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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Sunday Morning QB: Carlisle pulls off the upset; ‘Hanna edges Northern in OT; UD’s defense keys victory over Juniata and more

Carlisle pulled off a thundering upset of Cumberland Valley on the road at The Chap to steal the Week 8 spotlight.

It has been nearly two decades since the Herd beat the Eagles. Carlisle’s last triumph over CV came in the 2004 playoffs. That’s a milestone win no matter what direction your season has gone. And it’s been a rough one filled with injuries, adversity and ups and downs for the Herd.

Carlisle jumped out to an early lead before the Eagles struck back with a pair of TD tosses courtesy of Isaac Sines’s left arm. That’s where this game took a major turn. Sines left the game midway through the second quarter and never returned. CV’s offense, without their senior leader, loses almost every ounce of firepower in its tank. Carlisle seized on the open door and brought home a six-point victory.

Carlisle junior Jeremiah Hargrove was a three-phase game wrecker. He rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, picked off a pass defensively and blocked an extra point on special teams.

After a zero-win campaign a year ago, Joe Headen’s Susquehanna Township Indians are making a strong case to go from the outhouse to the penthouse by making the playoffs in 2022.

The ‘Hanna Tribe made it three wins in a row, and improved to 5-3 overall, with a two-point conversion in overtime to edge Northern. It was the second consecutive week the Polar Bears were forced to extra time. Last week Northern stopped a two-point conversion in OT to win it.

Northern rallied late, scoring the final 10 points in regulation, including a 22-yard Mason Yohn field goal with six seconds left to force OT. The Polar Bears put seven on the board to begin the extra session, and The Tribe answered with a Lex Cyrus touchdown and Javon White’s two-point game winner. 

Two tough games remain for the Indians, at East Pennsboro and a home finale with Colonial Division kingpin Gettysburg. The road to a postseason invite down the stretch is going to demand ‘Hanna continue to play at a high level. Then again, if it was easy it wouldn’t be as much fun, right?

Flashback to Week 4 when Trinity was outplayed and outclassed by still undefeated West Perry in a 40-14. After the game, second-year head coach Jordan Hill challenged the effort of his troops.

Hill sent a crystal clear message to a Shamrocks team that had lost three straight and was 1-3 overall. Two of those losses came at the hands of the No. 5-ranked Class 5A team in the state (Roman Catholic) and the No. 1 Class 3A squad in the state (Wyomissing). Losing to West Perry, looking back, isn’t a bad loss. But there’s a big difference between getting beat and not showing up. That night the T-Rocks didn’t show up.

Since that loss in Elliottsburg the Shamrocks have quietly worked their way back into postseason relevancy by reeling off three straight wins, including a shutout of rival Camp Hill in Week 8. Defense is where Trinity is making the most strides during this hot streak. The pieces are coming together. Offensively, they have an identity that starts with a pounding ground game and being physical.

Camp Hill had no answers as Messiah Mickens and Max Schlager each cleared 100 yards for the T-Rocks. The duo combined for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Trinity is the class of District 3 Class 2A field this season in terms of overall talent. Now the T-Rocks are starting to play like it.

Gettysburg, which remains unbeaten against Mid-Penn Conference foes, is showing itself to be the class of the Colonial Division this season, but it was pushed in a different direction by Greencastle-Antrim.

The Warriors have been suffocating teams the last month with an efficient running game and stingy defense. Gettysburg hasn’t been blowing teams away, per se, but it also hasn’t allowed more than 14 points to each of its last four opponents.

That all changed this week when the Blue Devils dropped a 21-point second-quarter bomb on Gettysburg to seize a 21-14 intermission lead. The Warriors’ response when the game went a little sideways is telling. Gettysburg used big plays to overwhelm G-A 28-7 the second half on its way to a season-high 42 points.

Wideouts Tanner Newman and Sean Higgins were flamethrowers for the Warriors. The two-way standouts combined for 263 receiving yards on only six catches (48.3 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. QB Brady Heiser finished with 339 total yards and four touchdowns, and standout RB Jayden Johnson piled up 147 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

It’s clear Gettysburg wants to pound the opponent into submission with its run game and let the defense hold down the fort. It’s a fairly simple formula that works for the Warriors. However, when pushed they can light the lamp and have the dudes to play wide open with their hair on fire.

West Perry stayed unbeaten behind another monster outing from QB Marcus Quaker. The Mustangs took a 150-plus mile road trip to one-win North Penn-Mansfield as a replacement game for the Middletown forfeit. For the sixth time in eight games West Perry scored 35 or more points behind six touchdowns and 374 total yards from Quaker.

Upper Dauphin turned the tables on Juniata to seize control of Liberty Division supremacy by using defense as the engine that powered a come-from-behind six-point victory. Wow!

The Trojans trailed the defensive-minded Indians 13-6 heading into the fourth quarter, turned away a couple Juniata chances to salt the game away with a big stop, scored a TD halfway through the quarter then used a big play and a defensive touchdown to win it. Aiden Ritter snared a deflected pass by LB Tegan Engle and bulled into the end zone from 4 yards out to nail down the victory.

It’s very likely Central Dauphin will not make the playoffs for the second consecutive year. On the flip side this might be one of the better pure coaching jobs Glen McNamee and his staff have done in years at CD. The Rams didn’t have many options at the quarterback position because of injuries heading to Altoona Friday night.

The answer was to put running back/wide receiver David Chase in the shotgun and keep it very simple. Chase answered the call with 161 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries to power CD to its third win of the season in a convincing 34-14 triumph over the five-win Mountain Lions.

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