Comets Fall in PIAA Quarterfinals November 11, 2018
With a sense of familiarity, Penn Manor and Hershey took to the field at Manheim Township High school this past Saturday, on a windy and chilly, afternoon in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals. After the Comets' 2-0 win over the Trojans in the first round of the Hershey Hockey Tournament back in September and then a 3-3 tie one week later, a high scoring game was probably in the works.
But when the final horn sounded, it was the District Three fourth seed Trojans ending Manor's quest for a second straight PIAA crown with a 1-0 victory.
"They are a strong, well-coached team," said head coach Matt Soto. "We knew we needed to play great hockey."
Hershey (17-5-1), on its first trip into the circle and in a mad scramble in front of freshman keeper Cecily Charles, scored the first and only goal of the game. The Trojan's Katana Nelson initiated the scramble while sophomore Ashley Arnold collected the rebound and beat Charles with what proved to be the game-winner.
The Comets, who fought off a 2-0 deficit before working that 3-3 tie against the Trojans, countered with a shot by Anna May Barbusca, saved by Hershey's Kit Olmsted. Manor went on to work seven straight corners but came up empty. Then, with 3:15 left, Barbusca and Briana Harsh broke free for a two-on-one situation with Barbusca dishing to Harsh as they closed in on the Hershey keeper. Olmsted, without blinking an eye, made a diving stick save to deny the tying goal. With the pressure on, the Comets forced three more corners, including their 12th corner of the half with no time on the clock but the score remained in favor of the Trojans.
Manor, adjusting to Hershey's physical play, opened the second half with six corners over the first four minutes, but still could not solve Olmsted. Then, after seven minutes of play between the 16's, Hershey earned its first corner of the game at 17:43. The Comet defense stood its ground and denied three straight Trojan corners before transitioning to the other end for four corner opportunities of their own but to no avail.
The Trojans were pressing for a second goal with 3:01 left but were turned back and then denied a breakaway with 1:30 left to play on another big save by Charles.
But in the end, Penn Manor's high scoring offense was shut out for the second time in three games. They finished with a 21-3 advantage in penalty corners and led 6-2 in shots on goal.
Four days prior to the quarterfinals and three days after suffering a 2-0 district finals loss to Lower Dauphin, the Comets got back into the scoring groove with a lopsided 7-0 victory over District 7 runner-up Pine-Richland at Hempfield Tuesday afternoon.
"It was good to get back to scoring," stated Soto. "We work very hard on goal scoring."
Manor dominated this one from start to finish and built a 6-0 lead in the opening half. They racked up 16 first half corners and pinned Pine-Richland in the backfield for the bulk of the half. In fact, the visitors broke over midfield just three times in the half.
Emma DeBerdine's penalty stroke at the 17:50 mark proved to be all the offense the Comets needed but in preparation of defending their PIAA crown, they kept working on their corner execution and tallied five more goals in the half. Manor needed just five more minutes to stretch the lead to 4-0. After the stroke, Gabby Bitts fired a shot that deflected off the defense and behind the keeper for goal number two. Barbusca, on another corner, took a short pass from DeBerdine and also found the back of the cage while Bitts, with another assist from DeBerdine, made it 4-zip with 12:22 left.
Four corners and four minutes later, Harsh collected then sent her own rebound behind the defense and later, with 2:08 left, tapped in a DeBerdine assist for a commanding lead.
The Comets, rotating the lineup and receiving contributions from the bench, continued the attack in the second half. Manor worked eight more corners over the first 15 minutes but didn't find the back of the cage until DeBerdine's rocket from the top of the circle at the 8:15 mark. Barbusca sent the corner insert to DeBerdine who quickly converted.
"It's always important for our players to be versatile and to be able to play different positions," stated Soto of the second half rotations. "Haley Garber played well on the right wing and Lydia Marchuk, Morgan Harnish and Bailee Hargan also played well in reserve."
Manor settled for 27 corners and 22 shots while denying Pine-Richland in both categories.
While the loss to Hershey is obviously disappointing, it should not overshadow what this young team accomplished. With just three senior starters, the Comets (22-3-1) collected their eighth Section One crown with an undefeated 12-0 mark. They went on to edge the highly ranked Donegal Indians 1-0 on a corner goal with no time left to capture their seventh L-L League title in the last ten years. And more recently settled for runner-up in the District Three Class 3A Championships. Their season continued well over a month after everyone else was packing up their hockey sticks.
While it wasn't the finish they were hoping for, they all contributed to a memorable season that will again go down in the history books.
Middletown Dominates in District Semifinals November 11, 2018
Total domination. There simply is no other way to describe Middletown's 41-6 triumph over Wyomissing in their District 3-3A semifinal clash last Friday, November 9th. Despite a rain-soaked evening turning Middletown's War Memorial Field into a pit of mud, the Blue Raiders managed to rack up 497 yards of offense while holding the Spartans to a measly 16.
"Our defensive coaches grind as hard as anybody. They put a lot of time in, looking at stuff and getting our kids ready," said head coach Brett Myers. "There is pressure applied all week in practice on the defensive side of the ball. We put them in a lot of bad case scenarios during the week and they responded. A lot of these guys have experience, they've been through a lot."
That preparation was on full display as 22 of the Spartans 37 offensive snaps went for no gain or a loss of yards. That left Wyomissing with a paltry 0.43 yards per play average with eight of their 10 drives ending in a punt. Add in three sacks plus a first quarter Chis Joseph interception and you get a game that never felt as close as the score.
Middletown's offense handled their part of the domination behind a stellar game from Jose Lopez. The junior dynamo accounted for 259 of Middletown's 497 yards while scoring five of their six touchdowns. The dominance was on display on the game's opening drive with Lopez taking his third carry and the team's fifth play to the house. The score saw Lopez bust through the right side of the line and race 48-yards for a 7-0 lead just 2:23 into the game.
Wyomissing's ensuing drive lasted all of three plays and spanned just two minutes but Middletown was unable to capitalize on the failed Spartan possession. Making that failure even worse was a bigtime completion on the Blue Raiders' first snap of that possession. Scott Ash picked up 84 of his 192 yards with a single completion to Tim Wagner but Wyomissing was able to push Wagner out of bounds at the four-yard line. A few failed rushes, a penalty and two incomplete passes ended the drive with no points but as they would all night the Middletown defense stepped up.
The Blue Raiders forced a quick three and out then enjoyed a bad Wyomissing punt that put another score just 36 yards away. A 22-yard Ash to Joseph competition covered most of that gap but it was a Lopez plunge that put points on the board. The five-yard score came with just over two minutes remaining in the opening frame and gave Middletown a 14-0 lead.
The teams traded possessions through the tail end of the first and most of the second quarter with little to show for the efforts. In fact, when Middletown fielded their third punt of the second quarter at their own 49-yard line with just 22 seconds remaining in the half, most figured a quick kneel down would send the game to intermission with the Blue Raiders up by just two scores.
Myers and his squad had different ideas even after a Lopez rush was stuffed for no gain on first down. The Blue Raiders were undeterred, calling timeout with three ticks remaining on the clock and the end zone still 51 yards away. Myers dialed up a screen pass towards the home sideline with Ash soft tossing to Lopez who took care of those 51 yards in a hurry.
"We knew there was only a couple of seconds left on the clock and we wanted to see how far we could get down the field," said Lopez before dishing out some praise. "My lineman did everything really, I just ran, ran behind them. They had some real nice blocks." Those nice blocks coupled with nice running from Lopez made it a 21-0 game at the break.
The Blue Raiders, for all intents and purposes, put the game away in the first four minutes of the second half. An onside kick to start the second half caught the Spartans off guard while Middletown's recovery of that kick further deflated the Wyomissing side. Lopez covered 28 of the 46 yards needed to convert the drive to points with the payoff coming on a two-yard plunge with 8:08 showing on the third quarter clock.
Another quick Wyomissing three and out put the ball back in Middletown's hands with just under six minutes remaining in the frame. The drive started poorly as a bad first down snap pushed the Blue Raiders back to the Spartan 29-yard line. That proved to be an easily overcome obstacle for Middletown as Richie Sykes took a second down handoff and raced 71 yards for Middletown's lone non-Lopez TD of the game. A missed PAT attempt made it 34-0 and kept the mercy rule running clock on ice for a few more minutes.
Yet another quick Wyomissing three and out gave the ball back to Middletown for another crack at a mercy rule running clock. The Blue Raiders would not falter this time as Lopez turned a bad snap into his fourth rushing touchdown of the game, this one an 80-yard score that made 41-0 and capped his 208-yard game.
With the game in hand thanks to a 41-point lead, a running clock and only 14 minutes of game time remaining, Myers went to his bench to close out the contest. That allowed Wyomissing to find enough footing to produce all four of their first downs while taking their offensive output from the negative (-28 yards) to their final tally of 16 yards. That production, however limited, also led to Wyomissing's only visit to the end zone, a one-yard Jason Gartner score with 3:37 remaining in the game.
Up next for Middletown is a trip to Lebanon where the Blue Raiders will tangle with Bermudian Springs in an attempt to win their third straight District 3-3A title. Kickoff is set for 7pm on Friday November 16th at Cedar Crest High School.
Barons Dominate Mifflin in District Quarterfinals November 11, 2018
"That's one down, boys," Manheim Central football coach Dave Hahn said to his troops after last Friday's 51-14 manhandling of Governor Mifflin in the District Three Class 5A quarterfinals in Manheim.
The Barons are one step closer to their goal of a district title, their 18th in school history.
Next up, Manheim will host Cedar Cliff, a 33-23 winner against Warwick in the district semifinals 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16.
If you believe Hahn when he says Governor Mifflin (7-5) is a good team, then what the Barons did was even more impressive.
Central, which started off slow, methodical, in many ways, eventually overwhelmed the Mustangs, the Class 5A ninth seed. The Barons defense held the Mustangs to two first downs in the first half and forced them to punt on their first five possessions.
Their sixth possession? An interception by Barons' senior Will Rivers.
Manheim (11-0), the top seed in Class 5A and ranked second in the state, only led 3-0 on a Niko Galva 35-yard field goal after the first quarter, shook off the rust of a bye week to exploit matchups and blow the game wide open with 20 points in the second quarter and 21 in the third, taking a commanding 44-7 lead after three quarters.
"It is just to be out playing; those 14 days (off) were long," Hahn said. "I don't know if I liked it. Meaning the bye week. I think we handled it well, but that is a long time to have off. Our kids were antsy, we were antsy. I don't know if we just had to kick a little of the dust off at the beginning or if we just had to figure out what they (Mifflin) were doing. Governor Mifflin is a good team. We had a good night.
