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.
Chase Diehl (File Photo-Vicki Vellios)
By Andy Shay:
1. Bringing out the big guns
I’d like to get a few Bishop McDevitt offensive numbers out of the way before the Crusaders embark on the less competitive portion of its 2018 Keystone Division schedule. Quarterback Chase Diehl has already thrown for 1,091 yards and is completing 68 percent of his passes. He’s averaging better than 350 yards a game. WR Nazir Burnett, a Syracuse verbal commitment, has 27 catches for 615 yards with nine touchdowns. He’s averaging 205 yards a game and nearly 23 yards a catch. T’nyis Becker has nearly 600 yards of total offense on 30 carries and 14 receptions. The dual threat is good for 8.7 yards per carry and 22.9 yards per catch with eight total touchdowns. That’s against Cumberland Valley, Gettysburg and Middletown. Those are some ridiculous numbers across the board.
2. Let’s see what WP has in store
I’m crossing off one of my must-see teams I shared with you last week. Friday night I’m headed to Elliottsburg and one of my Top 5 stadiums in the area to see West Perry tangle with Greencastle-Antrim. I’m curious to see if the 3-0 Mustangs are actually better overall or simply a by-product of a very favorable early schedule. I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing Terrance Quaker and Kenyon Johnson do what they do. And I think the Blue Devils are a more than fair test. Chicken corn soup at the Mustang Corral is top shelf, too. Just saying.
3. When tough schedule bites back
When I see teams schedule up and take on anybody and everybody, I so love that mentality. But when it goes south, like in the case of Cumberland Valley this year, I become more of a believer in having a one-game breather in there instead of hammer after hammer. I know that’s kind of talking out both sides of my mouth. But the Eagles are struggling, and in the first month they have played Bishop McDevitt, Coatesville, Central York and travel to Central Dauphin on Friday. That’s simply frightening, especially when you are struggling. Speaking of the Rams from CD, they have played Wilson, Berks Catholic, Manheim Township. No wonder they are all beat up. Three of those teams either won or played for a District 3 crown in 2017.
4. Bubblers no longer easy out
Congratulations to the Boiling Springs Bubblers for ending that wretched 24-game losing streak. You could see a win coming for this squad based on the first eight quarters this season. It wasn’t a matter of if they would win, just a matter of when. That was not the case in 2016 or 2017, when huge losses were not really a big surprise. The Mid-Penn Capital Division hasn’t exactly been a picnic these last two years. And maybe the Bubblers don’t win a division game in 2018. But I’m fairly certain they aren’t the “count that game as a win” team this year, either. The streak is ONE!
5. Commonwealth questions will get answers
We are going to learn a lot about a couple of surprise 3-0 Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division squads this week. Carlisle and Chambersburg, based on 12 quarters of 2018, have potentially added more bulk and grit to the Commonwealth Division. I say potentially because I need a little more meat on the bone to say the division is even deeper than expected. Carlisle travels to State College, and with the Little Lions loaded for a strong run at state gold, that’s not a fair measuring stick. If the Thundering Herd compete and don’t get rolled that’s good enough for me. Chambersburg travels to unknown Altoona, and it would seem the Trojans have the pieces to win this game. The Mountain Lions are the Commonwealth mystery team. This game will tell us a lot about the lower half of the division in my opinion.
6. Big week for several schools
Just my opinion, but I think wins by the following teams this week will viewed as key victories when they look back at the 2018 season: Hershey, Susquehanna Township, Cedar Cliff, Chambersburg, West Perry and Big Spring. Let’s see how many I get right.
By 4th Down Staff:
Each week during the 2018 high school football season, each member of our team--and those working behind the scenes as well at 4th Down Magazine--will pass out game balls to top performers.
Players will earn a point per game ball they receive during the season. The top earner will receive an award at the end of the season from our crew.
