Spring Grove pulls away in second half against Waynesboro

Waynesboro's Mikel Holden fights for more yardage during first-quarter action against Spring Grove on Friday in Spring Grove. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

SPRING GROVE – The Spring Grove and Waynesboro varsity football teams are becoming quite familiar with one another.

The Rockets (10-2 last season) and Indians (9-3 in 2021) last played on Nov. 11, 2021 in the District 3-5A playoff quarterfinals. They also faced off in the season opener a year ago.

Fast forward to 2022.

The two teams met again at Papermakers Stadium in York County, and the result was the same as the previous two encounters.

Spring Grove took a 14-6 lead at the half and then pulled away in the second half on its way to a 46-14 victory in a non-conference matchup.

It was one of “those” games, when a young team (Waynesboro) goes against a more experienced team and, in the end, key plays and mistakes (penalties, turnovers and broken plays) add up to defeat – and a learning experience and building blocks for future games.

“We’re going to see tremendous gains over the next three games leading us into our division schedule,” said Waynesboro head coach Josh Sprenkle, whose team travels to play Hershey next Friday in another non-conference game.

The Indians are loaded with sophomores, and two freshmen got playing time, including Kean Baumgardner who started on defense.

“We got a lot of guys going both ways, but at the beginning of second half we had some breakdowns in coverage, we have a younger secondary – they’ll get better. Our whole team will get better. When the momentum shifted, we didn’t respond well.”

Waynesboro had a lot of success running the ball. The backfield combination of running backs Mikel Holden and Cody Tharp and quarterback Jaylon Bean picked up chunks of yardage, and sophomore fullback Bryan Benedict emerged as another key contributor in the running game.

The Rockets exploited the Tribe’s young defensive secondary, as starting quarterback Andrew Osmun took advantage of not only enough time in the pocket to find receivers but also finding his receivers wide open.

Backup quarterback Cowan Ruhland threw three touchdown passes to Nizeah Mummert in the second half. Mummert hauled in a short pass across the middle and took off running about 45 yards for the score that gave Spring Grove a 31-6. Mummert got past the coverage for an easy 57-yard catch and score to make the score 39-6.

Before the second-half kickoff, it was anyone’s game.

Waynesboro quarterback Jaylon Bean falls forward for more yardage during a run. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

The Rockets converted an interception into a short touchdown to take an 8-0 lead early in the game.

Osmun picked off a Bean pass and ran it in from two yards out. The two-point conversion run was good.

But Waynesboro came right back to score on an impressive drive that ate up more than five minutes of the clock. The Indians used the feet of Holden, Tharp and Bean to move down the field. Bean accounted for 40 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter.

After the teams traded punts to end the opening period, Spring Grove took possession at its 20-yard line and proceeded to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 16-yard scoring run by Osmun. A pass interference on third down kept the drive going.

Waynesboro came close to punching it in twice before the half. After recovering an onside kick attempt following the Rockets’ second touchdown, the Indians got to the Spring Grove 16-yard line before the drive stalled.

Later, Waynesboro had a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the waning seconds of the second period but couldn’t put points on the board.

Waynesboro defenders team up for a tackle against Spring Grove. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS
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