"We were able find matchups and exploit weaknesses, so that's that why we did what we did, but they are still a good team."
What Manheim did was use the legs - and later the arm - of Barons' quarterback Evan Simon.
The talented junior used great blocks from his right and left tackles, Cayden Warner and Josh Painter, respectively, to score on touchdown runs of 13 and 50 yards in the second quarter. Simon rushed for 109 yards in the first half (most coming in the second quarter) on his way to 145 yards rushing on 14 carries. He capped the second quarter scoring with a 5-yard pass to Rivers.
"It is what they gave us tonight," said Hahn, who improved his career record to 45-6 overall. "They gave us the quarterback tonight and we were going to take it. That's good. We don't usually run Evan a lot, but we can when we want to; we've known that all along."
Just 23 seconds into the third quarter, Simon connected on a 47-yard passing TD, courtesy of Colby Wagner, who slipped out of a tackle to dash down the right sideline.
Fullback Jack Harbach scored on a 1-yard plunge and running back Tyler Flick scored from seven yards out. For Flick, it was his 29th TD on the season, tying him with Baron great Dan Kreider for the most scores in a season.
"I can't say enough about him," Hahn said about Flick. "We wanted to use him more to get things established with him, but Tyler is so unselfish. I said something to him, "Hey, I want to get you in this, I want to run this play and he said, 'Coach, I just want to win.' That's it. That's his attitude. How do you not love a kid like that? He's all about the team. He's tied one and broken four career records right now; he's all about the team. Love him."
Manheim Central field hockey saw its season end in the first round of the state tournament, suffering a 2-1 loss to District 11 champion Bangor on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Senior Codi Bollinger drove a pass from Lexi Hosler into the back of the cage with 1:02 remaining before halftime to tie the score at 1-1. But this was the only goal the Barons would score.
Bangor scored the game-winner on a corner with about five minutes left in regulation. "The girls gave it all they had and I couldn't be prouder," head coach Morgan Briggs said. "Sometimes you prepare as best you can, give your best effort and still come up short. These girls are tough and will bounce back."
Manheim finishes the season with a 15-9 record and a great postseason run in the league, district and state playoffs. Leadership was key to the Barons' success.
"I am proud of our seniors, Maisie Dorwart and Codi Bollinger for being key members of this team for the last four seasons," Briggs said. "They have helped elevate this program to new levels and will be sorely missed next year."
Going into this season, Briggs believes many would have said this would be a growing and rebuilding year for the Barons, and she is still amazed at what this group was able to put together, a run in the league and district playoffs as well as earning a game in the state tournament is remarkable, she said.
"I was especially impressed with our returning starters from last year because they rose to the occasion and elevated their game to a new level," Briggs said. "Coming together as a team was a key for us and it really showed in the second half of the season."
Briggs believes the future is bright for MC hockey.
"We have many key returning players coming back next year and are looking to continue building on an excellent season," she said.
The girls' soccer team saw its season come to an end with difficult 2-0 loss to Mars Plants, (19-1), the District 7 runners-up, Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Cedar Crest High School.
Manheim had two golden opportunities to score in the first four minutes of the game, as
junior Makenna Copley's shot was saved at the right post and senior Liz Levy's follow up was snagged at the goal line. About ten minutes later, senior Maddie Carper hit the crossbar from about 35 yards out.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Plants were able to find the back of the net twice in the second half, ending one of the finest seasons for Manheim Central girls' soccer. The team finished with a 20-4 record, tying the most wins in MC girls' soccer history.
Barons' coach Andrew Stoltzfus said the team motto for this year was "All Together," and it ended up being truer than they could have imagined.
From players coming back from the Development Academy, to freshman and sophomore classes stepping up, and staying healthy, it was a well balanced group, he said.
He said the Barons will certainly miss the four seniors next year. It is hard to replace that experience, production, and accomplishment, but they've worked hard to mentor those around them to continue the success the Barons had the last few years, he said.
"Our seniors did everything we asked of them this year," Stoltzfus said. "Kelli Kreider was solid in net, ending the season with 11 shutouts, 7 of those coming from our 10 league games. She was recognized by the other coaches by being named All-League. Brittany Benner was equally important to our backline. She is one of the hardest tackling players I've ever met. She is our off field organizer as well, always making sure everyone is included."
He said Carper took more of a backseat role in the offense this year, but still ended with 11 goals and 16 assists. She finishes her high school career with 92 points.
"There were some games where her passion and desire is what picked up our team when we needed that extra boost," Stoltzfus said. "Liz Levy was a nice addition to our offense, giving us a different dimension with her hold up play. She finished with 8 goals and 5 assists, but her two against Ephrata to give us the lead in the section will be remembered most fondly."
The future looks bright for the Barons.
From the junior class, Makenna Copley (13 goals, 15 assists) will be a key feature in our midfield. Tori Fahnestock (5, 1) played center back for us this year and has continued to grow into a dominant force.
"Her leadership will be key in keeping our backline strong with the loss of Benner," Stoltzfus said. "Autumn Greiner (2, 0) played mostly in the midfield this year, but is very defensive minded and could end up just about anywhere on the field next year. Kelly Abrahamson returned to the team this year and has been building her skills and we think can get solid minutes next year at the back as well."
There are a number of sophomores and freshman that Stoltzfus said he will continue to look for quality minutes from. The obvious ones are Hannah Adair (12, 5) and Erin Greiner (12, 10) up front and Tylee Stauffer (1, 4) and Grace Cassel at the back. They all started nearly every game this year.
These two classes are filled with talent that the coach is excited to see continue to develop and take on more minutes next year. Sophomores Rachel Merrill (1, 3), Audrey Miller (1, 2), Corrine King (1, 1), Grace Perron (0, 1) and Alayna Thompson as well as freshmen Summer Bates (6, 2), Rachel Nolt (2, 0), and Paige Snyder (1, 0) all got minutes this year with the varsity team.
In goal, it will be difficult to replace Kreider, who gave up only 19 goals in 24 games, but Stoltzfus said he has a number of options to replace Kreider.
There are sophomores Julia Wolfe and Shauna Lukus and freshman Lillie Horst competing in net.
The coach says he wants to build on this year's success.
"Next year is a year we want to prove that our tradition of excellence does not graduate," he said. "We want to be known as a program that is constantly at the top of our game and we can't wait for the first day of preseason for 2019."
MU Turkey Trot Slated November 11, 2018
The 46th Annual Millersville Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, starting at Millersville University's Pucillo Gymnasium. The 5K race will start at 9 am. Race information is available at millersvilleturkeytrot.com.
Indians Blank Archbishop Caroll, Advance to Semis November 11, 2018
Championships are not meant to be easy, but Donegal sure has a knack for racking them up and if Saturday's PIAA quarterfinal matchup with Archbishop Carroll was an indicator, the lady Indians could be well on their way to another. Out cornering the Patriots 20-2, Donegal rode a hat trick by senior Mackenzie Allessie into the semifinals versus Twin Valley with a 3-0 blanking of the District 12 champs on a cold and windy day at Twin Valley High School.
This will mark the fourth time in as many years that Donegal has reached the semifinal round and the victory puts them only two wins away from the second PIAA field hockey championship trophy in school history. For this group of seniors which has already won four straight District Three titles, Donegal's fifth in a row, in addition to the aforementioned PIAA crown, it would be the icing on the cake to end their careers with one more.
Attacking early, Donegal kept the majority of the action in Archbishop Carroll's end of the pitch through the first half and took a 1-0 lead on a laser from Allessie with 22:45 remaining in the opening frame. Handling a corner insert, the senior worked inside the circle and blasted a reverse past keeper Mary Kate Kearney who ended the day with five saves for the Patriots.
Allessie's second goal of the match came with 4:42 before halftime and was the result of another successful corner. Passing the insert to Lily Saunders, Allessie immediately got the ball back and fired off another reverse into the cage for a 2-0 advantage.
A little over halfway through the second half, Donegal added another insurance goal when Allessie worked her way through multiple defenders and managed to get off a scoring shot while falling to the turf.
Despite a total of 32 corners over the last two rounds of play that have resulted in only three of Donegal's four goals, the Indians are keeping the opposition off the board and that is all it takes to continue advancing. "Defense wins championships. It's cliche, but it's the truth," commented head coach Jessica Shellenberger. "Our defense has been outstanding. You only need to win by one, so as long as we're getting that one, I'm fine with the "lack" of scoring."
Leading up to Saturday's win, Donegal faced Gwynedd Mercy at Hempfield High School last Tuesday in the opening round of the tournament and came away with a 1-0 victory. The fifth seed out of District One perplexed the lady Indians for the entire first half with a surprisingly aggressive defense that was anchored by keeper Zoe Rogers who stopped 17 on the night.
"I think the "defense" by the other team is a testament to it being a death match. No kid wants to see their season end at this point in time," stated Shellenberger. "I think we're getting out "crazied" in the circle... We need a little extra edge out of everyone to finish."
However, Donegal's offense picked up the intensity in the second half and commanded the remainder of the match, only allowing the Monarchs past midfield a handful of times. That intensity paid dividends five minutes into the final frame when Madison Leety was able to convert on a corner for the game winner. "We were definitely the stronger team on Tuesday, I think nerves kept us from really getting in the flow," added Shellenberger.
Mules Blank Waynesboro in District Opener November 5, 2018
With a less than ideal forecast looming and Solanco set to open district play, head coach Tony Cox kept his eye on the radar all week. So they would be prepared for the monsoon like conditions that presented themselves at game time this past Friday night, Solanco practiced with a wet ball all last week.
"We used a wet ball all week and the kids were frustrated that we kept fumbling in practice," said Cox. "But we didn't have a single fumble against Waynesboro and sometimes it was raining so hard I couldn't see across the field."
The Mules shook off a 2.5 hour bus ride, handled the weather conditions and rushed their way to a lopsided 49-0 shutout over their hosts in the District Three Class 5A first-round game.
Waynesboro (6-5) won their last three games to jump to No. 7 in the district bracket. It was the first time in school history that they earned a home playoff game. The Mules, for the second time in program history, and the first since 2015, advanced to the quarterfinals where a rematch against No. 2 seed Cocalico (8-2) awaits this Friday.
"The kids were focused," stated Cox. "They were ready to play. And we're certainly excited to have another shot at Cocalico."
