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Blue Devils can put tough loss behind them

November 07, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Greencastle-Antrim's dream of a perfect regular season went up in smoke last Friday when Jefferson's Tim Oden returned an interception 60 yards for a game-winner as time expired.

While it prevented the Blue Devils from becoming the first team to win 10 games and go unbeaten in school history, it's a loss that is wiped away because the Blue Devils are ready for the playoffs.

"Preseason is the first season, the regular season is the second season and now is the third season," Greencastle coach Chuck Tinninis said. "One loss now and you go home."

The third season starts tonight at Kaley Field when Greencastle hosts Kennard-Dale in the PIAA District 3 Class AAA playoffs at 7.

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Greencastle (9-1) is making its third straight playoff appearance and fourth overall but has yet to taste victory. Last year the Blue Devils lost 17-10 to Daniel Boone and in 2006 to Susquehannock 31-12.

The Blue Devils still hope to become that first team with 10 wins.

"We'll find out what we are made of coming back from the loss," Tinninis said.

The Blue Devils were out of character against Jefferson with penalties and turnovers.

"We had them at inopportune times," said Tinninis. "We had nobody but ourselves to blame. We knew we had to be perfect."

But, for good teams, it's a matter of responding to defeat.

"We came out and had two good days of practice to start the week," said Tinninis. "These kids are resilient fighting back."

The Blue Devils don't have the one big star with gaudy statistics -- just plenty of weapons all around.

The Blue Devils average 247 yards rushing per game with quarterback Adam Ritchey and running backs Tyler Szaflarski, Devin Schaeffer and Brandon Trefelner sharing the duties. Dustin Barry has been explosive when not injured, but Tinninis said Barry would still be sidelined Friday with the ankle injury he suffered against Waynesboro.

Defensively, Greencastle has been stingy, yielding only 83 yards per game both rushing and passing.

Tinninis is not taking 5-5 Kennard-Dale lightly.

The Rams are coming off a 29-24 win over Susquehannock and finished 4-2 in York-Adams Division II.

"They look like they are a no-nonsense kind of team," Tinninis said. "They've got decent size on both sides of the line. They've got two big kids to handle the football, and they'll run mostly dives and veer on offense. A no-thrills team."

The "big kids" are quarterback Duncan Leftridge, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, and fullback Ethan Hornbarger, who is 6-2 and 210.

Hornbarger has a team-leading 990 yards rushing, and the Rams' offense is mostly ground oriented, averaging 246 yards per game.

"They are a program for years that has not had a lot of winning seasons," said Tinninis. "They've just started pickin' it up."

A victory would pit the Blue Devils against the Lebanon-Garden Spot winner, another game that Greencastle would host.

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