Fourth Down Game Balls
Kane Everson, QB, Harrisburg: The Cougars will enter the always dicey Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division schedule on a high note after blasting Cedar Cliff 46-13 Saturday. More good news is Everson will be fresh off the most complete performance of his career. The southpaw was simply unstoppable at Severance, chewing up yardage on the ground and through the air. Here’s the proof. Everson connected on 16 of 19 pass attempts for 349 yards and four touchdowns. After misfiring on his first attempt, Everson connected on 12 straight passes as Harrisburg built a commanding 34-0 halftime edge. On the ground, Everson slashed through the Colts for 109 stripes and two long TD keepers.
Joshua Parra, WR-DB, Milton Hershey: The Spartans certainly have a few home run hitters on both sides of the football. The question, however, was where the production would surface beyond the Spartans’ notable run game. Well, Parra and Milton Hershey’s defense answered the bell against Hershey Friday in the annual Cocoa Bean Bowl. At Henry Hershey Field, Parra chipped in a pair of interception returns for touchdowns, stretching 54 and 60 yards, in MHS’s 35-7 victory. That’s a rare double-up and certainly a shot of adrenaline for the Spartans heading into the Capital Division schedule. For good measure, the WR-DB caught four passes for 57 yards.
Russ Amick, RB, and Austin Kenny, RB-OLB, Susquenita: It’s most difficult splitting a football in half, but we have no choice in this circumstance. You might have noticed the Blackhawks earned a win Friday over Juniata, which kept Indians coach Gary Klingensmith from reaching 300 career wins for the third straight week. To blame is Amick, a sophomore, and Kenny, a freshman, who each barreled past 100 rushing yards in Susquenita’s 28-14 edge. Amick rushed 20 times for 121 and two scores. Kenny carried 16 times for 138 stripes and two scores. That’s good stuff from the young guns.
Jake Adams Game Balls
Kyle Swartz, RB, Northern: The most impressive player on the field Friday night in the 32-6 win at Mechanicsburg. The third-year starting back looks bigger and stronger and made a couple bruising runs. It was a weird night, though. Mechanicsburg sent extra blitzers a lot, even on clear running downs, selling out to stop Swartz and shifty Polar Bears QB Chris Barrett (who also had 100 yards rushing) at all costs. The Wildcats (0-3) had an advantage against an undersized and inexperienced interior Northern (2-1) o-line, with the center routinely blasted 5 yards back. So Swartz, who had 120 yards and three scores in the win, was bottled up several times. But when he was able to get to the second level he made the most of it. He nearly doubled his rushing yards for the season.
Boiling Springs Bubblers: A team effort to snap a 24-game losing streak means the entire team deserves credit. Cumberland Valley disciple Brad Zell now firmly has the Bubblers (1-2) believing after a two straight years of futility. Bubbletown is still several pieces away from completing a rebuild, but beating Big Spring 34-19 at home will jumpstart the process and complete the buy-in phase of the process. This Wing-T is far from flashy, but if Quentin Jones can run for 100 yards and a score and the offense can push back the Bulldogs (2-1) for more than 300 rushing yards, it certainly is effective. At this point in the season, I can see wins over Trinity and Camp Hill coming, and the Week 10 game against East Pennsboro could be intriguing. Now the goal doesn’t just becoming getting one win, it’s about getting multiple.
Keyshawn Jones, RB, Chambersburg: 4DM gave Jones a game ball last week, but I want to follow up this time with the Trojans 3-0 and readying for Altoona in Week 4. The Trojans could be 4-0 by this time next week, and I’m starting to wonder how close the Cumberland Valley game two weeks from now will be. Jones has produced every week this season, averaging two touchdowns, 14 carries and 152.7 yards per game on the ground. That’s double-digit yards per touch as well. Add in his 102 receiving yards, and one of the breakout weapons of the season is averaging 186.7 offensive yards a contest. He had 12 carries for 179 yards and two TDs in the 28-19 win over Red Lion.
Andy Shay Game Balls
Joey Corado, P, Hershey: I know the Trojans gave up all the big plays and fell to Milton Hershey. Still a stud job by a punter that resembles a big-time college or NFL line gets a game ball from me. Corado, a sophomore, punted five times for Hershey and averaged a stellar 45 yards per punt including a pair downed inside the 20-yard line. Those are most definitely not average high school numbers. With those numbers and more than two years remaining, Corado is officially on our potential stud punter radar.