Nick Yannutz spearheaded Solanco's 403-rushing yards with 209 yards on 20 rushes and Joel McGuire added 120 yards on 14 rain-soaked carries. The pair also scored three touchdowns each.
With the rains limiting the passing game, Waynesboro finished with 204 yards on the ground and were led by Quentin Gaskill's 98-yards on nine carries.
The Mules kick started their offense with an early defensive stand. Waynesboro moved the ball to the Solanco 7. After two short gains, the drive stalled and a six yard loss made it fourth-and-goal from the 11. Solanco stopped quarterback Jay Alverez at the one with 8:09 left in the quarter and responded with a 99-yard drive that culminated with a 13-yard touchdown run by Yannutz. Logan Yaletchko's 2-point conversion put the Mules on the board, 8-0.
Solanco's second touchdown of the night was a six-yard keeper by McGuire with a Hayden Fox PAT pushing the lead to 15-0.
The Mules got the ball back on downs at the midfield and needed just one play to add to the score. Yannutz broke up the middle with a 49-yard run and another Fox PAT extended the lead, 22-0.
The defense, led by Hunter Shaw's six tackles, came up big again when Sam Buckwalter picked off a pass at the 44. Solanco needed just four plays this time to hit pay dirt. Yannutz scored from the 11 with 7:24 left in the half.
Waynesboro, on the ensuing possession, fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Yaletchko, who also recorded one sack, recovered on the 28 and McGuire, on third down, took it 25-yards to the house for a commanding 35 point advantage.
The Indians fumbled again, this time on their own 35. After Rashawn Carter's recovery, Solanco, again, capitalized when McGuire plunged in from the one. Fox booted another PAT and the Mules were up 42-0 with 2:32 left in the half.
The only score of the second half was a one-yard keeper by McGuire in the third quarter.
"This was a good program win," said Cox. "Everyone got playoff experience. The kids played with a purpose. They wanted to get a playoff win and they did.
"We win, we keep on going," he added. "We lose, we're done. We're looking forward to this week's challenge."
L-S Football Crushes Elco in District Opener November 5, 2018
Quarterback Sean McTaggart carried a wet and muddy football 20 times for 153 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the tenth seed Pioneers past No. 7 Elco, 37-0, in a first-round game of the District Three Class 4A playoffs this past Friday night.
"We expected a closer game on the road against a team with eight wins," said head coach John Manion. "It was just incredible how well we hung on to the ball. All three phases of the game we played well. The offensive line did a great job opening holes and 11 different guys on defense had two tackles or more. It was a great team effort, especially on the defensive end."
The Pioneers, who entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record, opened the scoring with a 12-play, 70-yard march that culminated with McTaggart scoring from three yards out. He also ran for the first of three two-point conversions.
McTaggart's second TD of the night was a one-yard plunge, then a second two-point conversion that pushed the first quarter lead to 16-0. That touchdown was set up by Bryan McKim's 57-yard burst. McKim added 119-yards on 11 carries.
Lampeter's only score of the second quarter was another long march that went 60 yards in eight plays and finished with an Alex Knapp 3-yard scoring run, extending the lead to 24-0 at the break. The Pioneers outgained the Raiders (7-2 in Section Three) 228-52 in the first half, working 15 first downs to Elco's 2. The Raiders, who were 2-8 a year ago, finished with 97 total yards to Lampeter's 313.
The visitors tacked on two third quarter touchdowns to cap the scoring. McTaggart found pay dirt, or mud rather, from 20 yards out and Jacob Kopelman blocked a punt that was recovered by Joey Underwood in the end zone. A Seth Beers PAT settled the shutout.
"Joey does a lot of little things that probably go unnoticed," said Manion. "He had a 40-yard kickoff return, recovered that blocked punt and finished with six tackles, four for a loss. He had a tremendous all around effort."
Joining Underwood with six blocks each was Gabe Frederick and Jake Hines with Kopelman, who also had one sack, Joey Jordan, and Marcus Rosa joining a group effort in the defensive highlights.
Next up for the Pioneers, who finished 2-4 in Section Two, is a trip to Berks Catholic (8-2) for a quarterfinals clash.
"This week will certainly be a challenge," stated Manion. "Nobody thinks we can do it so we can play a bit more carefree."
After working her way through the District Three bracket, Sarah Capoferri settled for third place and qualified for the PIAA Championships which got underway this past Friday morning at the Hershey Raquet Club. Capoferri, a senior who ran cross country last year while recovering from a shoulder injury, suffered a 6-0, 6-0 opening round loss to Ashley Huang of North Allegheny, the eventual second place finisher.
Despite ending their season with a second round, 3-1, District Three loss to Lower Dauphin, the Pioneers earned a 10-7-4 overall record and received a handful of accolades for their efforts throughout the year. Elli Strauss (2 goals, 5 assists) and Emma Houck (2 goals, 3 assists) received First Team All-Star recognition. Strauss was also voted as an All L-L League Player. Second Team All-Stars included Lizzie Deardorff and Jenna Daveler while Maya Horst was an Academic All-Star. As a team, the Pioneers received the Sportsmanship Award and the coaching staff received the Coach of the Year Award.
"Our record was not what we had hoped for, but I was very pleased with our performance against high-level teams and I am proud of the girls for making it to the quarterfinals in districts for the second consecutive year," said head coach Emily Lebo.
Like the soccer team, the volleyball team found themselves on the playoff stage as well. Their season, however, ended with a L-L League playoff loss against top ranked Hempfield. The Pioneers, third in Section Two, ended the year with an 8-6 record and three all-stars. Haley Hoover and Betsy Brenneman, both middle blockers, received First Team all-star recognition while Lilly Hoke, an outside hitter, was a Second team selection.
Warwick Crushes Palmyra in District Opener November 5, 2018
With a mini-monsoon moving through the region, Warwick took to the field Friday night against Palmyra in the opening round of District Three playoff football and, with the entire team firing on all cylinders, handed the Cougars a lopsided, 64-0 loss. Joey McCracken threw for 228 yards and four touchdowns with Trey Glass on the receiving end of 155 of those yards and two scores while Nick Fucci ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
Defensively the Warriors completely shut down Palmyra's running game, holding the Cougars to negative-seven yards and limiting them to only 38 yards of passing on 8 completions. The unit flexed its muscle from the opening drive forcing a three-and-out before Hilton Michael recovered a blocked punt setting Warwick up on the Palmyra nine-yard line.
McCracken found a wide-open Glass on the first play from scrimmage and connected again with the speedster on a 77-yard touchdown on Warwick's second play to make it 15-0 after a successful two-point conversion. Following a three-yard scoring plunge by Fucci, Michael then recovered the ensuing onside kick and on the very next play caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to make it 29-0. A 22-yard scoring strike to Haydn Rucci with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter then gave Warwick a commanding 36-0 lead.
After that opening flurry of activity things slowed down a bit on offense for Warwick, however the Warriors still put up points in each of the remaining quarters. Justin Gerhart picked off a Cougar pass midway through the second quarter and took it 15 yards to the house before Fucci's touchdown plunge from the 8-yard line with 17 seconds before the half made it 50-0.
In the second half, and with the mercy rule in effect, Fucci scored again on a five-yard run with 8:15 to go in the third and Sean Bedessa closed things out with a three-yard score with 7:59 remaining in the game. The fourth seeded Mustangs of Cedar Cliff wait for the Warriors in this Friday's quarterfinal showdown in Camp Hill.
Warwick's boys took part in the PIAA championship meet in Hershey on Saturday with the Warriors placing 10th as a team in the field of 19 schools. They scored 273 points, edging out Carlisle which placed 11th with 275 points.
A second-place finish in the District Three AAA race at Big Spring High School qualified Warwick for last week's race as they secured the second of only three spots offered to the District. Connor Shields and Noah Martin crossed the line neck-and-neck with each other with Shields claiming 20th place and Martin 21st place overall, but 11th and 12th in team scoring, respectively, while finishing with identical times of 16:54.
Because not all runners in the race are running with a school team, those that do are scored based on the field of team runners. Shields was awarded 11 points and Martin 12 based on their positional finish within that field, even though their overall finish was farther back.
Both Warwick runners crossed the line before any Carlisle runner, however, the Bison scored on the next four team positions of 21st, 36th, 46th, and 66th to push the issue. The Warwick trio of Parker Keares (70th, 17:56), Jeremy Bell (75th, 17:58), and Marcus Wachira (105th, 18:27) followed, but it was Wachira that clinched it for Warwick by edging out Carlisle runner Jacob Morris (106th, 18:28) by one second.
Had Morris, instead, claimed 105 points and Wachira 106, then both teams would have tied at 274 and it would have fallen on each team's sixth finisher in which case Warwick would have dropped a point due to David Bach (116th, 18:43) finishing before Carlisle's Andrew Booths who was 117th, which would have resulted in the Warrior's maintaining 10th in the team standings. Jeremiah Hendrix (128th, 19:04) rounded out the field for Warwick.
Lady Barons Upset Mechanicsburg, Win 3A Title November 5, 2018
For the second time in three years, the Manheim Central girls' soccer team hoisted the District Three Class 3A championship trophy.
This year the Barons (20-3) knocked off previously unbeaten and nationally accomplished Mechanicsburg, 1-0, on Thursday, Nov. 1 in Hersheypark Stadium.
With the only goal of the game, Manheim's fantastic freshman, Hannah Adair, found the back of the net early in the second half from 25 yards out, after taking a pass from senior midfielder Maddie Carper, who was the team's MVP last season and a First-Team Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two All-Star selection in 2017.
The Barons, who have yet to lose to a Class 3A team this year, advance to the state playoffs, which begin Tuesday.
At the beginning of the season Barons' coach Andrew Stoltzfus said the girls soccer program was enjoying a bit of a youth movement with 15 of the 29 players on last year's team being freshman. They only graduated three players from last year and added another strong freshman class this year (led by Adair).
He also noted that there are five talented seniors - led by Carper - who have made districts the previous three years (now four), won a district title (now two) and play at a high level outside of high school. The Barons also had two players (Senior Liz Levy and junior Makenna Copley) rejoining the team from the local Development Academy programs who did not play high school soccer last year.
Defensively, Manheim returned its entire backfield from a strong unit in 2017, including First-Team L-L League Section Two All-Star goalie Kelli Kreider.
Stoltzfus called this year's district championship victory a total team effort, one that featured the youth movement as well as the senior leadership.
