WAYNESBORO – The season that is is fast becoming the season that was for the Waynesboro Area Senior High School varsity football team.
Friday night’s 27-0 loss to the Shippensburg Greyhounds was another blow to a team that had high expectations but – due in large part to varsity inexperience, injuries, and new offensive and defensive playbooks – and is facing a season-ending game against an East Pennsboro team that improved to 8-1 after defeating Susquehanna Township 31-28.
The Indians defeated East Pennsboro in the season’s final game in 2022, 13-10 in overtime to finish a campaign that saw the Tribe finish 3-7, the first losing regular season since 2013. During the offseason, Mark Saunders was named head coach replacing Joshua Sprenkle, who coached for four seasons after replacing Steve Myers.
The loss to Shippensburg dropped Waynesboro’s record to 2-7.
Somebody pushed the delay button in scoring, and the Indians defense did a good job collapsing the Greyhounds running game and leading rusher Jayne Statum (a familiar last name to Waynesboro coaches). Shippensburg’s first scoring opportunity was met with a defensive stand after Michael Skehan stopped Patrick Eichelberger short of a first down at the Waynesboro 9 yard line.
The Tribe punted back to the ‘Hounds, but three plays into the possession, Calvin Myers recovered a fumble deep inside Waynesboro’s end of the field as the Indians averted another possible touchdown. Andrew Florek made it all possible when he bull-rushed into the backfield and collided with quarterback Brady Maciewski to dislodge the ball.
Waynesboro tried to put together a sustained drive. Sophomore quarterback Rayshawn Frazer-Hewitt escaped the pressure for a 14-yard run and the team’s initial first down of the game. The Tribe picked up another first down but the drive sputtered at midfield after three straight incomplete passes.
Shippensburg took over following a punt and this time took it the distance. The Greyhounds maneuvered 94 yards in 13 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown by Eichelberger. Eichelberger and Statum took turns during a run-dominated series. He had identical runs of nine yards to start the possession. Statum’s first carry of the drive was for six yards. He added runs of 19 and 14 that brought the ball to the Waynesboro 1.
The Indians punted, and the Greyhounds converted thanks to a 50-yard screen play from Maciewski to Mark Carothers with 1:16 remaining in the first half.
Shippensburg added two touchdowns in the second half. Statum (21 carries, 145 yards) scored on a six-yard run, and after a three-and-out by Waynesboro, Eichelberger (14 carries, 90 yards) scored his second touchdown, this time from 21 yards to punctuate a 70-yard, 11-play drive.
Shippensburg, which scored a season-high 27 points, took away Waynesboro’s running game. The team’s leading rusher was Nathan Nolan (32 yards). The off-tackle running plays did not gain traction, and the Greyhounds also neutralized the counter play. Fullback Bryan “Tank” Benedict was used sparingly (he had six attempts for seven yards). And, with running back Hayden Reichard out with injury and Anthony Ausherman out for the game, Waynesboro was running on four cylinders in a six-cylinder engine.
Frazer-Hewitt was under pressure all game long, and receivers weren’t getting open to give the young quarterback a chance to get some completions in the controlled passing scheme. Frazer-Hewitt was only 6 for 15 for 29 yards and an interception.
Myers hauled in a pass for 21 yards that gave the Indians a first down at the Shippensburg 25. Nolan ran for 12 yards on the next play. However, an 11-yard loss was followed by an incomplete pass, a 2-yard pass play and, on fourth down, Frazer-Hewitt was stopped after a 13-yard gain.
Shippensburg ran 34 plays in the first half alone, and were it not for two drives coming up empty, the final score could have been much more one-sided.
Waynesboro’s defense held its own, but eventually, the sheer number of plays run by the Greyhounds wore down the resistance. It only takes a few big plays to produce momentum, which leads to points. However, the 50-yard screen play late in the second quarter was a backbreaker.
Waynesboro, who recorded 43 rushing yards and 29 yards through the air, entered halftime on the road behind by double digits.