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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Saturday Morning QB: Big Spring earns first playoff victory; Hempfield upsets CD East; Tajae Broadie has a career night and more from week 1 of the playoffs

Big Spring now owns a .500 record in the District 3 playoffs.

Why does that matter? The Bulldogs are now 1-1 overall.

Big Spring won the first playoff game in program history Friday night by outscoring Conrad Weiser in a wild two-touchdown win in Berks County where the teams combined for 84 points.

When you only made the playoffs once in the nearly 40 years District 3 has hosted a second season, securing a berth instantly made the 2021 Bulldogs one of the best in program history. Getting the first win puts this Big Spring team in another stratosphere.

There was too much firepower in these two offenses, and not enough defense to push back, it was always going to take points to win this game. The combination of Bulldogs running back Dillon Wakefield powering his way through tacklers and QB Ethan Eisenberg throwing touchdown bombs overwhelmed the Scouts.

Wakefield ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns, Eisenberg threw for 220 yards, rushed for 62 and accounted for four touchdowns. Big Spring tight end Connor Black had three catches for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

It took all the Bulldogs firepower on offense to overcome Weiser QB Logan Klitsch throwing for 402 yards and four scores. Not too many teams see the opposing quarterback throw for 400 yards and celebrate.

No matter what happens going forward, and the Bulldogs could absolutely win another postseason game, this 2021 Big Spring squad made history and they did it with the formula that worked all season.

From the historic to the shocking as CD East was put on lock down by the Hempfield defense and the No. 3 seeded Panthers in Class 6A were blown out by the Black Knights at The Speedway.

CD East was limited to fewer than 200 total yards, was twice stopped on fourth down inside the Hempfield 20-yard-line and turned it over three times. Those numbers add up to a 33-point loss. The big surprise was Hempfield scoring five touchdowns and rolling up a balanced 346 total yards of offense on the Panthers defense. Clearly, Hempfield is better than its 7-4 record.

The Lower Dauphin vs. Cedar Cliff Round 2 was a much better game this time around in a Class 5A opener at West Shore Stadium. The result was still the same as the Colts slipped past the Falcons by a couple touchdowns.

The Falcons, who exit 2021 as the most improved team this season, did almost everything right to pull off the upset. The lone big mistake was a pick-six by the Colts’ Evan Zeigler to open the scoring. Otherwise this was a toss-up game all the way.

It took a big-time game from Cedar Cliff quarterback Ethan Dorrell to keep the Colts season rolling. He completed 13 of 17 passes for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Star RB Jontate Morris was limited to 89 yards on 23 carries and didn’t bust loose – a credit to Lower Dauphin’s defense. Still, that’s solid work in a tight game by Morris.

Jacob Kauffman, the Falcons’ stud running back, rolled up 232 total yards – 158 rushing and 74 receiving – and scored a couple touchdowns. That’s all you can ask for.

Lower Dauphin played well and pushed the Colts. Cedar Cliff simply has more weapons to deploy and they used them all efficiently and well.

Middletown ventured to Elliottsburg to face West Perry with a spot in the Class 3A semifinals on the line and turned to its star defender who turns out is an emerging threat running the rock. Tajae Broadie had a career-best 174 yards on 20 totes and three touchdowns to power the Blue Raiders to a two-score victory.

Boradie wasn’t the only Blue Raider who ran wild in Perry County. Audric Bryant added 145 on 11 carries. The duo combined for 319 yards on 31 carries, an average of 10.3 yards per carry. Hello chunk plays on the ground and an offensive line doing some moving around of dudes.

West Perry fired its own big guns to counter as Trent Herrera had 116 yards on the ground and Ian Goodling had 145 receiving yards on only four grabs. But three turnovers and too much Broadie was simply too much for the Mustangs to overcome.

Boiling Springs, the No. 2 seed in Class 3A, had no problem dispatching Lancaster Cathlolic exploding for 35 second-half points. Joey Menke eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season with a 74-yard scamper just before halftime to put the Bubblers, who finished with 344 rushing yards, up 21-3 at intermission. Menke finished with 150 yards on only 11 carries and two scores.

This is the postseason, but somehow undefeated Shippensburg made its Class 5A opener with New Oxford look a lot like every other Greyhounds win this season. This one was over by halftime as the Hounds exploded for 22 second-quarter points to grab a 29-3 cushion at intermission.

Nobody had a blowout night for the Greyhounds, instead all their weapons did a little bit of everything to overwhelm New Oxford. And the defense made the Colonials one dimensional by limiting the visitors to the Cumberland-Franklin County line to only 75 yards on the ground.

In what always had all the ingredients for a powder-keg game – the Class 2A semifinal between Upper Dauphin and Columbia played along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County – played out exactly that way.

The Trojans and Crimson Tide combined for more than 1,000 yards and 100 points. Upper Dauphin led 44-12 at intermission and had to hold on for dear life as Columbia stormed back before falling 58-48. Ultimately it was UDA’s nearly 300 yards on the ground that was the difference maker.

There was a play in the final second of the first half that came in handy as the Trojans tried to hold on down the stretch. With 1 second remaining before halftime, Columbia QB Robert Footman was stripped and fumbled deep in UDA territory. The Trojans’ Austin Hartman, one of the larger lads on the field, scooped it up and started rumbling the other way with nothing but green grass ahead. 

He was going to get caught, because the two-way linemen doesn’t list speed as one of his football assets. So the fastest guy on the UDA roster, Brady Morgan, caught his teammate and told him to hand the ball to him. Pretty sure Hartman was more than glad to pass the rock to his teammate and Morgan easily scored to put UDA up 32 at intermission.

Upper Dauphin prevailed despite a Lancaster-Lebanon record 536 passing yards from Footman and a PIAA single-game record 357 receiving yards from J’von Collazo. His record came on only 11 catches and included FIVE touchdowns. Collazo averaged 32.5 yards per catch. And the Crimson Tide lost. Wow!

Northern held serve as the higher seed in Class 4A, powered by running back Talon Balluscio’s 137 yards and a touchdown to edge Octorara 28-22 at Bostic Field. The Polar Bears will square off against No. 1 Bishop McDevitt, who was on a bye, in the second round.

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