"Adair had a goal worthy of winning a district title," he said about the score that came at the 49:56 mark in the game. "Our seniors showed how much this one meant to them with Maddie Carper flying all over the midfield, Liz Levy battling it out on the wing, and Brittany Benner providing great cover for our outside backs. But Kelli Kreider was the standout. To shutout a team of that quality and save two clear chances in the last 20 minutes was what put us over the top.
"I can't say enough about (sophomore) Erin Greiner and Makenna Copley's work rate on the attack," Stoltzfus said. "But also Tylee Stauffer taking on the responsibility to defend their best attacker one-on-one; she was really impressive playing the full 80 minutes."
Kreider, a senior, finished the game with 11 saves, including punching a shot out of bounds that was headed for the near post.
Stoltzfus said winning two titles in the last three years is quite an accomplishment, but with a young team - one that started a number of freshman and sophomores - he believes there is plenty of talent to continue to achieve great things in upcoming years.
Central earned the right to play for the championship by beating Lower Dauphin 2-1 Monday, Oct. 29 at Northeastern High School in the district semifinals.
Manheim scored twice in a span of three minutes late in the first half. Greiner sent a beautiful diagonal pass to Copley who blasted in the first goal.
Greiner scored the second goal on a feed from Levy. Kreider collected four saves and Stauffer, a sophomore, made a great defensive kick, clearing the potential tying goal off the line.
"We had a very good first half," Stoltzfus said. "We found success in our midfield trio (Carper, Copley and Autumn Greiner). It was a very physical game. Good combination play(s) led to our two goals.
"The second half they came out firing and got a goal back," Stoltzfus continued. "Tylee Stauffer saved an equalizer on the line off a corner and Maddie Carper played a great last 20 minutes to inspire us to victory."
Carson Hepner finished in 15oth place with a time of 18:01 for the Barons in the boys state cross country meet in Hershey on Saturday, Nov. 3.
"He was in 70th halfway through the race and fell back in the second half," head coach Ryan Kennedy said. "He went for it though; you have to run aggressively in the state meet with that caliber of competition."
The Barons, the No. 1 seed in districts, had a bye for the first round of the District Three Class 5A playoffs and will host a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 9 against Governor Mifflin (7-4), which shutout Elizabethtown 30-0 last Friday.
The Barons suffered a 4-1 loss to a tough Palmyra (16-4-1) team in the Class 2A District Three semifinals Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Milton Hershey School.
Central coach Morgan Briggs said Palmyra has tremendous team speed and utilized its midfielders and forwards.
"I was very impressed with their quick stick to stick passing and high ball speed," she said. "After Palmyra scored two goals early, we called a timeout, regrouped, made some adjustments and then we were able to hold them without another goal until the last few minutes of the second half."
The Barons got on the scoreboard on a goal by senior forward Codi Bollinger, who ripped a great shot with 10 minutes to play. In addition to the goal, Bollinger made a number of defensive plays. Junior Maddy Barbush and sophomore Cami Lehman each made nice stops on defense to keep Central in the game.
"I was proud of our team for giving a fantastic effort and hanging with this team for the majority of the game," Briggs said. "Palmyra is a very high caliber program who often finds themselves in the district and state playoffs year after year. We aspire to continue building a program like that."
On Saturday, Nov. 3 the Barons (15-8) lost 7-1 to Twin Valley in the third-fourth place district game for state seeding. This was a rematch, as Central lost 2-0 to Twin Valley in the first game this season.
Junior forward Lily Sipel scored the Barons' lone goal on a corner in the second half.
The Barons season continues with the state playoffs, which begin Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Comets Fall Short in District Repeat, Fall to LD November 4, 2018
Penn Manor's field hockey team controlled everything but the scoreboard in this past Saturday's District Three Class 3A Championship game at Milton Hershey's Spartan Stadium. They held a 12-4 advantage in corners and led 7-5 in shots on goal, yet top seed Lower Dauphin (19-1-1) secured its 13th District Three field hockey title with a 2-0 shutout, avenging last year's 3-0 upset at the hands of the Comets. It was LD's first title since 2014.
The second place finish is Manor's third in four years.
The Falcons took an early lead when Emma O'Neill cashed in on Lower Dauphin's first corner of the game. The junior redirected a rebound off the pads of keeper Cecily Charles (3 saves) at the 16:42 mark. LD worked a second corner at the 8:50 mark before the Comets put together three over the final five minutes of the half but couldn't crack the Falcon defense and junior keeper Brandelynn Heinbaugh (7 saves).
"We knew that if we continued to work hard we would get some chances," said head coach Matt Soto.
The No. 3 seed Comets, typically not used the battling from behind, opened the second half with renewed vengeance, putting together eight of their 12 corners and pinning the Falcons in the backfield for the majority of the half. Emma DeBerdine's shot from the top of the circle on the seventh corner of the half was turned back, as was Bri Harsh's with 5:10 remaining.
"I thought we gave them our best in the second half," said Soto. "We simply were not able to score against them. They were very good against us defensively this day."
Lower Dauphin, on one of their rare trips into the Comet backfield, transitioned to the other end and forced their first corner of the second half with 2:10 left on the clock. They made it all but impossible for Penn Manor to rally a tie when, on their second corner, Audrey Domovich, one of just six seniors on the roster, sent a shot from the top of the circle, beating DeBerdine's rush, to the back of the cage with 1:23 left to play. It was only the third time this season that the Comets gave up more than one goal.
"Overall I was pleased with our play," said Soto. "We showed a lot of effort and determination."
The Comets will now focus on working their way through the PIAA bracket and an opening round game Tuesday, November 6, against District Seven runner-up Pine Richland at 5 pm.
The Comets advanced to the district title game with a hard-earned win over No. 2 seed Wilson last Wednesday night at Exeter High School. Penn Manor worked a solid 60 minutes, and then some in the semifinals at Don Thomas Stadium.
Wilson, trailing 2-1, was awarded an untimed penalty corner after the final horn sounded. DeBerdine rushed the shooter, whose shot directed at keeper Cecily Charles was waist high and waved off, preserving the Comets one goal victory.
The Bulldogs came out strong, forcing the first two corners of the contest and keeping the Comets pinned in their backfield early on.
"We knew they had great team speed and that they recover very well," said Soto of Manor's tentative start.
Then, in the blink of an eye, the momentum changed. DeBerdine intercepted a pass at the 40-yard line and raced to the other end of the field. The senior dodged a pair of defenders and slipped past Wilson's keeper, Bryn Underwood, who tried to make a sliding save, for a 1-0 lead with 19:12 left in the half.
That lead stood until halftime. And in a Halloween Jeckyl and Hyde kind night, the Comets came out of the break fired up and forcing the tempo. They earned the first seven corners of the half and appeared to put the game out of reach when Briana Harsh, after four straight corners, found the back of the cage with 11:07 left to play.
DeBerdine received the insert, pushed the ball right to Gabby Bitts whose shot rebounded off the pads of Underwood and out to Harsh, who was waiting on the left side of the cage and with a quick slap made it 2-0.
Just minutes later, however, the Berks I division champs (19-3) responded with a goal by Madi Herb.
"We knew they were a quick strike type of team," said Soto. "They are very good.
"I thought we needed to maintain more possession and we need to take better care of free hits, especially coming out of our backfield," Soto added.
On the plus side, Soto was pleased with the play of Maeve Montgomery and Tiana Edwards. "Maeve was solid in our defensive end and Tiana was all over the back and midfields," noted Soto. "They had great defensive games."
Penn Manor's lone representative in the PIAA Championships this past Saturday, Graham Thomas, a First Team L-L League All-Star, in a field of 228 runners, worked his way through the pack and settled for a 53rd place finish in 17:15.
"Both time and place were about what we expected from Graham," said head coach Tom Ecker. "This is a very challenging course and the field went out fast. At this level of competition, Graham couldn't hold back at the risk of losing contact, but he needed to save some energy for the last mile," Ecker explained. "He did a great job managing his effort to get the best place finish."
The sophomore, running the Parkview Course in Hershey, found himself in 132nd place at the mile, fought his way to 82nd after two miles, and maneuvered even more to pass 29 runners over the last third of the course. He was the fifth sophomore and the sixth Lancaster-Lebanon League runner to cross the finish line. Mount Lebanon junior Patrick Anderson earned the top time of the day, a 16:03.
"This was the best place finish a member of the boys team has had in well over 20 years," Ecker pointed out.
In other cross country news, Lauren Zink received Second Team All-Star recognition.
Mt. Calvary Ends Season With PIAA Semis Loss November 4, 2018
In a disappointing twist, the Mount Calvary girls' volleyball squad was knocked to an early exit from the PIAA District Three 1A tournament after a 3-0 loss to Covenant Christian in the semifinal round.
Thursday's determining game was held at Lower Dauphin with MC, the one seed, expected to advance to the championship match over fifth seeded Covenant Christian, but in an intense game with high stakes, Covenant got ahead early and held onto their momentum for the sweep (25-12, 25-23, 25-16).
The loss brought the Chargers' 2018 season to a halt, finalizing their overall record at an impressive 18-3.
Entering the week of the district playoffs as the top seed, the Lady Chargers were under pressure to deliver, and had to dig deep to hang on to their quarterfinal victory over Veritas Academy on Tuesday.
After handily claiming sets one and two, triumph appeared to be a sure thing for the Mount Calvary squad, but Veritas regrouped for a comeback surge and knotted the set score at two apiece, forcing a determining fifth set in which the Chargers prevailed (25-20, 25-8, 23-25, 5-25, 15-10).
In the early minutes of the contest, the teams traded points and gathered their bearings, but after the initial 3-3 scoreboard, Rachel Green stepped up for a four-point service run to help the Chargers pull away 7-3, a lead they held on to for the remainder of the set.
All was going well for the Chargers after two sets, including a dominate second game win where Kami Mummau was an offensive force. Mummau fired over a powerful kill to extend the MC lead to 11-5, catapulting the Chargers on a 4-0 run capped by a Mummau ace at 19-5.
The lopsided second set ignited a spark in the Monarchs, and a different Veritas team took the floor in the third. MC serving inconsistency coupled with a few Veritas rallies allowed the Monarchs to work their way back into contention and clinch the third set after a back-and-forth battle.
"We knew Veritas was going to come out with their best because it would be their season if they didn't win," acknowledged head coach Kate Ferrari. "They're a great team and we knew they would come out strong. That's just what we got."
Momentum was clearly churning in favor of the Monarchs, and the Lady Chargers faced a dismal game four in which Veritas ran away with the first nine points and ultimately took their second set 25-5 to level the playing field.
