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Thursday, February 29, 2024

High School Football: Saturday Morning QB: Wyomissing stuns Trinity; CD notches impressive victory against Coatesville; running game powers Hershey; and Keith Oates III fuels last-second victory for East Pennsboro

Sure this type of loss by Trinity is going to sting. The Shamrocks, a Class 2A squad, had the king of Class 3A, Wyomissing, on the ropes in the second half Friday night at COBO Field.

The T-Rocks led by 20 midway through the third quarter before going quiet offensively, and slowly the powerful Spartans and that Wing-T offense went to work.

A touchdown inside the final 15 seconds on, of all things, a pass from QB Logan Hyde to Justice Hardy from the 2-yard line, vaulted Wyomissing to a 35-34 victory. Yeah that will cut pretty deep.

However, Trinity now knows it can play on a big-boy field with an elite team, and that will serve them well moving forward. Winning would have been an upset and the icing on the cake. Showing you belong under the bright lights with Wyomissing is the hidden value proposition here.

Sure, Trinity blocked two punts for touchdowns. And running back Messiah Mickens broke free early for an 85-yard touchdown early in the first quarter to account for 21 of the T-Rocks’ 34 points. Bottom line is they are capable of playing at the next level.

Mickens came away from that early long run a little hobbled and didn’t play the remainder of the first half. He came back for the second half but was clearly not 100%.

Wyomissing is very good. It demands your very best. And 48 minutes is a lot of clock against a team at that level.

Central Dauphin dominates Coatesville at The Speedway

Central Dauphin is fully prepared for its slate of Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division games after going 2-1 against a trio of quality non-conference opponents — Central York, Wilson and Coatesville.

The previously undefeated and No. 8-ranked Red Raiders from District 1 had no say in the outcome at The Speedway Friday night. The Rams played a complete game and dominated Coatesville pretty much from start to finish.

More than anything, Central Dauphin looked football fast. Coatesville has a wealth of talent, speed and size to play with most opponents. On this night the Red Raiders were cooked by the latter stages of the third quarter when CD went up 35-7 on its way to a comfortable three-touchdown victory.

CD’s defense was a work in progress through eight quarters. That jump you hear coaches talk about? It was evident that it took place for the Rams’ unit in Week 3.

It wasn’t a given Central Dauphin would win any of these opening three games. The Rams had plenty of questions heading into this season after a well-below-standards 2022 campaign. Two wins provides some answers. It wasn’t just that CD dispatched Coatesville, it’s the manner in which the Rams did it.

Hershey’s Angel Cabrera powers Trojans past Dallastown

Hershey is 3-0 after dispatching Dallastown at The Concrete Palace behind a bullish running game powered by 230-pound running back/linebacker Angel Cabrera. There’s an old-school feel to the way Cabrera runs the rock, but what stood out in the 35-19 victory over the Wildcats Friday night was the Trojans’ offensive line.

This isn’t your standard modern zone blocking offensive line, either. Sure there’s some zone read mixed in, but the way this group absolutely took over this game was with a combination of counter trey’s — where the guard and tackle from the opposite side of the run pull and lead the play off tackle — and old fashioned traps inside the tackles.

Hershey did enjoy a decided size advantage up front against Dallastown, but it almost didn’t matter how well they executed their blocks in space. 

Dallastown hit some big plays to keep it close most of the way, and the Wildcats also had a crucial touchdown on a kickoff return called back, but overall the Trojans are 3-0 behind an offense that has already scored 106 points. Tougher tests are coming down the pipe, but when your bread is buttered by a workhorse back and an offensive line that is executing at another level, you will be in plenty of games.

Last-second heroics lift Panthers past Milton Hershey

East Pennsboro is making a strong case as a team to be wary of in the Colonial Division. The Panthers are 3-0 after coming from behind to edge previously unbeaten Milton Hershey with a touchdown inside the final minute.

This was a dead even matchup all the way, and it was clear neither team was going to knock the other off its mark. The Panthers never led until QB Keith Oates III scored from 9 yards out with 29 seconds showing on the clock. Oates was the catalyst, throwing for 254 yards on only 12 completions.

Chasing the Spartans all game after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter can be exhausting. Milton Hershey can press the gas when ahead. But midway through the final quarter, the Panthers pulled to within 28-27 with a JJ Gossard short touchdown run, then missed the extra point. Those are gut punches to most teams. Undaunted, they came up with a stop on defense and drove 70-plus yards down the field to enter Mid-Penn action unscathed.

Third down was the ultimate difference maker on the scoreboard. The Panthers converted at a 64% clip (7 for 11), while the Spartans were just 5 for 15 on third and fourth down combined.

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