WAYNESBORO – One less turnover. One less penalty. One – or two – more game-changing plays.
Either of these may well have been the difference between a loss and a win for the struggling Waynesboro Indians varsity football team.
In the end, a 49-yard touchdown run by Carter Coons was the difference, as the Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils held off a determined Waynesboro team, 17-10, Friday night in a Mid-Penn Colonial Division game at Buchanan Automotive Stadium on Military Appreciation Night.
Coons’ impressive run right through the Tribe defense with 4:13 left to play in the third period punctuated a Greencastle surge that saw the Blue Devils (4-0) score 17 unanswered points after trailing 3-0 at halftime off the feet of Waynesboro placekicker Andrew Soffe, who booted a 40-yard field goal with barely a tick left on the game clock in the second quarter.
Rewind to midway through the third quarter on a night made for football when Conner Rennekamp recovered a fumble inside the Waynesboro 30-yard line, and the Blue Devils were primed to take their first lead of the game. On first down, Carter McCauley hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Alvey. Andrew Bowers kicked the extra point that gave G-A a 10-3 lead, but it wasn’t until Coons churned up all kinds of field turf that the Blue Devils were able to secure their second straight win over the Indians.
Waynesboro had won the previous eight meetings between the two Route 16 rivals after Greencastle-Antrim had won the previous 12 dating back to 2002.
Bowers tied the game with a 34-yard field goal at the 7:45 third-quarter mark. Then, on Waynesboro’s third play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, a hard hit on Tribe fullback Anthony Ausherman jarred the ball loose, setting up the go-ahead points.
But Waynesboro wasn’t finished yet. The Indians, who could not for all its efforts get any offense going in this war of attrition, somehow mustered up enough of it – thanks to some ingenuity in the form of a hook and lateral play that kept a scoring drive alive.
Ausherman redeemed himself by recovering a fumble at the Greencastle 23-yard line. What followed was a 7-play drive capped by an up-the-gut run by fullback Bryan Benedict with plenty of time left in the game (10:24).
On fourth down at the Blue Devils 19, quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt threw a short pass to Calvin Myers. Myers took off running and just as quickly turned and pitched the ball to Nathan Nolan, who ran to the eight for a first-and-goal.
The Blue Devils benefited greatly from the hard-running of Xzavier Ramsey and Surzano Solomon. Both took turns gaining chunks of yardage, only to have potential scoring drives derailed by a turnover or drive-stopping plays by the Indians’ defense.
Nathan Nolan recovered a G-A fumble inside the Waynesboro 30 and returned it to near midfield. However, the Indians were unable to pick up meaningful yardage and had to punt the ball back to the Blue Devils.
Greencastle and Waynesboro traded punts, and after the Blue Devils punted for the third time in three drives, the Indians moved the ball from midfield to the G-A 24 when Soffe kicked a low-liner that made it over the goal post for the game’s lone points through the first 24 minutes.
Waynesboro’s offense sputtered to start the second half, and that’s when Greencastle began to steal the momentum as it moved the ball far enough to set up a field goal attempt that tied the game.
The field goal could have easily been a touchdown. The Blue Devils had a first-and-goal at the six but Waynesboro’s defense stood tall, namely lineman Owen Long, who teamed up with Nolan for a tackle for loss and then hurried Alvey into throwing an incomplete pass. Then, Long, a tall and imposing defender, pressured Alvey into another incomplete pass on a play that Greencastle was whistled for holding, pushing the ball back to the 17.
Next for Waynesboro (1-3) is a road game against Northern in Dillsburg on Thursday, Sept. 21. Greencastle-Antrim will host East Pennsboro next Friday.