"After the second Veritas win, we told them it wasn't over and we needed to keep fighting," added Ferrari. "We told them to forget what happened in set four. The score was back to 0-0 and they needed to go out and play their game."
All the pressure was riding on the final 15 points, and after squandering their two-game lead, refocusing and reigniting the Charger momentum was a steep task, a leadership role that fell to upperclassmen such as Haley Witmer and Brie Lehman.
"Haley and Brie really tried to rally the girls. They encouraged them to play like they've never played before and to encourage each other in it all," credited Ferrari.
The efforts paid off, and winning the first two points of the final set was a huge confidence boost for the Chargers as they worked their way back into a rhythm.
Midway through the game Kara Locker helped propel MC ahead with one of her three blocks, giving the club a surge of adrenalin and the 8-4 advantage.
Locker continued her contribution, rotating to the service line when the scoreboard read 12-10, and fired over an ace to bring the Chargers within two points of victory. Locker remained at the service helm for the duration of the contest and the team fought for every dig and pass to win the final two points and earn their ticket to the semifinal round.
Mummau finished the contest with 18 digs, 11 kills, and 4 aces, and Witmer provided 29 setter assists.
"We've been trying to really work on that mental side of the game. Moving on past mistakes, speaking positively to ourselves despite mistakes," explained Ferrari.
Speaking of positive achievements, three Lady Chargers, Witmer, Mummau, and Grace Hilsher, were named to the CCAC first team all-star list for their season long efforts.
Though the season has reached its conclusion, reflecting back on 18 wins includes plenty of highlights to demonstrate the squad's growth. With no senior players on the roster, the entire team looks forward to returning and building on their successes.
Hempfield Teams Fall in District Competition November 4, 2018
The Hempfield Black Knights may have found themselves rooting for the team that had just defeated them in the District Three Class 4A boys' soccer semifinals on Tuesday evening.
The Wilson Bulldogs, who improved to 19-3-1, scored in the 12th minute of the match and held Hempfield to only three shots on goal in a 1-0 victory at Central Dauphin Middle School's George Ebersole Stadium. Victor Vottero scored off a Patrick Ndambo assist to send second-seeded Wilson to the district championship game at Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday, November 3.
"They scored a nice goal on a cross to the far post," head coach Mark Ashley said. "They were able to get two runners into the area where we only had one defender. He couldn't defend them both and nothing a goalkeeper could do either. It was a quality service and a good finish.
"They had one other good counter-attack where Tristan Green made a nice save," Ashley said of the Knights' goalie who made four saves in the game.
For much of the second half, the Bulldogs tightened up the defense, limiting the Knights to three shots on goal.
"The three chances we had, we weren't able to play the ball inside," Ashley continued. "They dropped additional players back.
"I credit the Wilson defense as we didn't create enough offensive opportunities," commented the coach. "But I was proud of how the boys played."
As for the Knights (14-5-0) rooting for the Bulldogs? Rather than play a consolation match with Central Dauphin - the team that lost to top-seeded Cumberland Valley in the other semifinal, the third-place team out of District Three would be determined depending on which losing team from the semis lost to the subsequent champ.
"It did turn out that way," Ashley said. "It would be nice to play in a consolation game and determine your seed on how you perform. On the other hand, you do risk injuries. The guys we have that did have some injuries can rest up and heal."
With this match being played back-and-forth between the 18-yard boxes of each side, the midfield play was paramount.
"There was a lot of midfield play between the 18's," Ashley said. "We played much of the game with only two or three midfielders because we were trying to commit additional attacking players. That unit played their best game of the year."
Seniors Alex Garcia and Cameron Graybill along with junior Eddie Pohl fulfilled those duties.
"We also rotated in Nebeyu Bekere and Colson Hunt," added Ashley. "Those guys controlled the midfield two- or three-at-a-time. All five of them did a good job. They were winning head balls and creating opportunities by switching the point of attack."
It's the nature of the playoff match-ups in District Three football: If you're the lowest seed in the power rankings, you're going to be pitted against the top seed.
That was the case on Saturday afternoon at Harrisburg High School's Walter E Severance Field as the Black Knights faced the Cougars in the district quarterfinals. The Cougars' potent offense had scored over 30 points in eight of its 10 victories. The only times they scored under 30 points were wins against other district qualifying teams - Central Dauphin and Chambersburg. In fact, the Cougars had outscored opponents by a collective 180-23 in their final three regular season games.
On Saturday, the Black Knights, who entered the post-season with a 5-5 record, had slowed down the Cougars and trailed by only 20 points at the half. However, the special teams for Harrisburg added a spark that put the game out of reach.
Rynell Gantt returned the second-half opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Donte Kent returned a punt 74 yards to the Hempfield end zone.
Gantt capped the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Kane Everson. Gantt had three catches for 58 yards as Everson completed 19 of 21 attempts for 235 yards and two TD's. Everson also threw for a pair of two-point PAT conversions and added two more two-pointers when he called his own number on the PAT's.
Hempfield held Harrisburg scoreless in the first quarter. In the second stanza, running back Jahmir Plant, who ran for 150 yards, scored two touchdowns from inside the Knights' five-yard line. The two rushing scores were sandwiched around a Donte Kent 13-yard TD reception.
Hempfield quarterback Colin Peters threw for 106 yards on 12 completions. Jackson Shand was on the receiving end of five Peters passes for 47 yards. With his two receptions Darien Ressler accumulated 31 yards. Matt Heuston had two catches for 27 yards.
It was a battle between two powerful teams when Hempfield faced Cumberland Valley in a District Three Class 4A semifinal match on Thursday evening at Manheim Township. The undefeated Knights came into the match with a 19-0 record and the top seed in the district brackets. However, the Eagles prevailed on this night, winning three close sets, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-22.
That 19th victory was in the district quarterfinals on Tuesday back at Hempfield where the Knights topped Lower Dauphin 3-0.
In the victory over the LD Falcons, Jailene Lugo poured in 11 kills for Hempfield as the hosts posted scores of 25-11, 25-6 and 25-19.
Sarah Shirk contributed in a huge way, distributing 31 assists. Claire Flood, who had a team-high eight digs, and Ashley Weaver each registered two blocks while Kylie Ulrich served up three aces.
Despite the loss that followed two days later, the Knights were already assured a spot in the PIAA Class 4A state playoffs. The top four teams from the district are automatic state-qualifying teams.
But that wasn't enough for the Knights, who had suffered their first loss of the year. Hence, they went on to post a 3-0 victory in the district consolation match, defeating South Western 25-18, 25-21 and 25-15 on Saturday. The match was part of a district doubleheader as it was followed by Cumberland Valley's exciting 3-2 defeat of second-seeded Exeter Township.
Flood had a team-high 12 kills while Emma Bitner came through with 35 assists. Allison Cummings had a match-high 14 digs. Ulrich and Gracyn Krazwicski each had two aces with Ulrich, Rachel Sipling, Megan Criste and Flood each registering one block.
Ali St. Rose of South Western had a match-high 15 kills and Megan Wolf had 13 digs.
Entering the PIAA 4A championships, the Knights go in as the third-place team from District Three and are scheduled to face District One champ Bishop Shanahan at Upper Dublin High School.
Justin Rittenhouse competed in the PIAA Class-AAA state championship meet at Hershey on Saturday. The Hempfield senior raced through the course at a 17:36.00 time and finished 95th overall.
Amanda Hagino's successful season, which included winning the gold medal at the District Three singles championships as well as claiming top honors in the Lancaster-Lebanon League tournament, came to a close in the PIAA Class-AAA state championships.
In Friday's opening round at the Hershey Racquet Club, the Hempfield senior advanced with a tough 6-3, 6-4 victory over District Two champ Bella Peters of Abington Heights. However, in the quarterfinals later that day, Amanda Honer of Council Rock North ended Hagino's quest for state gold with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Streaks Slip Past Chambersburg in District Opener November 4, 2018
Manheim Township's 10th win of the season was a gritty, ugly, intense battle and it came at a point in the season where losses are out of the question unless you want your season to end. The Blue Streaks' defense, special teams, and the offensive line, which continually opened paths for running back Jaden Floyd, would not let that thought enter their minds. Township stopped Chambersburg by a close 20-17 margin in a District Three Class 6A quarterfinal battle under the veil of a steady downpour Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. The victory improved the Streaks' record to 10-1. The defending district champs, who are the second-seeded team in this year's playoffs, advance to the semifinals where they'll again play host, this time to third-ranked Central Dauphin.
"It rained the entire game. I don't think I've been associated with a game like that in all of my years as a head coach," commented head coach Mark Evans. "Your hands are wet; the football is wet and it just requires extra focus. As much as it was ugly, our guys played well."
The focus went to the running game as Floyd racked up 150 yards of wet turf under his feet.
"It changed the dynamics of our game plan," Evans added. "Floyd was a workhorse. He took some hard licks, but he was tough as nails."
The offense wasn't entirely one-dimensional as Harrison Kirk completed six passes for 113 yards, including a 50-yarder to Hilton Ridley.
Floyd scored one of the two Township touchdowns. Following a 33-yard field goal by Trojans kicker Tyler Luther in the first quarter, Floyd capped a drive with his 11-yard run to the end zone, making it 7-3. Jack Rodenberger added a 21-yard field goal later in the second quarter, making it 10-3 at halftime.
In a close football game, especially one that ends with a three-point winning margin, one looks to the contribution made by the kicker.
"Jack has been stellar," Evans said. "He has hit when has had to and has done a great job."
The Trojans, whose season ended at 7-4, tied the score on a 91-yard touchdown dash by Keyshawn Jones.
"We gave up too many big plays," Evans remarked, also referring to Tyeshawn Worrell's 90-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. "We also fumbled on the goal line in our first possession. If we're going to be a championship football team again, we have to do the little things right."
Rodenberger added a 40-yard field goal in the second half, which was critical in getting past the Trojans. The Streaks also scored on a Bryce Casey three-yard run in the fourth. He finished with 21 rushing yards.
But the big defensive plays - two timely quarterback sacks and Matt Mikulka's interception return which set up Casey's three-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter, were key. Albeit, the 20-10 lead was reduced by Worrell's kickoff return, but the Streaks held on for the final two minutes.
"We had some big defensive plays," Evans said. "There were timely plays on both sides of the ball that helped us out. It goes back to doing the little things right."
Another big break was on yet another big play by the Trojans. It was a touchdown that was called back by the officials.
"That was an illegal formation on their part," Evans explained. "I'm glad the officials called it right."
