GETTYSBURG – If you’re a believer in the football adage “the best defense is a good offense,” you would have been disappointed watching Friday night’s high-scoring high school varsity game between Waynesboro and Gettysburg.
Honestly, it would have been nice if the outcome would have been like the 2020 classic won by the Indians 55-49 in overtime.
However, let’s say that it wasn’t that Gettysburg had too much offense for a young and thin-on-depth Waynesboro squad that fell to 2-5 after absorbing a 49-34 Mid-Penn Colonial Division loss to the Warriors.
In a series that began in 1919, it’s been Gettysburg who has more often than not continued to frustrate Waynesboro. Last season, the Indians were leading 10-7 and were apparently about to extend the lead to 17-7 until a touchdown was called back due to a penalty. The Warriors went on to win 21-10.
On Friday, the Indians kept battling but couldn’t keep matching score for score. And what a first half it was.
The Warriors (4-3) deferred the first-half kickoff to Waynesboro, and the Indians immediately – reminiscent of last week’s strong start against Susquehanna Township – began to move the ball down the field.
Nathan Nolan picked up nine yards on the first play from scrimmage and gained two more for the game’s initial first down. Following an incomplete pass and a two-yard run by Anthony Ausherman, quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt passed 10 yards to Nolan to the Gettysburg 38 yard line. An offsides advanced the ball five yards. Following a six-yard run by Ausherman, Nolan took a pitchout and ran for 24 yards.
Waynesboro couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Andrew Soffe.
The Indians got the ball back after the Warriors tried and failed to convert on a fourth-down play at their own 14-yard line.
Waynesboro again had to be content with a 28-yard field goal off the foot of Soffe for a 6-0 lead with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter.
Gettysburg took the ensuing kickoff and marched 67 yards on 10 plays for the touchdown and a 7-6 lead with just under two minutes in the opening period.
Waynesboro played a game of “anything you can do we can do better.” Robert Howard made the offense’s job much easier when he returned the kickoff from the Tribe 2 to the Gettysburg 33.
From there, Waynesboro needed five plays to hit paydirt. Hayden Nolan, who was injured later in the game and did not return, took off for 14 yards and received a huge boost with a moving line surge that put the ball to the 7. Two plays later, Ausherman burst into the end zone from five yards. Soffe’s PAT made it 13-7.
The Warriors answered with their second touchdown of the game. They got the ball back deep in Waynesboro’s end of the field with a blocked punt and another score and a 21-13 lead at the 7:49 mark of the second quarter.
Waynesboro responded with an 82-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 37-yard pass and run from Frazer-Hewitt to Nathan Nolan. Frazer-Hewitt, who was sacked for a seven-yard loss on the previous play leaving the Indians with a third-and-forever from their 11, passed under pressure to Nolan, who received a nice block from Owen Long that sprang him to the 48-yard line.
Later, Frazer-Hewitt found Hayden Nolan isolated down the Gettysburg sideline, and Nolan could have walked into the end zone for the score. Soffe’s extra point made it 21-20.
Waynesboro took over on downs at its 36 and cashed it in three plays later to take a 27-21 lead with 1:33 to play in the first half. The big play was a 51-yard run by Nathan Nolan. Ausherman then scored his second touchdown, this time from 13 yards out.
But Gettysburg had the last laugh in a high-scoring first half when the Warriors used a 40-yard completion to highlight a four-play 62-yard scoring drive that gave them a 28-27 lead at halftime.
Gettysburg opened the second half with a touchdown to take a 35-27 lead.
Waynesboro had an answer (it’s final score of the game) as the Indians had an impressive possession that spanned nearly seven minutes and culminated in Ausherman’s third TD of the contest. Ausherman ran the ball eight times during the 65-yard drive, a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-minched-rubber display of a sustained ground attack.
Gettysburg found the end zone for the sixth time early in the fourth quarter and put to rest any hopes of a Waynesboro comeback with a seventh touchdown with 3:52 left to play.
Waynesboro will play its final home game of the season next Friday against Mechanicsburg.