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Blue Devils give Tinninis his 100th victory

September 20, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Greencastle-Antrim football coach Chuck Tinninis tried to block out the fact that he was going for his 100th career victory Friday night at Kaley Field.

But as the final seconds ticked away with Greencastle ahead by two touchdowns, the milestone was impossible to avoid.

Greencastle players dumped ice over their coach, cheerleaders paraded a banner around the field and fans gave a standing ovation to Tinninis after the Blue Devils polished off a home-opening 21-7 victory -- their fourth straight win to start the season.

"I have ice in my pockets," Tinninis said after the shower from his players. "This was a ball game and 100 (wins) never came into it. I didn't expect it. Really, it just means I've been around a long time."

The milestone victory didn't come smoothly.

Greencastle (4-0) struggled through a miserable first half, gaining only 86 yards and committing a turnover. The Blue Devils' best drive lasted only five plays and ended at the Hershey 32-yard-line, and they ran 13 fewer plays than the Trojans.

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Thirteen was also the number of snaps Hershey needed to march 58 yards on the opening drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead.

"In the first half we couldn't play any worse," said Tinninis, whose team gave up 107 yards rushing in the first two quarters -- 89 to junior tailback Jaffee Washington. "We had to make some adjustments. We basically said, 'Let's play some football.'"

It was short and to the point. But most importantly, it was effective.

Greencastle came up with a defensive stop on fourth-and-1 with Hershey threatening at the Blue Devils 33 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter.

After that, the Blue Devils scored on three consecutive drives while holding the Trojans to minus-7 yards of offense.

"A turning point was the fourth-down stop," Tinninis said. "The guys executed when they had to. I thought we started wearing (Hershey) down, which we should have because we're a veteran club and they're a young club."

Adam Ritchey ratcheted his game up in leading the offense to three straight scores in the second half. The senior QB threw for 58 yards and ran for nine more during a 67-yard drive that tied the game at 7.

Ritchey avoided two sacks on the drive -- one on third down -- and turned both plays into positive yardage to keep the offense moving.

The next drive was just as impressive, as Ritchey converted four third downs during an 81-yard drive that lasted 5 minutes, 41 seconds. Ritchey capped the drive by hooking up with Seth Shindle on a play-action pass from the Hershey 7 to give Greencastle a 14-7 lead with 6:39 left.

"We called the play, I rolled out and Seth Shindle ran that pattern perfectly," said Ritchey, who was 9-for-11 for 92 yards and ran for 41 more. "We came in and said that we can't stop now. We have to keep pushing it."

The Blue Devils added another score after forcing a Hershey three-and-out. Ritchey ran one in from 13 yards for a 21-7 edge with 2:49 remaining.

Ritchey started the game but moved to wide receiver in favor of Brett Meyers after two offensive series. He returned behind center after halftime.

"I just felt that we needed to do what we do best -- we wanted to line up and play," Tinninis said. "We wanted to run the ball and run some play-action. And we wanted our three-year (player) in there."

Dustin Barry finished with 90 yards of total offense -- 42 rushing, 48 receiving -- for the Blue Devils, who are 4-0 for the first time since 1997.

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