Evans talked about the upcoming opponent - the Central Dauphin Rams who crushed Central York 49-21 on Friday night in similar weather conditions.
"They're a familiar opponent," Evans said of the non-league foe. "We played them twice in 2017 and twice in 2016."
The two games in 2017 included a season-opening non-league victory as well as a district playoff win by the Streaks. This year, Township topped CD 22-12 back on September 12, making it a three-game win streak over a team that had beaten them the previous six meetings.
"Last year we got over that hump by beating them at home," Evans said. "This year we beat them at their place for the first time in school history."
Evans was asked about how much of last year's district championship - the first in MT football history - has carried over to inspire the 2018 squad.
"Without a doubt it carried over," he responded. "The sophomores and juniors from last year got a lot of late-game action - experienced that Friday night intimidation. They made that walk 14 times last year and 11 times this year. That bodes well in terms of experience, which can be a tough teacher. Experience tests you and teaches you.
"This group of kids is resilient," he added.
Evan Dorenkamp was coming off a district championship performance the previous week when he raced against competitors from across the Commonwealth on Saturday at Hershey. The Township senior finished seventh in the PIAA Class-AAA championship meet, recording a time of 16:36.00 while Mount Lebanon junior Patrick Anderson won the race at a 16:03.00 clip.
Racing with Dorenkamp was fellow senior Ian Miller, who also had a strong finish. He crossed the finish line in 13th place, registering a time of 16:45.00.
Chloe Kline was the only member of the girls' team to qualify for states. The sophomore ran the course in a time of 21:30.00 and finished in 129th place. Winning the Class-AAA girls' championship was West Chester Henderson freshman Jenna Mulhern (18:42.00), helping the Warriors finish second as a team.
The PIAA Class-AAA girls' tennis championships continued at the Hershey Racquet Club on Friday with the doubles competition taking place.
The Blue Streaks featured the top seed and the second seed out of District Three, thereby being represented by two sets of doubles teammates.
"Once you're in the state tournament, the quality of play is phenomenal," head coach John Briner remarked. "It's the best of the best in Pennsylvania."
And among the best in Pennsylvania were two Township duos - Scotland Reynolds and Nicole Honrade as well as Emily Garvin and Avery Palandjian.
The top seed in District Three was the pairing of Honrade and Reynolds. The Township twosome took on Lily Nowak and Alyssa Mazurek of Hazleton on Friday afternoon. In a battle against the top-seeded doubles team of District Two, Reynolds and Honrade bounced back from a 6-4 defeat to win the next two sets, 6-1, 6-2.
"When you come back and win that second set and force a third set, you feel you can go on and win it," Briner said.
Dina Nousime and Tina Prince of Methacton were next. The two seniors had topped their first opponents in straight sets 6-0, 6-1. They stopped Reynolds and Honrade in the quarterfinals and made it all the way to the championship match. Reyonlds and Honrade came up short in 6-0, 6-2 sets.
Palandjian and Garvin entered states as the second seed from their district. They opened with a 6-1, 6-1 victory, defeating top-seeded Anna Marie Degman and Caroline Lynch of Cardinal O'Hara.
Gavin and Palandjian came up just short in their next test, which was against eventual third-place finishers Tashanna Smith and Natalie Sinai of Freedom High School. Smith and Sinai edged the Streaks' teammates 6-4, 7-5 before losing in the semis.
"They were down 4-0 in that second set and came back to tie it 5-5," Briner noted. "Losing the first set 6-4, it's close enough to come back and win the second. They gave it their best. We knew there were going to be some tough battles at states.
"One of the doubles teams we lost to made it to the finals and another one finished third," Briner pointed out.
Briner also remarked on the Blue Streaks as a team, also addressing the opening-round loss to Unionville on October 23 in the PIAA Class-AAA team championships.
"It was an amazing season for them," he said. "We wanted to win the league and district championships, which we did. Winning those are our goals each year. Unfortunately, we lost in the first round of team championships at states. That was a tough loss for us. We had a chance to win that match but we just fell short."
Donegal Claims 5th Conescutive Class 2A Crown November 4, 2018
In contrast to Friday's monsoon that blanketed most of the region, Saturday saw a breezy, sun filled day on the pitch for Donegal's District Three title match versus Palmyra at Milton Hershey. The Indians were going for their fifth consecutive AA championship, which is also a District record, and thanks to some stiff defense and a hat trick from Mackenzie Allessie they were able to realize that goal with a 3-0 victory.
"I couldn't ask for more from my defense or offense," stated coach Jessica Shellenberger. "We're performing when and where we need to. I'm very proud of their effort today!"
Donegal, sporting red warm-up jerseys with the number 33 and the name Keeney emblazoned on the back in support of the Warwick community in light of the recent tragic event that occurred, wasted no time in going on the attack. The Indians earned four corners in the first 10 minutes of play with Allessie taking the insert on the fourth and working into position to fire off a shot that smacked the backboard with 21:36 on the clock.
Palmyra created a few scoring opportunities as well, but a gritty defense and stellar play in the cage by Aliza Johns kept them off the scoreboard. Johns made five saves on the day including a diving block to knock away a Cougar shot off of a rebound in the first half to prevent the tying goal.
"As for us, the game is won and lost in the circles," commented Shellenberger. "And in the past two games, we have dominated there." Indeed, Donegal earned 10 corners in the circle and Allessie scored her second of the day with 4:45 to go before halftime on a slick reverse shot off an insert that fooled everyone on the Palmyra defense and slid by keeper Ashton Byrd for the 2-0 lead.
Palmyra came out with a purpose in the second half, keeping play mostly in the Indian's end, but the Donegal defense held because of a desire to keep the Cougars out of the cage as evidenced by Ruby Hartley and Cayla Homsher who backed Johns up in front of the cage, acting as extra keepers. Both combined to help defend against a Palmyra push on a corner that saw Johns out of position to make a play.
Finally, with 6:39 remaining in the match, Allessie found a home for another corner insert off an assist from Catherine Moran for the final score of the day. "Palmyra is a good team. They have a lot of young talent and will surely be back as contenders next year," said Shellenberger who now has to prepare for another run through the PIAA bracket, and hopefully, another title.
Last Wednesday, Donegal had to first get through a familiar foe in Twin Valley in the semifinals which were held at Warwick. Mikenna Allen found a way through the Indian's defense for a goal with 6:05 remaining in the game, but by then it was too late for the Raiders who were eliminated 6-1.
While it may have taken them until midway through the first half to score, Donegal wasted no time in running out to a 3-0 lead, scoring three times in under ten minutes before the break. Allessie, who had a hat-trick in this match as well, led off with a solo shot off a corner with 16:15 on the clock to make it 1-0.
Lily Saunders added another with 11:02 remaining in the half and Emma Miller increased the Donegal lead to 3-0 on a pass from Allessie which she pushed across and into the cage with 7:44 on the clock. Another Allessie goal five minutes into the second half made it 4-0 before Allen's score cut the Donegal lead back to three, but Allessie's third goal and Madison Leety's solo shot with 2:28 left in the match punched Donegal's ticket to their eventual historic District championship.
After finishing third in the District Three meet on October 27 at Big Spring High School, the Donegal girls made the short trip to Hershey this past Saturday for the PIAA race where they placed 13th out of a field of 18 teams. Paced by Rachel Fernald who finished 57th overall with a time of 21:28, and Hadley Shoaf who was 69th overall with a 21:35, the Indians scored 300 points on the day.
Because not all runners in the race are running with a school team, those that do are scored based on the field of team runners. Fernald was awarded 27 points and Shoaf 32 based on their positional finish within that field, even though their overall finish was farther back.
Teammate Myra Naqvi finished 114th overall, but was 54th in team scoring, finishing in a time of 22:09 followed by Ella DeBruin (164th, 85th, 23:05), McKenzie Dubusky (186th, 102nd, 23:54), Meg Zell (190th, 106th, 24:24), and Keri Anderson (196th, 111th, 24:30).
E-Town Football Falls in District 3-5A Opener November 4, 2018
The scoreboard said that Elizabethtown lost the game to Governor Mifflin by a 30-0 count in their District 3-5A clash on November 2nd but in actuality the Bears lost the game to Mother Nature. Rain, and a lot of it, turned Elizabethtown's Thompson's Field into a muddy mess, forcing both teams to turn to their ground attack for any chance at victory. Unfortunately, that is not E-town's forte but does slot right into the Mustangs wheel house. The result was a Bear offense that cobbled together 58 total yards and two first downs while Governor Mifflin tallied 280 total yards with 268 yards and all four scores on the ground.
With the Bear offense stuck in neutral, Mifflin started their first scoring drive near midfield. Seven rushes later, the last a 40-yard Bryce Stubler burst on a fourth and five conversion, and the Mustangs had a 6-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Another quick Elizabethtown possession, this one ending in a failed fourth down attempt, gave the Mustangs the ball at midfield. A short five play scoring drive, capped by the first of Kolbie Resser's TD runs, put Governor Mifflin up 14-0. Resser's 28-yard score provided a good boost on the way to a 92-yard evening.
The game remained a 14-0 affair through the second quarter thanks to the Bear defense. E-town forced a punt and two turnovers plus added a fourth down stop on Governor Mifflin's four second quarter possessions keeping the Mustangs from extending to their lead.
"Defense did get some turnovers which helped and we had our chances on offense we just couldn't do anything, couldn't get it going," said head coach Andy Breault.
The stinginess ran out with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter. That is when Nick Singleton highlighted his 102-yard game with a one-yard score. Another two-point conversion pushed the lead to 22-0.
Two stalled Elizabethtown drives, coupled with another Governor Mifflin turnover, pushed the game into the fourth quarter. The Mustangs put their final points on the board with 10:38 remaining in the game, Reeser finished the scoring with a 25-yard QB draw. Singleton added a two-point conversion to set the final. Elizabethtown's final drive of the game did produce their second first down with Leon Allen rumbling for five yards on a fourth and two attempt.
Zach Frank (nine rushes, 17 yards) and Allen (eight rushes, 21 yards) fronted the Bear rushing attack while Luke Pierson (five catches, 36 yards) and Alex Diahn (one catch, four yards) accounted for Cole Patrick's passing yards. Patrick finished the water-logged affair seven of 17.
"They were trying to get a new ball in almost every play," said Breault of the game that finished his first season fronting the Elizabethtown squad. "He (Cole Patrick) still said it was coming back with mud on it, but they still had the same conditions we had to play in. Passing is just our thing more so. They are a pretty balanced attack and we rely on passing so it hurt our offense tonight."
