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Rain is just what Devils like

September 13, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Chuck Tinninis was in his element.

He was in a driving rainstorm, dripping wet and standing in mud, with a smile on his face.

His Greencastle-Antrim football team played football the way he really likes it. In this new-age world of wide-open offense, the Blue Devils went old school.

Greencastle used the elements to its advantage with ball control, using power runs and long drives to eat up the clock Friday for a 17-0 Mid-Penn Capital victory over Shippensburg.

"If we can ride it, that's the way we want to do it," said Tinninis with a rain-soaked grin.

The Blue Devils (3-0, 2-0) owned the third quarter, holding the ball for all but 90 seconds of the period, to produce a pair of Dustin Barry touchdowns and pull away for the victory.

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Greencastle took the second-half kickoff and drove 70 yards in 15 plays spanning 6:59, with Barry scoring on a 7-yard pass from Adam Ritchey for a 10-0 lead.

"That was nice," Tinninis said. "It set the tone for the second half. The kids played a good four quarters."

Then, after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Barry swept in from the 9 to cap a three-play, 23-yard drive for the final points of the game. All totaled, Greencastle owned the ball for 10:30 of the third quarter.

"That feels pretty good," Tinninis said. "I would have liked to have scored more points. The weather didn't bother us at all. They had all 11 guys within 6 yards of the line of scrimmage and we felt like we could go at that all day."

Ritchey was the key for Greencastle with the way he handled the ball and the weather. He finished with 99 yards rushing, including a 50-yard jaunt in the final two minutes to seal the game, and masterfully disguised and distributed the ball to keep Shippensburg guessing even on some of the most basic of plays.

"We were able to run anything we wanted off tackle," Ritchey said. "It really helped that we controlled the ball to start the second half, but the big turning point of the game was when we got the turnover after scoring."

The two teams sloshed through the heavy rain in the first half with little success. Greencastle broke through with an 8-minute, 15-second drive that bridged the first and second quarters. The drive sputtered after 58 yards, but the Blue Devils came away with a 35-yard field goal by Dane Christensen to take a 3-0 lead with 5:12 remaining in the half.

The rest was a matter of control, as Greencastle's defense held Shippensburg (1-2, 0-2) to 92 yards of offense and just five first downs. The Greyhounds' best drive came on their final possession, moving down to the Greencastle 10 before turning the ball over on downs. The march before ended on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Ritchey intercepted a Greg Boldosser pass at the Blue Devils 10.

Barry finished with 40 yards rushing, while Grant Myers had 49 for Greencastle. The Blue Devils managed 250 yards of offense in the wet conditions, 208 on the ground.

"The cream always rises to the top," Tinninis said of Ritchey. "He rose to the top and did a great job."

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