Susquenita's Joshua Harbold (24) caught a touchdown pass and played center for the Blackhawks Friday night. (File photo/Christina Hoy)
Susquenita 20, Newport 16:
Setting the stage: The Blackhawks forced a pair of turnover late in the second half, including a game-saving fumble at the goal line to preserve a 20-16 victory against Newport.
Susquenita coach Scott Acri on the decision to take a safety late in the fourth quarter to make it a four-point game:
“We got sacked [on third-down] and we’re punting from around the 4-yard line. Being up six, I didn’t want to punted it back to [Beno] Nunez. He’s so dangerous. We don’t have a great punter. They were getting close [to blocking the kick] all night. I didn’t want something funky to happen. We took the safety and gave them the ball with a little less than two minutes. We were playing a chess match.”
On Newport’s ability to move the ball downfield in their final drive:
“I thought they were going to go at us through the air, but with [QB Elijah York] out, [Sean] Taylor was better with his legs and [RB Ethan] Rode was running all night. They went with the power game and that caught us off guard a little bit, and we had to adjust. Their offensive line was dominating us late in the game. We were really gassed. They were chunking down the field, playing the clock. They were in complete control of that game, knowing exactly what they wanted to do. A third-and-7, they completed to Nunez [to keep the drive alive]. Then went right back to Rode. It was first-and-goal from the 6 and they got 3 yards. They went hurry-up and went right back to him. It was literally on the 1 or 2-yard line [when Rode fumbled].
"Our kids, credit to them, they made a play. And we were fortunate to get it. It was an exciting game. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen that way. But we made a play in a tight situation.”
On the play of senior captain Joshua Harbold, who moved from tight end to center midway through the game due to an injury to Dan Criley:
“He had our second touchdown catch at tight end. When the injury happened, he had to switch jerseys and move to center. He was huge in his snaps. We work so much out of the gun, and none of his snaps were bad. He faced a really good defensive front and did a great job.”
On the rivalry between Newport and Susquenita:
“That’s the kind of backyard Perry County rivalry that we love. They beat us three years in a row since we entered the Tri-Valley League, but the records are thrown out of the window. Neither of us will qualify for districts, so it was about county bragging rights. Two really good football teams that are battling injuries."
On the significance of this victory for the Blackhawks:
“I was just so proud of their effort. Kids stepped up and played minutes they haven’t all year. It was another signature win, I know people don’t realize that. But it got us to 4-5 and an outside chance of finishing .500, which is all we could ask for after our three-game skid. We got the injury bug and we battled back and should finish with a respectable season. It’s a statement to what we built. We could have folded and quit. We were losing twice, scored with one second left in the half. Every time this year when we could have went away when adversity hit, we didn’t. We rose together and fought together.”
Waynesboro 43, West Perry 40:
Setting the stage: Waynesboro improved to 5-4 Friday night, holding off a second-half surge from the Mustangs. It was the second straight win for the Indians, who will end the regular season against Northern York.
Waynesboro coach Steven Myers on the play of his team this year:
“We’re two extra points from being 7-2 right now between the Mifflin County (33-27 OT) and Shippensburg (28-20 OT) losses. We’ve had a good year. It was great Friday night to finally win a close one after two heartbreakers where we lost in overtime.
"We’re really turning it on in recent weeks and figured out some things in the offense to get it clicking. It’s a long 10 weeks, it’s been up and down — win, lose, win, lose. It’d be nice to finish on a little streak.”
On the performance of Quintin Gaskill and Jay Alverez:
“Quintin and Jay both played great games offensively. Quintin was running the ball hard and breaking tackles. Jay was on target and with his legs, he made a couple good plays there as well. The offensive line doesn’t get enough credit, but the holes were pretty big all night. John had a huge catch down the field. We were able to exploit things down field and run the ball well.
"Jay has been big, first time playing quarterback. The last couple weeks he’s been very good. Quintin, at the start of the season, he might have been a better wide receiver, but we put him at running back. And the last few weeks he’s become an excellent runner. Better vision, better running hard. They are both hitting their stride as we as a team have been able to offensively. Of course, up front the five guys blocking start it all — Caleb Ellis, Ethan Saunders, Gunner Lesher, Xavier Rhyne, Brandon Trujillo.”
Boiling Springs 56, Steel-High 55 (OT)
Setting the stage: The Bubblers went toe-to-toe with the high-powered offensive attack of the Rollers Friday night to notch the team’s third win of the season. Boiling Springs capped the victory by converting a two-point conversion in the first overtime period to seal the win.