The E-town cross country team wrapped up the 2018 season on Saturday November 3rd with a trip around Hershey's Parkside Course for the PIAA Championship. Only three members of the Bear's squad qualified for the PIAA meet, all on the Lady Bears' side.
Cat Shontz was the first to cross the finish line, capping her E-town career with a PIAA-3A medal. Shontz picked up the hardware with a 25th place time of 20:04. Katie Locker crossed the finish line five seconds later to become the first finisher outside the medals. Madeline Quinn rounded out the E-town trio with a 34th place run of 20:21.
Spot Volleyball Ends Season in District Consis November 4, 2018
It was an up-and-down week for the Garden Spot's volleyball team as the Spartans entered the District Three Class-AAA playoffs. The week included a victory in the quarterfinals followed by a 3-0 loss in the district semis, which led to Saturday evening's consolation match at Central York.
The quarterfinals were held as a doubleheader at Palmyra and at West York on Tuesday. The Spartans played the opening match at Palmyra where they topped Berks Catholic 3-1. Meanwhile, in the nightcap, the host school topped Fleetwood 3-0.
The Spartans held off the Saints in the first two sets by the identical margin of 25-16. The Saints (15-4) won the third set 25-9 and would not go down easily in the fourth and final set. The fourth-seeded Spartans prevailed 25-23, improving to 17-3.
Shawna Zeiset poured in 15 kills to spark the offense. The Spartans were also led by Sarah Shirk, who distributed 27 assists while Kelly Martin registered 18 digs and served up five aces, and Logan Martin notched three blocks.
Meanwhile, in the other doubleheader, which was held at West York, it was a battle of East and West - York, that is. West York, which entered the playoffs as the second-seeded team, topped Eastern York and sixth-seeded Dover defeated York Suburban. That set up the semifinal match won by West York, 3-0.
Garden Spot was not able to get past Palmyra in its semifinal match at Lower Dauphin on Thursday. The Cougars - the district's top-seeded team - managed to hold off the Spartans in three closely-contested sets, 25-21, 25-19 and 25-22.
Zeiset and Logan Martin each drilled seven kills onto the Cougars' side of the court while Kelly Martin led the team in aces and digs, registering three and 15, respectively. Shirk came through with 24 assists while Zeiset, Elyse Mundorff and Logan Martin each registered one block.
Taylor McInerney led the way for Palmyra, serving up four aces and pouring in 11 kills while Jackie Baker racked up five digs.
The Spartans' final chance to continue their 2018 campaign came on Saturday evening in the district consolation match. The top three teams from the district were guaranteed a spot in the PIAA Class-AAA state playoffs and it was between the Spartans and the Dover Eagles.
Another match with three close sets took place at Central York High School and again the result was not favorable to the Spartans as they ended their season with a 17-5 record. Dover downed Garden Spot 25-23, 25-20 and 25-20.
Middletown VB Falls in District Quarterfinals November 4, 2018
They say there is a first time for everything and the Middletown girls' volleyball team checked off a bigtime first with their 2018 season. One season after narrowly missing out on a District 3-2A bid with a 7-10 record the Lady Raiders picked up their first District 3-2A berth with an 8-9 run through the 2018 regular season.
That berth dropped Middletown into a 2A quarterfinal match on October 30th opposite York Catholic. The Lady Raiders lost that match by a 3-0 final.
"I was very proud of how my girls played," said head coach Lisa Huber. "York Catholic is a strong, well-polished team and even though the scores didn't show it, they gave it their all and never gave up."
Despite a 3-0 sweep that saw Middletown on the wrong end of 25-9, 25-16 and 25-17 games, Huber still said "it was a great opportunity" for her squad's first foray into the district pool. As the offense struggled the defense took center stage with Hannah Wilsbach (10 digs), Alexis Harmon (nine digs), Courtney Shaffer (seven digs) and Katie Knaub (five digs) leading the way. The Lady Raiders did manage to slip in a little offense with Harmon and Cassie Ebersole tallying a team high two kills while Shaffer registered a team high three assists. Knaub added two aces and one assist to her five digs.
Eastern VB Bows in District Quarterfinals November 1, 2018
Typically, when the phrase 'Three-Peat' is tossed around the sports world it is seen as a good thing but that is not the case for the Eastern York girls' volleyball team. The Lady Golden Knights dropped their District 3-3A quarterfinal match opposite West York on October 30th, the third loss to the Lady Bulldogs this season.
Despite a third 3-0 loss to West York in the last six weeks that brought his squad's season to an end head coach Josh Korb remained upbeat. "I was pleased with how we performed," said the second-year skipper. "The girls left it all on the court and gave West York a good battle."
That good battle with the fifth ranked 3A team in the most recent PA Volleyball Coaches Association rankings saw Eastern end up on the wrong end of a 25-21, 25-19 and 25-14 final.
"Our defense was incredibly strong and our back row was digging up everything to keep the ball alive, but defense can only last for so long and West York has a very powerful offense," said Korb and the stats back him up as the team combined for 33 digs and just 16 assists and 15 kills.
Morgan Dobbeck led the defensive effort with 10 digs while Katie Lehman (seven digs), Olivia Koicuba (six digs), Sarah Moore (five digs) and Morgan Winter (five digs) all offered support. Lehman added 12 assists as the point on offense with Moore (four kills), Abby Smith (four kills) and Winter (three kills) leading the way in kills.
"I am proud of how the girls performed this year and especially during the post season," was Korb's final thought on a season that saw his team go 15-5 while picking up their first YAIAA playoff win in over 25 years.
The Lady Golden Knights earned their third shot at West York by picking up their third District 3 first round win in the last six years on October 27th. "It was definitely a good feeling to win on Saturday," said Korb of the 3-1 victory over Northern York.
"Not to take anything away from Northern, they had a very scrappy team who left it all on the floor, but our heads were not in it on Saturday, our homecoming was that evening, so it was a definite distraction going into the match," offered Korb regarding the Lady Polar Bears winning game two 25-23 after his squad posted a 25-19 game one win. Thankfully for Korb and the Lady Golden Knights they were able to bounce back with wins of 25-23 and 25-19 to secure the match.
Lehman finished the win with 41 assists and three digs along with one kill and one block. Smith (18 kills) and Moore (14 kills) were on the receiving end of a lot of those Lehman assists while combining for 10 digs, five aces and one Moore block. Dobbeck added two aces and one assist to her eight kills and eight digs while Koicuba finished things off with four digs to go with three kills, assists and aces.
Saturday October 27th saw the end of the cross country season for all but one Eastern York runner. Olivia McClain was that runner, conquering what head coach Joel Jacobs described as "less than ideal" conditions, to qualify for the November 3rd PIAA Championship race.
On a cold and rainy day that left the Big Spring course muddy and slow McLain turned in a 19:46.5, just 19 seconds off her personal best, finishing fourth in the girl's 2A race. "She ran a great race," said Jacobs.
McLain was joined in Newville by a handful of other Golden Knights but only Fiona Valore participated in the girl's race, finishing 121st with a time of 24:38. Pierre Allard led the boy's team by posting the 83rd fastest time, a 19:06.9. Taylor Cappeluti and Chase Reed crossed the finish line at nearly the same time with Cappeluti taking 135th with a time of 19:54.9 and Reed 136th with a time of 19:55.0. Tyler Druck followed in 155th place (20:30.5) while Anthony Roselli finished up the scoring five for Eastern York with a 166th place run of 20:51.4. Ben Elicker wrapped up the Eastern York contingent with a time of 20:56.7, good enough for 171st.
Winning is always better than losing and it gets even sweeter when that win snaps a losing streak or comes on homecoming. Such was the case for the Eastern York football team with their 56-27 homecoming victory over Kennard-Dale busting up a seven-game slide that started back on September 7th.
"Any victory, whether it is the first game, the last game, or homecoming is a blessing," said head coach Josh Campbell. "The players, coaches and community put a lot of work and effort in each week. With having three close losses, back-to-back-to-back, it was satisfying to see the player's hard work pay off. We were looking to put a complete game together and achieve our ultimate goal of winning."
As he has all year, Trevor Seitz piloted the attack, capping his stellar junior season with 298 yards and six touchdowns on just 11 completions. The impressive final game left Seitz with 2800 passing yards on the season while the six TD passes pushed his season total to 37.
Against the Rams, Seitz started racking up stats nearly from the opening whistle, hitting Dylan Zurin for a 52-yard score early in the opening frame. The pair hooked up again moments later on Zurin's only other catch, this one from 65-yards out, making it 14-0 after the Brady Bixler PAT. Zurin, who finished with those two touchdowns and 116 yards, surrendered his early favorite receiver status to Demonte Martin for the remainder of the game.
Martin did not disappoint, racking up 117 yards and four scores on just five catches, putting his season totals at 1018 yards and 21 scores. The first of those four TD catches finished off Eastern York's 21-point first quarter and came from 14-yards out. KD put their first points on the board with a one-yard Ryan Gibney score late in the first quarter.
Martin's three remaining visits to the end zone all came in the second quarter starting with a 20-yard TD that made it 28-7. Jacob Rose broke up the Seitz to Martin show by scoring Kennard-Dale's second TD on a 14-yard burst that made it 28-13. Martin resumed his domination with touchdown catches of 32 and 17 yards to give Eastern York a 42-13 cushion at the break.
The Rams opened the second half scoring with a five-yard Wyatt McCleary score only to see Eastern answer on the ensuing kickoff. Jesse Edgell took that kickoff 80 yards to paydirt for a 49-21 Golden Knight lead. Kaleb Corwell capped his evening and the Eastern York scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run. That score highlighted his 133 combined rushing and receiving yards and made it a 56-27 game. KD added one final score on a Jacob Copenhaver plunge but the Golden Knights were able to enjoy a homecoming win regardless.
Tide Teams End Fall Sports Seasons October 31, 2018
The fall sports season is over at Columbia High School without any November action for the first time in years.
Here is your weekly Merchandiser sports report.
The only CHS sport to make the post season was cross country, who had two runners participate in the District Three Class A Cross Country championships on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Big Spring High School in Newville.
Although they didn't advance to this weekend's PIAA championships, the two Columbia runners, both sophomores, did well.
Cassidy Cook and Anthony Palmisano, placed 52nd and 55nd, respectively, at the district championships. Cook ran the course in 26:52.7, while Palmisano ran a 20:00.7.
