By Andy Shay:
All Mechanicsburg can do is wait and see what the numbers say in terms of earning a District 3 Class 5A playoff berth.
The undefeated Wildcats took care of what they can control by using a lights out effort from their defense to overwhelm once-beaten Waynesboro Friday night at John H. Frederick Field.
Mechanicsburg’s defense used a strip-sack to force a turnover that led to a touchdown and James Anderson had a pick-six to set the tone for a comfortable 35-7 Colonial Division victory over the Indians.
“Our defense has been playing great all year,” said Wildcats defensive back Caleb Brubaker, who had the strip-sack early in the second quarter that was recovered by defensive Tyree Morris at the Waynesboro 14-yard-line. “We’ve been doing a great job of creating turnovers and getting our offense back on the field.”
Mechanicsburg’s offense was functional, but a step behind its normal high-octane self. The Wildcats’ first touchdown came on a short field after a nine-yard punt by the Indians. The defense set up the second score and Anderson made it 21-0 at halftime with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“The offense struggled a little bit early, but defense came out and set the tone,” said Brubaker, who blitzed from all over the field and along with Morris made life miserable for the Indians’ Wing-T offense. “Defense took control tonight and let the offense know it was our time to have their backs and make a difference.”
The Wildcats’ offense powered by quarterback Micah Brubaker found another gear after halftime and put 14 quick points on the board to make it 35-0 before the midway point of the third quarter.
Micah Brubaker, who finished with 232 total yards and had a say in all four offensive touchdowns, connected with Nick Morrison on a short pass over the middle. Morrison did the rest, breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
The next time the Wildcats had the ball, with excellent starting field position at the Waynesboro 32 courtesy of the defense getting a three-and-out with the Indians pinned at their own 10-yard-line, Mechanicsburg need only five plays to find the end zone on Micah Brubaker’s second rushing touchdown that made it 35-0.
“I think our defense has been a little bit underrated throughout the course of the season. We’ve really improved up front and our secondary does a good job making teams uncomfortable in the passing game,” said Mechanicsburg coach Anthony Rose, whose defense forced four turnovers and limited the Indians to 130 total yards. “Caleb Brubaker was everywhere tonight, he had two big sacks including that strip-sack.
“In my 23 years of coaching he’s the best defensive player I’ve ever coached. We could put him anywhere. He’s just a game changer for us defensively. The defense just played lights out all night.”
M-Taylor Shearer 32 pass from Micah Brubaker (Nick Morrison kick), 7:04
M-Brubaker 4 run (Morrison kick), 9:24
M-James Anderson 45 interception return (Morrison kick), :52
M-Morrison 29 pass from Brubaker (Morrison kick), 9:36
M-Brubaker 6 run (Morrison kick), 6:57
W-Jared Peck 13 pass from Chance Eyler (Louie Lindsay kick), 11:05
Team stats W M
First downs 6 14
Rush-yards 34-54 27-102
Passing 76 192
Comp-Att-Int 10-21-2 12-18-1
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-0
Punts-Avg. 5-25.6 2-36
Penalties-Yards 2-25 12-109
RUSHING: Waynesboro, Mikel Holden 13-78, Aidan Mencia 13-13, Chance Eyler 5-(minus-21), Louie Lindsay 2-(minus-6), Team 1-(minus-12); Mechanicsburg, Micah Brubaker 10-40, Taylor Shearer 6-37, Glenn Robinson 2-(minus-5), Parker Sample 3-11, James Anderson 1-8, Seth Brubaker 4-13, Team 1-(minus-2).
PASSING: Waynesboro, Eyler 10-21-2—76; Mechanicsburg, Micah Brubaker 12-18-1—192.
RECEIVING: Waynesboro, Cade Reed 3-43, Holden 4-13, Rhyan Day 2-7, Jared Peck 1-13; Mechanicsburg, Nick Morrison 4-85, Caleb Brubaker 2-20, Shearer 2-42, Anderson 2-29, Joey Rowland 2-16.