After fast start, Waynesboro falls to Susquehanna Township


WAYNESBORO – For two quarters, the Waynesboro Indians varsity football team looked like a champion.

But then came the second half.

It was as if a flip was switched, and that’s when the Susquehanna Township Indians seized the momentum, the lead and the win on Homecoming Night at Buchanan Automotive Stadium.

Waynesboro took a 14-0 lead, led 21-12 at halftime but was outscored 28-0 in the second half as Susquehanna Township rode away with a 40-21 victory in Friday night’s Mid-Penn Colonial Division contest.

It wasn’t for lack of trying for a team with a handful of seniors, little depth, numerous two-way starters not to mention changes to the coaching staff (bringing with it new offensive and defensive schemes) – tidbits that probably are worth repeating like a mantra – but Susquehanna (Hanna for short) displayed a bit too much speed and a collegiate performance from sophomore quarterback Torin Evans.

Evans was torrid in the game, completing 15 passes in 23 attempts for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Two scores went to junior speedster Lex Cyrus, who sliced through the defense with relative ease. Cyrus was on the receiving end of a 31-yard touchdown that cut the score from 14-0 to 14-6.

ST running back Dorian Smith rushed for 160 yards, spearheading a running attack that kept Waynesboro on its heels for three quarters.

Waynesboro’s Nathaniel Adkins (56), Parker Hull (55) and Owen Long (72) tackle Susquehanna Township’s Dorian Smith. (Toya McCleary)

The Indians from Harrisburg didn’t touch the ball until two-thirds of the way into the first quarter. That drive ended deep in Waynesboro territory on a fourth-down incompletion made largely possible by defensive back Robert Howard’s coverage in the end zone. Howard converged on the receiver, who hesitated to reach for the ball as Howard closed in and caused the ball to fall harmlessly to the turf.

The way the game started, it appeared that Waynesboro might be on its way to its second straight win. Last week, the Tribe eked out a 29-28 victory over Northern York to snap a three-game losing streak.

Waynesboro drove 56 yards on 12 plays and reached the end zone when Hayden Nolan ran it in from 12 yards. Andrew Soffe kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead with 6:45 left to play in the opening quarter.

It was a grind-it-out possession, with no gain more than 12 yards, and that was on a 12-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt to Nathan Nolan. Frazer-Hewitt threw to Calvin Myers for an eight-yard gain on the third play of the drive that pushed the ball on the other side of the 50.

Things got better for the blue-and-gold on a pristine autumn night when Ethan Alldredge, a versatile offensive, defensive and special teams player, recovered a fumble on the kickoff. Waynesboro was back in business at the Indians 29 yard line.

The hometown Indians capitalized on the mistake. Following an incompletion on first down, Hayden Nolan ran 14 yards to the 15. From there, Alldredge picked up three yards, Frazer-Hewitt kept it for six more and junior fullback Bryan “Tank” Benedict bulled through the pile for another yard and a first down. On the next play, Frazer-Hewitt threw a dart to Hayden Nolan against his body for a five-yard touchdown.

Waynesboro’s Hayden Nolan (20) scores a touchdown on a pass from Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt in the closing moments of the first half. (Toya McCleary)

After Susquehanna Township failed to cash in on its ensuing possession, Waynesboro’s offense sputtered inside its 10 yard line. The result was a punt from its own end zone early in the second period. The opposing Indians played on a short field, starting at the Waynesboro 42. Three plays later, Evans and Cyrus combined for a 31-yard score at 9:48 of the stanza. The two-point conversion failed.

Waynesboro went three-and-out on its next offensive series, and Susquehanna moved the ball 64 yards on nine plays, with the key play being a 26-yard catch and run from Evans to Cyrus. Senior halfback Aubrey Carter used his size and power to bull his way into the end zone for a 5-yard TD to make it 14-12 after the two-point conversion was no good.

The pendulum swung back to Waynesboro. It started when Soffe missed a long field goal, but the Indians forced Susquehanna Township to punt from its 18.

With only 15.7 seconds left in the first half – and the long-awaited crowning of the Homecoming queen approaching – Benedict ran for 12 yards to the Indians 37. Frazer-Hewitt threw an incomplete pass, setting up a climactic ending to a wild first 24 minutes. Hayden Nolan somehow got wide open down the Waynesboro sideline, and Hewitt arched a strike to the senior. Nolan took it from there and outran the defenders into the end zone for the score with four seconds on the game clock.

Waynesboro was unable to protect the 21-12 lead in the second half.

Waynesboro quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt runs upfield against Susquehanna Township during Friday night’s Homecoming game at Buchanan Automotive Stadium. (Toya McCleary)

Susquehanna Township started the second half like Waynesboro began the game, thanks in part to a 15-yard defensive holding penalty. On first down, Evans threw a strike to sophomore Jarrett Kern for a touchdown just 19 seconds into the third quarter. The score was 21-20 after the two-point conversion failed.

But in Waynesboro’s opening drive of the period, disaster struck. Susquehanna Township’s Isaiah Riley blocked a punt in the end zone resulting in a safety and the Indians’ first lead of the game, 22-21.

Susquehanna Township (4-2, 2-1 MPC) added a touchdown after Waynesboro kicked off from its 20 as Evans connected with Jayden Washington for a 24-yard touchdown with 8:42 remaining in the quarter. The run failed, but the Indians led 28-22 and had the momentum on its side as their offense found its footing and was in high gear and Waynesboro struggled to move the ball on offense and slow down Susquehanna Township’s offense.

The visiting Indians scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to salt away the game.

Waynesboro, now 1-2 in the Colonial Division, travels across South Mountain next Friday to face 3-3 Gettysburg at Warrior Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

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