There's plenty to be excited about for the Crimson Tide in football, despite a 3-7 overall mark.
The win total is a high mark for the program, who hasn't won more than a game since 2013. And, the best news is that 27 of the 30 players are scheduled to return next season.
The Tide closed its rebuilding season on Friday, Oct. 26, with a 50-22 loss at the hands of Elco.
"The season came to an end and it was a tough, fought game. We didn't pull it out but we fought until the end and just fell short of making the playoffs,"
said coach Bud Kyle. "The Tide is rising."
Elco, who finished tied for second place in Section 3, won the game by running the football, 40 times for 386 yards and they didn't throw a pass.
The Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead before the Tide got on the scoreboard on a 31 yard pass from quarterback Matt McCleary to Terrance Elliott. The two also hooked up on a 23 yard pass, trailing 28-7.
McCleary in the second half completed a third score covering 20 yards to Ryan Redding. The two-point PAT was the "Philly Special," as Redding completed the conversion pass to McCleary to end the scoring.
For the game, McCleary completed 18 of 32 passes for 278 yards and three scores. His top receiver was Elliott with six catches for a career high 132 yards, while Redding also caught six for 78 yards.
MT Football Wins Share of Section One Title October 29, 2018
Manheim Township's football team claimed its second straight Section One championship as it defeated Hempfield in a Lancaster-Lebanon League clash of arch rivals on Friday night in Landisville. The Blue Streaks won 48-13 to finish 5-1 in their section (9-1 overall), thus sharing the title with Warwick and Wilson, both of whom won convincingly on Friday.
"It's a three-way tie, but we're still section champs," head coach Mark Evans said. "It could be co-champ or tri-champion. It's the first time we've won back-to-back section titles since 1976-77."
It was a team effort as the offense racked up over 300 yards passing and more than 160 on the ground. The defense allowed only two touchdowns and held Hempfield's star running back Matt Heuston to only 20 yards rushing.
The three-pronged effort of a football team performing well on a given night also included the special teams.
"In the grand scheme of things, you want two of the three phases to be successful," said Evans, referring to defense, offense and special teams. "It's always nice when all three are working. It was good to see us firing on all cylinders.
"Everything seemed to click," Evans went on. "The guys were on track in every phase of the game. They complemented each other very well. They were dominant because they put their minds to it."
And what of the special teams' contribution?
"Jack Rodenberger became the all-time leading kicker in Manheim Township history," Evans noted. "He needed six points to do it."
Rodenberger could have taken care of that with the two field goals he kicked in the first half. But he also claimed six points on the PAT kicks, going 6-for-6 on the night.
Jaden Floyd, who finished with a game-high 93 yards rushing, scored the game's first touchdown. He followed his blockers from three yards out to put Township up 7-0. The Knights did cut the lead to 7-6 on a 77-yard TD pass from Colin Peters to Darien Ressler. However, before the first quarter ended, Harrison Kirk hit Brett Benjamin from 14 yards out to make it 14-6. Kirk finished with 280 yards passing on 19 completions. Cameron Horst also completed a pass, connecting with Matt Stokes on a 26-yard touchdown pass in the second half.
"Jaden Floyd being back healthy was a positive thing for us, being able to run the ball effectively," said Evans. "The offensive line was doing a good job coming off the ball."
Benjamin ended up on the receiving end of six passes, compiling 68 aerial yards. Hilton Ridley was the Streaks' leading receiver, catching five passes for 98 yards. Stokes had three receptions for 53 yards.
"Harrison Kirk had a good game and his receivers made some nice catches," said Evans.
The second of three touchdown passes landed in the hands of Stokes - a seven-yard toss in the second quarter. Also in that period, Rodenberger was 2-for-2 in field goal attempts - both spotted from 32 yards away.
Cameron Horst hauled in Kirk's third touchdown pass. Bryce Casey added a 22-yard rushing TD. He had seven rushing attempts for 60 yards.
The defense had to key in on Hempfield's Heuston - the dangerous tailback, who had put two straight games of 100-plus rushing yards under his belt.
"That was a challenge to our defense," Evans said. "Our kids went after the challenge because he had had two consecutive 100-yard rushing games."
While the Streaks' regular schedule ended, the season isn't over yet. They will host Chambersburg in a District Three Class 6A playoff game on Friday.
"We play Chambersburg out of the Mid-Penn League," Evans noted. "They play a similar style of offense and defense that we do."
In what may be remembered as a classic boys' soccer match between Palmyra and Manheim Township, the visiting Cougars upset the top-seeded Streaks in the first round of the District Three Class6A playoffs on Tuesday. The match was intense in that each side scored twice; the game went into overtime and the Cougars (12-6-1) downed the home team 5-4 in a penalty shootout. The heartbreaking loss ended Township's season at 13-5.
"It was one of those games where the momentum went back-and-forth, end to end," head coach Kevin Baker stated. "We knew they would be physical. They tended to play to the level of their competition, playing well in the big games. They approached the game similar to us tactically."
The Streaks grabbed a 2-0 lead thanks to an early goal by Colton Pierson and one by Andrea DiSomma just after the midway mark of the first half. Nolan Ross assisted on both scores.
The Cougars cut the lead in half five minutes prior to halftime on T.J. Caton's first goal of the game. He finished not only with two goals during regulation, but also one of the five in the shootout stage.
The penalty rounds began with goalie Quinn McCarty saving Palmyra's first attempt.
"Quinn saved their first one," Baker said. "It was one of his best games of the season. When the play is going back and forth and they're putting a lot of pressure on you, he definitely came up big for us. Their goalie also made a couple of saves."
Ross made one for the Streaks, who won the coin toss and chose to kick second in each round. Colton Pierson made the second shot for MT, but DiSomma's shot in the third frame went awry. Zach Brubaker and Ayden Lee came through, making it 4-4 after the allotted five rounds.
"It went into sudden death for a sixth kicker," Baker explained.
Mitch Dowling scored for Palmyra on that sixth penalty kick while the Streaks missed the chance to extend the sudden death to a seventh round.
Baker talked about his thoughts on the team's achievements as well as what his post-game words were to the players.
"We came together and took a few minutes," he said. "I talked about how proud I was of them - they came out to win each game.
"My slogan for the past few years has been 'Leave a legacy,'" he added. "Once they look back on the season, they have a lot to be proud of - the way they carried themselves on the field, knocking off five of the top six teams in the district, and off the field academically and with good character."
The girls' soccer team had a Herculean task of taking on Cumberland Valley in the opening-round of the District Three Class 4A playoffs. The Eagles entered the playoffs as the second seed. Township was 15th. Cumberland Valley went on to defeat Township 3-0 in Tuesday's match at CV, improving to 14-1-1 and continuing its winning ways with a quarterfinal round victory over Exeter by the same score.
Sophomore Kyra Place broke a scoreless tie with two minutes to play in the first half, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Emily Mashinski doubled that lead seven minutes into the second half. Junior Alexa Baker capped the scoring, thus ending the Blue Streaks' season with a 6-8-2 record.
Ali Quinn did have seven saves for Township.
Senior Evan Dorenkamp led a rather large pack of runners as he crossed the finish line. He was in first place in Saturday's District Three Class-AAA Cross Country championship. Dorenkamp won the gold with a time of 16:30.7. Fellow senior Ian Miller earned 15th place with a time of 17:06.8.
As a team, the MT boys finished seventh with 279 points in the championship meet at Big Spring. Cedar Crest's team won with 145 points while Warwick took second with 189 points. .
Drew Sassaman registered a time of 17:51.9 to earn 48th place in the meet. Riley Horton's time of 18:24.5 was good for 104th. Freshman Tyler Stevens (18:32.3) finished 119th while junior Keven Perez (18:34.4) and Dieter Geib (18:48.4) came in at 122nd and 145th, respectively.
The girls' team was 11th overall with 334 points. The winning team was Dallastown with only 115 points.
Chloe Kline (24th, 20:18.3) led the Township girls' team with Anabelle Lapp (32nd, 20:32.7) not far behind. Avery Ebersole also finished in the top 100, earning 76th place with a time of 21:29.2. Freshman Paige Laurence and sophomore Aurelia Huss ran together down the stretch, finishing 108th (21:56.6) and 109th (21:57.2) respectively. Emma Dieterle (112th, 21:58.9) and Kyra Dean (125th, 22:26.7) rounded out the lineup.
Manheim Township entered the District Three Class-AAA playoffs as the ninth seed and went on to edge Cedar Cliff 3-2 on Wednesday at Lower Dauphin. Township moved on to the field hockey quarterfinals where top-seeded Lower Dauphin, which had a first-round bye, blanked the Streaks 2-0 at Milton Hershey on Saturday afternoon.
That opening-round win featured a huge second half by the Streaks. Trailing 2-0 at the half, the Township got on the board with Ashlyn Campagna's goal 12:28 into the second half. Sophia Rockwell scored the tying goal five minutes later and Julia Romano prevented overtime with a late goal.
Katie Labezius chipped in with an assist as Township out-shot Cedar Cliff 11-8.
Cat Wilson made five saves for the Streaks, with Maddie Kurtz also earning a save.
Lower Dauphin denied the MT offense any shots on goal. Wilson did make eight saves in a losing cause with Emma O'Neil scoring both goals for the Falcons (17-1-1). The Streaks' season ends with a record of 13-9.
Township faced Unionville in the opening round of the PIAA Class-AAA team tennis championships on Tuesday. The unbeaten Blue Streaks, who claimed the District Three crown, were eliminated by the Indians - the fourth-seeded team from District One - by a 3-2 score at Hershey Racquet Club.
Scotland Reynolds was a 6-3, 6-1 winner at third singles. Nicole Honrade and Julia Briner won the number one doubles by a 7-6, 6-4 score, giving the Streaks their only other team point. Township finished the season at 15-1.
The PIAA Class 3A golf championships took place at Heritage Hills Golf Club on October 22 and 23 with Shaun Fedor and Ellen Wager representing Manheim Township.
Wager finished in a four-way tie for fifth place, recording a 79 on the par-72 course. Jade Gu of Pennsbury won the girls' championship with a score of 71.
Fedor, a senior, finished in a tie with six other golfers for 20th place, shooting a 5-over-par 77.
In Wednesday's team championships at Heritage Hills, the Township squad finished third with 318 points, equaling Erie Cathedral Prep.
Fedor shot 71 on the day, making par 10 times. Connor Strine shot an 81 while Wager and David McNaughton both finished at 83. Graham Calhoun, a freshman, carded an 85.