WAYNESBORO – So far, the District 3-5A playoffs are proceeding according to seeding.
That’s true for Friday night’s quarterfinal matchup between No. 5 Waynesboro and No. 4 Spring Grove at Papermaker Stadium in York County. The Rockets dispatched Twin Valley, 33-6, and the Indians overcame an early scare from Daniel Boone before outscoring the Blazers 42-6 in the final three quarters on their way to an impressive 42-20 win.
The stakes are higher now. The game faces are more intense. The margin of error shrinks. One turnover, one bad penalty, one blown coverage, one missed block on a pass play, one big play – all can be the difference between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
“I think both teams are playing really good football right now,” said Waynesboro head coach Josh Sprenkle, the architect of the Indians defense, which has asserted its well in most every game this season. “They finished as the number four team in District 3-5A. We are playing physical games week in and week out. We have some guys banged up, but they get ready every Friday.”
Waynesboro is one of three Mid-Penn Conference teams in the hunt for a district title. Shippensburg, the third seed, defeated New Oxford, 43-16. The Greyhounds will play fellow Mid-Penn opponent and sixth seed Cedar Cliff, who beat Lower Dauphin 31-18.
Spring Grove defeated Waynesboro, 25-20, on Aug. 27 in Waynesboro. In that game, Tribe senior quarterback Louie Lindsay completed 11 of 23 passes for 145 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for 46 yards on seven carries.
What Waynesboro did the rest of the season was shake off the season-opening loss and reel off eight wins in the final nine games.
What will it take to beat a team whose lone loss was to last season’s PIAA Class 6A finalist Central York?
“We have to control the ball,” Sprenkle said. “We have to put together some long, physical drives and not make costly penalties. Defensively, we have to make them put together long drives and not just big plays.
“We will have to play a complete game in all three phases and not commit costly penalties.”
The stage is then set for another playoff game. The weather is expected to cooperate. Early morning rain will give way to clear skies, and, by game time, the temperature is expected to be in the low 50s, 10 degrees warmer than last week’s game at Buchanan Automotive Stadium in Waynesboro.
Spring Grove head coach Kyle Sprenkle is counting on his team to do pretty much the same.
“We need to finish drives, control the game with our offense on the field,” he said. “We need to limit their big plays and create turnovers, win the turnover battle and limit penalties.”
The winner will advance to the semifinals and play the winner of top seed Governor Mifflin and eighth-seed Warwick, which defeated No. 8 Gettysburg, 44-14.
Waynesboro’s 1,000-yard running back Aidan Mencia was held to 39 yards against Spring Grove earlier in the season. He can expect a lot of attention from the Spring Grove defense, putting added pressure and opportunity for Lindsay, who can run and pass.
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); Nov. 5, Daniel Boone (W, 42-20)
Spring Grove: Aug. 27, at Waynesboro (W, 25-20); Sept. 3, West York (W, 38-6); Sept. 10, at Northern York (W, 39-7); Sept. 17, Northeastern (W, 36-21); Oct. 1, Dover (W, 34-14); Oct. 8, Central York (L, 48-17); Oct. 15, at Dallastown (W, 28-21); Oct. 22, Red Lion (W, 42-13); Oct. 29, South Western (W, 35-0); Nov. 5, Twin Valley (W, 33-6)
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), 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), Khasir Deputy (Sr., 5-11, 170)
Linebacker-Bodie Rouzer (Sr., 5-7, 140), Garrett Blount, Callin Kauffman (Sr., 5-11, 195), Jesse Julius
Cornerback-Nick Brill (Jr., 5-10, 195), Rhyan Day
Safety-Brody Rhodes (Sr., 5-9, 155), Kaden Rouzer (Sr., 5-7, 145)
SPRING GROVE STARTING LINEUPS
Offensive line – Logan Herbst (Sr., 6-1, 230), Kyle Lillich (Jr., 5-9, 235), Cameron Braxton (Sr., 6-0, 260), Hayden Emory (Sr., 6-0, 210), Lane Hersh (Jr., 6-3, 310)
Quarterback – Andrew Osmun (Jr., 6-1, 205)
Running back – Zyree Brooks (Sr., 5-7, 180)
Running back/wide receiver – Braden Merrill (Sr., 5-9, 170)
Wide receiver – Darien Osmun (Sr., 5-10, 195), Justin Godman (Sr., 6-1, 185), Reilly Stone (Sr., 6-0, 160)
Defensive line – Brandon McCauley (Sr., 5-11, 195), Jeff Borman (Sr., 6-2, 290), Austin Crites (Sr., 5-9, 170)
Linebacker – Darien Osmun, Teague Conover (Jr., 5-10, 190), Andrew Zeigler (Sr., 6-2, 180), Logan Herbst (Sr., 6-1, 240)
Defensive back – Braden Merrill, Justin Godman, Drew Miller (Sr., 5-9, 165), Andrew Osmun