It’s Greencastle week for the Waynesboro Area Senior High School varsity football team.
But the game isn’t a big game for that reason alone. The two teams have been playing for the better part of 40-plus years when they were both members of the long-defunct Blue Mountain League.
There’s another reason this game is important. It’s also the first Mid-Penn Colonial Division game of the season. That makes the game even more meaningful.
The makeup of the division is a big departure from what it looked like back in the day. Gone are Big Spring and West Perry, who moved to the Mid-Penn Capital Division.
Remember the drive to Mifflin County? – Not to mention the trek through the Michaux State Forest on the way to Perry County. Almost predictably during every game in Elliottsburg, the fog rolled in at halftime and made the second half an adventure.
Gettysburg (which spent eight years in the York-Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association) joined the division this year, while Susquehanna Township, East Pennsboro and Mechanicsburg have been members of the Colonial since 2020.
Mainstays are Shippensburg and Northern York.
Waynesboro dominated the series from 1981 to 1993, winning nine of 13 games, with one tie. The Blue Devils struck back in the 2000s. G-A went on a run of 12 straight wins, many of them one-sided contests, from 2002 to 2013.
During that stretch, the Blue Devils took the lead in the series 15-12-1.
Then came 2014.
In a game marked by the bizarre appearance of police dogs along the Waynesboro side of the field (as if there was the potential for violence), the Indians defeated G-A, 28-14, and the Waynesboro faithful – they waited a long time to beat their cross-county opponents – finally had something to celebrate.
So far, the bubble has yet to burst. It almost did in 2017 when the Indians defeated the Blue Devils, 24-21, in overtime. I still see visions of Mason Frampton sprinting around right end and scoring the winning touchdown.
In 2020, Waynesboro edged Greencastle-Antrim, 14-7. The Indians trailed 7-6 in the fourth quarter before scoring a touchdown and converting the 2-point conversion to enable Waynesboro to take a 16-15-1 lead in the series.
Last season, on Homecoming Night, the Tribe held a 21-14 lead and scored a touchdown to provide the cushion in a 28-14 victory.
The win gave the Tribe its eight consecutive win in the streaky series, which stands in Waynesboro’s favor, 17-15-1.
There’s something to be said for the significance of proximity when it comes to what we call “rivalries.”
However, focusing on one opponent and marking that game as The Game of the season presents problems. All teams on the schedule are rivals. Each game has its own meaning.
Recently, it’s been Shippensburg that has produced some of the most memorable games in the past decade. You can add Northern to that list as well.
The motto of “This Week’s Rival Is…” is an appropriate way to view opponents during any given season.
Still, Greencastle – a short eight miles from Waynesboro – is a special place to play. It’s been the site of the annual Relay for Life years and, having a wife who is a breast cancer survivor, I can’t look at the field without seeing luminaires lighting up the fringes of the track and breast cancer survivors and their caregivers walking the Victory Lap to kick off the weekend.
Football is important; life is more important.
Lee Goodwin writes about sports for Local.News. His column, “Sports Focus,” appears weekly.