Boiling Springs coach Brad Zell on the team’s game plan entering the matchup:
“We thought we could run the ball and we needed to run it. When you play a team like Steel-High that can score at the drop of a hat, we knew we needed to run the ball and control the clock and keep the ball. We blocked things correctly and we worked on things all week. It paid off. As we ran the ball, they had to adjust, and the pass game opened up and it turned into a track meet.”
On the turning point in the game:
“I thought it would have been in the first half, when we got an interception and ran it back [for a touchdown], but a penalty canceled it out — that would have put us up 27-0. I thought that would have been a turning point. But that didn’t happen. The point was when they came back to tie it, we came back and scored again.
"We have had a difficult time overcoming the mental hurdles. We’re still fighting those battles from years past. So when they tied it up and we scored again, I think that was the turning point of us. We aren’t the team of the past. We can play with people.”
On his decision to go for a game-winning two-point conversion in overtime after Boiling Springs answered a Roller’s touchdown:
“I made that decision way before we got to it. I knew when we chose to be on defense first in overtime that if they scored and kicked the extra point, that we would go for two. For our kids, that was really important. For everyone watching, that was important. I think it goes back to a lot of the things these kids have been through in the last couple years. Everyone has counted them out. They deserved a win there. After being at [Cumberland Valley] for a seven-overtime game (in the District 3 Class 4A championship against Central Dauphin) a few years ago, I believed in our kids to end it. I thought we could get a couple yards.”
On the team’s accomplishments in 2018:
“I’ve talked a lot to the boys about what they have accomplished, and they have accomplished a lot. The wins and losses — in a perfect world, wanted more wins. We were in a lot of those games and played tough into the fourth quarter. Took some people down to the wire. A lot of that is a mental battle. I think we accomplished more than I anticipated, especially coming in in mid-May. The players have bought in. The community has bought in. They’ve given all they’ve got. I couldn’t ask for more. Playing the way we did against Steel-High really shows their character.”
By 4th Down staff:
Welcome to 4th Down Magazine's vote for the Week 9 Player of the Week presented by Crown Trophy in Lemoyne.
The nominees for the week are listed below in alphabetical order. Vote for the player with the most impressive performance.
The poll will remain open until Tuesday evening at 11 p.m. The winner will be announced on Wednesday and presented with a plaque created by Crown Trophy.
Jay Alvarez, QB, Waynesboro: The Indians effectively knocked off West Perry from the Mid-Penn Colonial race, beating West Perry 43-40 behind a four-score performance from Alvarez. He finished 5-of-8 for 145 passing yards (and 2 INTs) and added 69 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Adam Burkhart, RB-LB, Central Dauphin: The Rams’ workhorse two-way stud had another big game, scoring four times in a 35-14 win at Chambersburg. Burkhart found the end zone on two 1-yard runs and two receptions (22 and 47 yards). Finished with 136 rushing yards (16 carries), 69 receiving yards and eight tackles.
Broc Grosser, WR-S, Halifax: Grosser did a lot to keep the Wildcats in a game they’d lose at the last second, 16-14 to Williams Valley. He recorded 14 tackles and a pass break-up on defense, plus caught five balls for 76 yards and Halifax’s first TD on a 24-yard grab.
Adam Houser, RB-DB, Shippensburg: The Greyhounds took further control of the Mid-Penn Colonial behind a 200-yard, three-score night from the dynamic senior. Houser broke of TD runs of 66, 29 and 6 yards in a 37-0 win at Red Land. He shredded the Patriots for 278 yards on 27 carries.
Tayven Kelley, WR-DB, Boiling Springs: It was ultimately Zack VonStein’s QB sneak and two-point conversion pass that won the game in OT, but the Bubblers don’t beat Steel-High 56-55 without Kelley. The senior had four TDs (runs of 3, 2 and 59 yards, and a 25-yard grab), caught two balls for 32 yards and ran 20 times for 155 yards.
Jose Lopez, RB-LB, Middletown: Sure, his two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter of a 28-0 win over East Pennsboro, but they were important scores to salt the game away. Lopez slashed the Panthers for 221 stripes on 25 carries and a pair of TDs (54 and 28 yards).
Tyler McGrath, WR-DB, Tri-Valley: The junior corner swiped two passes in the Bulldogs’ 27-14 victory at Line Mountain. McGrath’s first pick stunted a late first-half drive as Line Mountain was nearing the red zone, but the second came in the final minute when he picked off a pass and returned it 26 yards for a score that sealed the Bulldogs’ first road win. Also posted four tackles.
Jaheim Morris, RB, Cedar Cliff: The Colts’ junior ran with purpose in a 30-0 whitewash at Susquehanna Township, carrying would-be Indians tacklers for 206 yards on 21 carries. He scored twice to put the game out of reach: a 78-yard run up the middle, and a 27-yard reception.