Nazir Burnett, WR, Bishop McDevitt: The Syracuse commit is most visible in the biggest of games, and the victory over Middletown was no different. Burnett finished with nine catches, four of those went for touchdowns, and 223 receiving yards against Middletown. His touchdown grabs covered 38, 9, 32 and 33 yards. The smooth-handed wideout has to be double covered, at the very least, otherwise he will torch you. In big games you want your No. 1 weapon in the passing game to come up big. Burnett did exactly that.
Terrance Quaker, RB-DB-KR, West Perry: There is a legitimate debate about the competition West Perry has faced in 2018. And I fully agree that can be debated. But when you hang 50 on everybody, there’s a pattern that’s developing where what you can control, you are dominating. And that’s the Mustangs and Quaker. In a comfortable win over Camp Hill, the do-everything weapon totaled 130 yards rushing on four carries with a couple touchdowns. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, he added a 22-yard touchdown catch, returned an interception 85 yards for a score and took a punt back 38 yards for yet another touchdown. That’s five touchdowns in three phases of the game. That’s a Hall of Fame Game Ball right there.
Micheal Bullock Game Balls
Broc Grosser, WR/S, Halifax: All over the field in Halifax’s 37-7 victory, the Wildcats were trailing Line Mountain late in the first half until Grosser returned the first of his two picks 51 yards for a game-tying score. Grosser, who finished with seven stops and assisted on an eighth, added a second pick before the break that enabled Earl Mosley’s club to take a 10-7 halftime lead. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior also caught two passes for 62 yards — including a 50-yard TD reception — and rushed three times for 14 yards for the 3-0 Wildcats.
Macklin Ayers, QB/LB, Upper Dauphin: Directing an attack that rolled up more than 700 yards of total offense, Ayers completed 8 of 16 passes for 259 yards and a pair of scores in UD’s 74-56 triumph over Millersburg. Ayers tossed a 52-yard TD pass to Zach Rupp in the opening quarter, then capped the first half by hooking up with Dalton Boyer from 43 yards out as the Trojans carried a 41-24 lead into the halftime break. Ayers added a 4-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Levi Engle, QB-DB, and Nick Savage, RB-LB-DE, Williams Valley: Already a fixture after just three weeks, Engle threw just nine times in the Vikings’ 47-21 victory over rival Tri-Valley yet completed seven for 128 yards and four touchdowns. All of Engle’s TD passes arrived in the first half — a 44-yarder to Nick Savage, a 25-yarder to Jayden Cruz and dishes of 10 and 18 yards to younger brother, Jesse — as Tim Savage’s club opened a 40-7 lead. Engle’s effort also allowed him to break Williams Valley’s career record for touchdown passes previously held by Stephen Sedesse (45). Engle is at 48 heading into a Week 4 clash with Susquenita. Engle also recorded his third interception in as many games — he has 12 for his career — returning it 68 yards. Savage, meanwhile, rolled up 119 yards rushing on just 11 attempts and scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards. Savage also opened the scoring for Tim Savage’s bunch, the 5-9, 180-pounder catching a 44-yard touchdown pass from Levi Engle for his lone reception.
Colin Luckenbill, RB, Pine Grove: Luckenbill had another productive outing in Pine Grove’s 33-14 triumph over Newport, rushing 18 times for 152 yards and one touchdown. Luckenbill cashed in from 53 yards out with 2:04 gone in the fourth quarter, upping the Cardinals’ lead to 27-14 as Frank Gaffney’s squad (3-0, 2-0) remained unbeaten.
Harrisburg quarterback Kane Everson dominated Cedar Cliff Saturday at Severance Field with his arm and his legs. (Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
Good Sunday morning. Each week we’ll present to you some thoughts and observations from the week that was in Mid-Penn Conference and Tri-Valley League football.