore or something? East Pennsboro, Trinity, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Cedar Cliff and Red Land are a combined 3-21 this season with four of those six looking for victory No. 1. I’m just asking the question. It’s very odd for all of these teams to be struggling at the same time. At least two of these programs make some serious noise each year. Not this season, it seems.
6. Extremely random observations from the first month:
Attendance everywhere is way down and it baffles me because the weather has been good; I’ve seen more poor tackling than good tacking; snack bars at some (not all) stadiums are starting to get greedy with their prices; the free game programs at West Perry are a nice touch; Bishop McDevitt and Harrisburg are even more dangerous than I imagined; Middletown getting spanked by McDevitt is a really good thing, I’m surprised Trinity and Camp Hill aren’t competitive; I have a football man crush on Shippensburg’s Adam Houser because you know he’s getting 75 percent of the touches and still can’t be stopped; and, finally, two weeks straight ordering and paying for a hot sausage and getting a regular hot dog is annoying as a fan.
West Perry running back Terrance Quaker and his teammates are rolling after a decisive victory against Greencastle-Antrim Friday night. (Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
There are a few Week 4 results that caught my full attention. At the top of that list is Harrisburg planting CD East 42-0 in a game that was over after 24 minutes.