Bo Raho, WR, Williams Valley: Give it up for the diminutive Raho, who skied for the 43-yard, game-winning Hail Mary pass as time expired to stun Halifax 16-14. Raho came away with 89 receiving yards on five receptions to keep the Vikings in the TVL hunt.
Nicari Williams, QB, Steel-High: In a bonkers 56-55 game the Rollers didn’t win against Bubbletown, Williams deserves all the props in the world for accounting for all eight (EIGHT!) SH scores to lead a furious comeback. Williams finished 16-of-30 passing for 424 yards and five TDs, then ran 16 times for 76 yards and three TDs.
Williams Valley scored on a Hail Mary recpetion as the final seconds ticked away Friday night. But was there offensive pass interference that was not called on the play? (Christina Hoy/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
Cedar Cliff is a victory over West Shore School District rival Red Land away from claiming the outright Mid-Penn Keystone Division title.
The Colts’ impressive domination of red-hot Susquehanna Township was surprisingly lopsided. RB Jaheim Morris torched the Indians defense for 205 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown to spearhead a 30-0 victory.
Cliff’s defense not only posted its second shutout of the season, the Colts D limited ‘Hanna to fewer than 150 total yards. A powerful running game and steady defense is a pretty good playoff recipe for success.
There are still postseason possibilities for the Indians, but on the heels of a six-game winning streak this was not a good look in a big game.
Boiling Springs’ gutsy one-point overtime victory over Steel-High featured 111 points, nearly 1,100 yards of total offense and the losing quarterback throwing for more than 400 yards.
The Bubblers, who led 20-0 at one point, had the ball last in overtime and went for two to win it. Why not, right? QB Zack Vonstein hit TE Mike Wagner with the decisive pass that secured an upset victory.
Watching Williams Valley execute in the final minute to shock previously unbeaten Halifax on a desperation Hail Mary pass on the final play is my No. 1 moment of this season.
The somewhat improbable 16-14 victory, courtesy of Bo Raho’s 43-yard catch in traffic from Levi Engle, was the best football game I’ve seen in two seasons.
But some of the shine of that moment was erased when I watched the video we posted on Twitter.
Williams Valley stuns Halifax with a last-second Hail Mary reception from 42 yards out by Bo Raho. Final Williams Valley 16-14 over Halifax pic.twitter.com/9ziNxO9n75— 4th Down Magazine (@4thDownMag) October 20, 2018
It was an extremely poorly officiated contest for such a high-quality game across the board.
And the video of the final play shows clear-cut offensive pass interference by Vikings WR Jayden Cruz against Halifax safety Broc Grosser with the ball coming down.
I wasn’t a fan of the intent. Cruz pancaked Grosser just as he went up to make a play on the ball.
And it was textbook offensive pass interference that any respectable official on the back end who wasn’t watching the ball but doing his job would have clearly seen.
Still, that throw and catch in the final seconds was pure football magic. The block tarnishes it a little, though.
Anyway, the result of that game means the Tri-Valley League is a three-team title chase between Halifax, Upper Dauphin and Williams Valley. UDA and Halifax each are 7-1 in the TVL and the defending champion Vikings are 6-2.
Week 10 will decide it all.
What the East Pennsboro defense has done lately is flat-out impressive. The Panthers limited Steel-High to three touchdowns last week in a one-point victory, and despite losing to Middletown, held the powerful Blue Raiders in check.
The Panthers D didn’t surrender a touchdown until the fourth quarter of the 28-0 setback. Both of Middletown’s touchdowns in the first half came courtesy of its defense.
QUICK HITS: Central Dauphin under coach Glen McNamee has historically responded well the week following a loss. And the Rams did it again by going to Chambersburg and dominating the first half against the Trojans. … Shippensburg has a good chance at winning at least a share of the Crazy Colonial title after posting its second consecutive shutout victory. West Perry’s wild comeback bid against Waynesboro fell short, leaving Greyhounds and Mifflin County atop the division with one division loss each. … Good to see Lower Dauphin’s offense light it up with 42 points and more than 300 yards against Hershey. The Falcons, led by 166 yards and three touchdowns from RB’s Gannon Ulrey and Isaac Buck, led 35-12 at intermission. … Palmyra escaped near disaster by rallying late to edge winless Trinity by a point. Missing QB Grant Haus really impacts this team. … Pretty clear Cumberland Valley has found its mojo. After six losses to open the season, the Eagles, who still have a shot at the postseason, made it three wins in a row by drubbing CD East 48-17. It was the final score that jumps out to me.
By 4th Down Magazine:
Hunter Campbell came up with the biggest tackle of his career Friday, and for that, East Pennsboro fans voted him our Week 8 Player of the Week.