Waynesboro’s Garrett Blount (42) and Bodie Rouzer (15) collaborate on a tackle against Greencastle-Antrim on Friday, Oct. 1 in Waynesboro. The Indians won their Homecoming Game, 28-14. SUBMITTED PHOTO
WAYNESBORO – The Waynesboro Indians varsity football team was rewarded with a fifth seed in the District 3-5A playoffs and will host Daniel Boone (5-3), Friday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.
Now comes the really hard part – advancing.
The Indians (8-2) are 0-4 in first-round playoff games, including a home loss to Solanco in 2018. Waynesboro lost to Governor Mifflin in 2016 and Manheim Central in 2017 and 2019.
Two years later and the Tribe is back on the field in a postseason contest.
“These kids want to be the first Waynesboro team to win a district playoff game,” said Waynesboro head coach Josh Sprenkle. “It’s right here for them.”
The forecast for the game is clear with temperatures in the low 40s. That’s what you call high school playoff weather.
Playing an aggressive brand of football, the senior-led Indians have put together a season to remember.
On the heels of a melancholy 2020 season in which only 25 percent of seating capacity was allowed, the 2021 season has provided a flashback to just how special Friday nights are to towns with high school football teams.
And, Waynesboro gets to play one more home game this season.
The Indians have not been defined by either the running game or the passing game. And, when they are running the ball, it’s not just up the gut for three or four yards a pop. Senior running back Aidan Mencia has been the mainstay in the backfield, showing an uncanny ability to bust a play on the outside or get the tough yards up the middle.
“We had a great 1-2 punch with (Mikel) Holden and Mencia,” Sprenkle said. “Losing Mikel to a broken leg against East Pennsboro was hard. He’s a great kid, and luckily he has next year still. Louis Lindsey has done a great job at quarterback and Mencia has put the team on his back since Mike went down. Brody Rhodes hardly comes off the field. He’s a big hitter on defense and could return a punt or kick for a TD at any time. Callin Kauffman is seeing things extremely well defensively and racking up tackles.”
Mencia has rushed for 1,039 yards, with 10 touchdowns. Since Holden suffered a season-ending, Mencia has been easier to spot with the absence of his teammate who has been a major contributor to the offense for three seasons.
Brody Rhodes, who was on the receiving end of the Hail Mary pass from Lindsey that led to Waynesboro’s 21-20 win against Mechanicsburg in Week 9, leads the team in receiving with 344 yards
“We lost Mikel and found a way to rally around each other,” Sprenkle said. “Mikel was a really key piece to the offense. We have played to our strength, and I think we’re more balanced this year than maybe any other year even when I defensive coordinator. Louis Lindsay is getting close to 1,000 yards passing, and he can run well.
“Coach (Mark) Saunders is a good play caller.”
Sprenkle and his coaching staff had to go back to Oct. 15 to get a recent scouting report on the Blazers, who played eight games but were dominant in all five wins, that after starting the season 0-2. Daniel Boone routed Reading, 35-0 in what proved to be its season finale. The week before, the Blazers torched 34-7, a week after losing big to Berks Catholic, 40-7.
Waynesboro and Daniel Boone (Berks County I) did not play a common opponent. The Indians have played five teams that have qualified for the playoffs: Shippensburg (5A), Spring Grove (5A), New Oxford (5A), Northern York (4A) and West Perry (3A).
Daniel Boone played three teams in the postseason: Twin Valley (5A), Berks Catholic (4A) and Wyomissing (3A).
Waynesboro: Aug. 27, Spring Grove (L, 25-20); Sept. 3, Red Lion (W, 47-14); Sept. 10, at Gettysburg (W, 55-49, 3 OT); Sept. 17, West Perry (W, 29-6); Sept. 24, at Shippensburg (L, 33-14); Oct. 1, Greencastle-Antrim (W, 28-14); Oct. 8, at Susquehanna Twp. (W, 52-7); Oct. 15, at East Pennsboro (W, 28-3); Oct. 22, Mechanicsburg (W, 21-20); Oct. 29, at Northern York (W, 6-0).
Daniel Boone: Aug. 28, at Wyomissing (L, 41-14); Sept. 3, at Twin Valley (L, 19-10); Sept. 10, at Garden Spot (W, 45-17); Sept. 17, Conestoga Valley (W, 27-12); Sept. 24, at Ephrata (W, 33-14); Oct. 1, Berks County (L, 40-7); Oct. 8, at Muhlenberg (W, 34-7); Oct. 15, Reading (W, 35-0).
Here’s Waynesboro’s starting lineups:
Center-Will Young (Sr., 5-8, 185)
Right guard-Devin Topping (Jr., 5-10, 210)
Right tackle-Jayden Alvarez (Sr., 5-11, 245)
Left guard-Landon Beckner (Sr., 5-7, 215)
Left tackle-Logan Paris (Sr., 5-8, 220)
Tight end-Garrett Blount (Sr., 5-10, 175)
Quarterback-Louis Lindsay (Sr., 5-10, 175)
Fullback-Jesse Julius (Sr., 5-10, 195)
Halfback-Aidan Mencia (Sr., 5-11, 210)
Halfback-Izaiah Worthy (Sr., 5-8, 165)
Wide receiver-Rhyan Day (Sr., 5-10, 165)
Nose tackle-Kaden Ditch (Jr., 6-0)
End-Luke Martin (Sr., 6-3, 170)
End-Khasir Deputy (Sr., 5-11, 170)
Linebacker-Bodie Rouzer (Sr., 5-7, 140)
Linebacker-Callin Kauffman (Sr., 5-11, 195)
Cornerback-Nick Brill (Jr., 5-10, 195)
Free safety-Brody Rhodes (Sr., 5-9, 155)
Strong safety-Kaden Rouzer (Sr., 5-7, 145)
“Whenever you get into playoffs it’s going to be a tough matchup,” said Sprenkle. “Daniel Boone is a good team. This group of seniors played as juniors last year; they returned a lot of starters with experience.”
Daniel Boone’s offense is predicated on the shotgun behind quarterback Dean Rotter (74 completions for 917 yards with 12 touchdowns). A,J, Hofer is the leading ground gainer with 773 yards. Backfield mate J.T. Hogan has rushed for 486 yards. Alex Vassallo (44 catches for 518 yards) is Rotter’s main target.
“The quarterback plays well,” Sprenkle said. “They run tackle trap counter plays.
“Our kids are pretty focused. They have really bought into the things we’ve been telling them, going out on Friday and executing and playing how I know they can play. We can’t afford to make any mistakes. last week against Northern in the monsoon there were going to be fumbles; this week can’t afford any personal fouls, we have to limit penalties.”
- Daniel Boone has been outscored 52-49 in the first quarter and 51-28 in the third quarter, and the Blazers have outscored opponents 73-10 in the second quarter and 55-37 in the fourth quarter
- Callin Kauffman leads Waynesboro’s defense with 111 tackles, which includes 55 solo tackles. He has made 23 tackles for loss.
- Also on defense, Brody Rhodes has a team-best four interception, while Nick Brill has picked off three passes.
- Waynesboro’s offense has accumulated 2,376 yards; Daniel Boone has gained 2,358 yards of total offense (1,441 on the ground).