Waynesboro opts for change of scenery

October 18, 2003|by MARK KELLER

Relief might finally be on the horizon for the Waynesboro football team.

The Indians, the league's whipping boy for most of their stay in the Mid-Penn Conference, isn't planning to leave the league as Biglerville, Fairfield and Bermudian Springs announced they would do a few weeks ago.

No, Waynesboro is planning to stick it out in the Mid-Penn, and they'll be given the opportunity to play down against smaller schools in an effort to make the Indians more competitive.

The Indians, a Class AAAA school, requested a move down into the Mid-Penn Capital Division when the league realigns next year, a move that would have Waynesboro playing against Class A and AA schools like Camp Hill, James Buchanan and Scotland.


The request still needs to be approved by the Mid-Penn Board of Control, but all signs point to the proposal being passed.

Waynesboro is in the midst of a terrible string of futility, in both the short and long term. Short-term, the Indians have lost 13 straight games, the longest active losing streak in the area. Long-term, they haven't had a winning season in 11 years - a mark which includes this season. That's the second longest streak of its kind in the area, behind only Jefferson's 12 straight.

Waynesboro is already playing down a division. All other Mid-Penn Class AAAA schools, such as Chambersburg, Harrisburg and Central Dauphin, play in the Commonwealth Division. The Indians have played the last two seasons in the Colonial Division, but it has done them little good in terms of competition.

The Indians have won just four games since the start of the 2000 season. Three of those wins have come against Shippensburg; the other against James Buchanan, which has the same number of wins as the Indians since 2000.

From 1997-2002, they allowed an average of 36.7 points per game. They're on pace to surpass that this season, averaging 40 points allowed through seven games.

Since joining the Mid-Penn in 1992, Waynesboro has won just 10 games within its division.

Perhaps it's not a coincidence that 1992 was the last time the Indians had a winning record.

The move makes sense for both Waynesboro and the conference on the whole. It allows the Indians to play against the smaller teams in the conference, giving them a chance to become more competitive and rebuild interest in the program within the school and community.

For the Mid-Penn Conference, the Indians will fill holes in schedules that opened with the departure of Biglerville, Fairfield and Bermudian Springs to the York County League.

There are no guarantees that playing down will result in more wins for the Indians, at least not immediately. Teams like Milton Hershey, Trinity and Camp Hill - all of whom will be division mates of the Indians - will be more than enough to keep Waynesboro's hands full.

"It might not help us right away in terms of wins," Waynesboro athletic director Dan McLaughlin told The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. "There are a lot of quality teams in that division."

It should, however, give the Indians a gleam of hope that they'll be able to look at their schedule in the preseason and not already feel defeated.

If the request is granted, it could be the Indians' biggest win in ages.

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