WAYNESBORO – It wasn’t a storybook ending to the high school football season, but it was a storybook ending to the Waynesboro Indians final game of the season.
Facing the prospects of losing its final six games of the season in front of a home crowd on Senior Night, the Indians somehow took victory from the jaws of defeat and defeated East Pennsboro in double overtime, 13-10 at Buchanan Automotive Stadium.
Andrew Soffe kicked a clutch 40-yard field goal with 4:41 remaining in the game that tied the Panthers 3-3.
Neither team was able to win it in regulation, and the game went to overtime. Each team started at the 10-yard line with four downs to either kick a field goal or score a touchdown.
East Pennsboro quickly scored to take a 10-3 lead, putting the pressure on Waynesboro in a do-or-die situation. Freshman quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt ran a keeper up the middle for the touchdown, and Soffe was true on the extra point.
The Indians, who chose to play defense in the first overtime, then took possession first in the second overtime.
After failing to cross the goal line in the first three plays, Soffe connected on a 26-yard field goal to give Waynesboro a 13-10 lead.
East Pennsboro picked up six yards on its first play of the second overtime. Two more plays resulted in one-yard gains. The Panthers called time out came out of the time out without its placekicker. With the game on the line, Waynesboro’s defense made the biggest play of the season and stopped running back Trey Good inches in front of the goal line.
“You get to one overtime it’s hard. And when we went to Gettysburg last year, it went to three overtimes. We were battling back and forth. Somebody’s going to be heartbroken at the end,” said Waynesboro head coach Josh Sprenkle.
The win gives the Indians a 3-7 record.
Now, with memories of last season’s District 3-5A playoffs long gone, Sprenkle, his coaching staff and next year’s prospective players will be thinking about laying the groundwork for next season.
“We’ve had so many injuries this year,” Sprenkle said. “Our team looked a lot different than when we were out there on Week 1. Guys have stepped up where we needed them to and made the plays we needed them to make.”
Frazer-Hewitt made his first varsity start. He will be one of a group of sophomores (and even some freshmen) who will be the core of next year’s squad.
“Four out of five of our offensive linemen will be back next year. Three of the five will be here for the next two seasons.”
Referees conferred, and with Waynesboro players signaling the run came up short and East Pennsboro players celebrating a touchdown, it was the Indians who erupted in celebration after Good indeed was tackled before the ball crossed into the end zone.
“Our defense came up big,” said Sprenkle. “We gave up big plays throughout the night, but when it really mattered – and to get that fourth-down stop – we stuffed them and got the ‘W’. It was a great way to end a challenging season.”
East Pennsboro was on the verge of taking a 10-0 lead before fumbling the ball into the end zone.
“Jaylon (Bean) knocked the ball out of the ball carrier’s hand, and we recovered it in the end zone,” said Sprenkle. “That was a huge play for us. Our defense has been stout.”
Waynesboro put a decent drive together, highlighted by a highlight reel catch by Bean, who stripped the ball from the defender and landed with the ball in his arms for a 40-yard reception that gave the Tribe a first down at the East Pennsboro 38-yard line.
Waynesboro got as close as the 7-yard line but was called for holding, and two plays later, Frazer-Hewitt threw an interception.
The Indians held the Panthers on downs, then gave the ball back on another interception. East Pennsboro missed a 49-yard field goal on its ensuing possession, and each team traded punts on their following two offensive series.
Waynesboro finally put points on the board after taking over following a punt. The Indians started the possession on their 2-yard line. Soffe capped a 14-play drive with a field goal. Sophomore fullback Bryan Benedict made the big play of the drive with a 50-yard catch and run to the Panthers’ 40.
Frazer-Hewitt ran for 10 yards on fourth down to set up Soffe’s field goal attempt with time running down.
Friday was the last game for seniors Brennan Nolan, Mikel Holden, Rakim Gibbs, Cody Tharp, Marcus Smith, Chase Auginbaugh, Brett George, Kaden Ditch, Jaylon Bean, Riley Bonebrake, Truitt Belford, Wesley Bonebrake, Garrett Lowans Scott Campbell, Devin Topping, Tristan Franklin and Joe Quesada.
Four of our five offensive linemen will be back next year. Three of the five will be around the next two years. It’s the best possible ending to a challenging season.