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Indians' Smith small on size, big on talent

October 07, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Since the departure of star running back Mike McKenzie last year, the Waynesboro football team has struggled for production from its running game.

That changed Friday night when the Indians visited Rocket Stadium.

Waynesboro rolled up 400 yards of offense - 292 on the ground - and spoiled Homecoming for James Buchanan with a 35-20 win in Mid-Penn Capital action.

A Waynesboro back ran for more than 100 yards for the first time this season and it was done by one of the smallest players on the field - 5-foot-4 sophomore Ian Smith. In the books at 138 pounds, Smith proved that size doesn't matter as he led the Indians (1-5, 1-2) with 178 yards and his first three varsity touchdowns.

"He's a little kid, but he's a great athlete. We wanted to get him the ball more so we moved him from halfback to fullback," said Waynesboro coach Darwin Seiler. "And the kids up front did a nice job. We worked real hard on blitz pickup and it opened some things up for us."

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Smith carried just once in the first quarter, but that number quickly escalated as he continued to have success. By halftime, he had eight rushes for 65 yards, and he finished with a season-high 23 carries.

Smith also caught a pass for 22 yards, giving him 200 yards of total offense.

"I just saw wide-open holes. The linemen were blocking. It feels good to work as a team," said Smith. "We just wanted it so bad."

Smith scored on touchdown runs of 3, 20 and 41 yards, eluding JB tacklers with his balance and finesse. Tim Rowland complemented the running game with 75 yards and also had success breaking the Rockets' tackles.

"We picked a bad night not to tackle," said JB coach Kevin Gustafson.

It was also a bad night not to hold onto the football. Quarterback Justin Lee lost four fumbles and threw an interception, and Cheyenne Schooley accounted for JB's sixth turnover after an end-around pass ended in an interception.

"Their lineman made a play on one (fumble), but the others were flat-out fumbles," Gustafson said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. We haven't put 48 minutes together yet. You need all three phases in 48 minutes."

The first three minutes were more promising for the Rockets (1-5, 0-3). Tucker Hill helped march JB down the field on the game's opening possession, rushing for 51 yards and capping the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run.

Waynesboro scored 21 unanswered points to end the half. Rowland knotted the game at 6 when he caught a pass from Alex Barone and cut up to the end zone. The Indians scored on their next two drives - both on touchdowns by Smith.

The Rockets cut the lead to 21-14 with 7:35 left in the third quarter after recovering a Waynesboro fumble at the Indians 20. It took five plays before Moore punched it in from 2 yards.

But Waynesboro came right back and needed just three plays in 1:06 to take away any momentum from the Rockets. The Indians punctuated the win with a 16-play, 95-yard drive that chewed 9:16 off the clock in the fourth quarter. Josh Horton capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to make it 35-14.

JB ended the scoring when Moore caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Jesse Smartt in the final minutes of the game.

Hill finished with 120 yards rushing for the Rockets.

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